IndoorAtlas Ltd is witnessing a boom of interest towards its unique indoor location technology, taking advantage of magnetic anomalies. The startup is headquartered in Technopolis Oulu, Finland. Originally, the company spun out of research made at the CSE Department, University of Oulu.
Googling the company name results in a plenty of hits to well-known tech blogs. These were the first to cover IndoorAtlas after the company released its product (soft launch) in July 2012. Since then the amount of contacts has been numerous.
“Indeed, the interest towards us has been intense. We´ve been contacted by investors, developers and end users”, CEO, Dr. Janne Haverinen states.
Endless possibilities for apps
Roots of IndoorAtlas tie natural science with engineering in a captivating way. Many animals use anomalies in the Earth´s magnetic field for self-positioning. IndoorAtlas enables the same for humans indoors with just a mobile device equipped with a magnetometer at hand.
”Our technology possesses enormous application potential. Mobile marketing, analytics of customer behavior, gaming, well-being and security domain – anything where location-awareness is relevant”, Haverinen lists.
“Positioning a person in a modern building in a metropolis is a perfect example.”
”In December 2012 we opened the beta version of our technology to chosen developers. They keep sending us new data of different indoor environments around the globe.”
First consumer products are expected to hit the market already within this year. One of the application developers is Finnish Fonella Ltd. with its Easy Shopping device for grocery shops. The demo video shows a device attached to the shopping cart notifying of daily offers to the customer according to his location in the department store.
Fertile long-term research and necessary support
”I strongly believe that our kind of an innovation has only been possible to be created within a University, where producing new knowledge is a core function. We began to investigate indoor localization originally at Robotics Group back in mid-2000´s.”
”There was a need to pinpoint the movement of robot swarms indoors. We found out that magnetic anomalies exist in different locations. Thus, we started to think how to apply this phenomenon”, Haverinen recalls.
IndoorAtlas has received valuable support for commercialization from several sources: University of Oulu Innovation Services, Tekes - the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tuli – Research into Business Program & Vigo Program), the Foundation for Finnish Inventions, and a group of seed investors.
Protecting intellectual properties is crucial for a company like IndoorAtlas. Time has been invested in and consultancy services acquired for registering patents both in Finland, EU, and US.
”Challenges are plenty of: improving the technology, addressing different mobile device models and platforms. It seems that the Silicon Valley will become our base for operation as well.”
IndoorAtlas Ltd in brief:
- Founded in 2012
- Employs currently about 10 people in R&D, the amount is expected to grow
- Raised 0,5 M€ investment from a group of business angels
- Targets to become a global leader as technology supplier, with numerous clients
- Number 16 of research spin-outs at CSE Department
Last updated: 18.10.2013