Captain James T Kirk believed that space was the final frontier. He was wrong. Scientists may not have finished mapping the universe we live in, but as far as Erik Bovee is concerned, it’s just as tough trying to work out how to help people get from one room to another.
The entrepreneur and venture capitalist believes the next big battle among tech giants will centre on indoor navigation. He says while it is all very well assisting people to travel from one part of the city to another, helping them to move around public spaces such as offices and airports is the next great challenge.
It is unconquered territory, but coming up with a way to do it well isn’t proving easy.
While Google is making some progress in mapping internal locations such as museums and art galleries and Apple is reportedly about to announce a revamped Maps application for iOS9 which will include new indoor mapping abilities, we are still at the early stages of this technology.
“People spend around 80 per cent of their time indoors so to win this space is the ultimate,” Bovee told The Irish Times. “It’s effectively the last frontier for location-based services but it’s computationally quite difficult to do well.”
“Indoor mapping is an interesting early-stage technology area where you see strategic players from a number of areas – from radio semiconductor sensor device manufacturers to traditional location-based services and geoinformation system providers and everyone in-between – all coming at this from different angles. It’s hard to see how it’s going to play out at this stage,” he says.