The recently released Wi-Fi standard, IEEE 802.11az enables more refined and accurate indoor location capabilities.
As technology manufacturers incorporate the new standard in various devices, it will enable buildings, including malls, arenas, and stadiums, to provide new wayfinding and tracking features. The previous standard yielded Wi-Fi location accuracy of 1-2 meters, while the new standard raises accuracy to less than 0.1 meter or about 4 inches.
Applications are expected to use this technology by:
- Providing more accurate indoor navigation. In a retail store, for example, a consumer could use an application to navigate through a store, as is used in vehicles to map a travel route, from the entrance to the desired product.
- Enablement of micro-targeting for retail and warehouse asset tracking. A store worker could use a mobile app to track products on shelves, in the stock room, and in a warehouse. A retailer could also leverage usage data from its customers’ shopping apps—such as their movements on the retail floor—to derive analytics and serve relevant ads to the user.
- Improved scalability will allow hundreds of devices to connect at the same time in dense environments, such as shopping malls, arenas, and stadiums where large numbers of users are actively co-locating with Wi-Fi simultaneously.
- Secure, authenticated, and private positioning. Proper authentication can be confirmed when you are within inches of two devices. This could be used, for example, to unlock an interior door via a smart device. Other applications could be the use of a smart device to make payment at the point of sale or using it to facilitate an ATM transaction.