Monday, June 8, 2015

Indoor Locating in the World’s Biggest Market

China has always been an exciting market for technology companies, given its size and dynamism.
As such, it’s very interesting – and no doubt significant – to see how Chinese tech giant Baidu plans to roll out its Indoor Locating Services for its estimated 270 million monthly active users of Baidu Maps.

As we wrote about previously (Indoor Locating: the Key Word is Scale), Baidu has set its eyes on Finnish start-up IndoorAtlas’s magnetic technology to power the mammoth enterprise of providing indoor location services in such a vast country, and across such a large user population.

The two companies have since moved rapidly since the first agreement was signed last year, which also saw Baidu providing $10m of funding for the start-up. A recent press release indicates that Baidu has started integrating IndoorAtlas’ technology in their indoor location services.

For us, that Baidu is choosing such a novel solution for so large a market says a couple of things: firstly, it underlines the potential of IndoorAtlas’ technology as a practical and cost-efficient indoor locating solution. If this takes off in China, it will most likely set the model for indoor locating in the rest of the world, given that China, with its vast, new and ever-increasing urban spaces, and still developing mobile and network infrastructure is probably one of the more demanding markets to ‘test-bed’ indoor locating.

Secondly, it gives us a glimpse of the dynamism and innovation in China’s tech-industries, where market leaders are not afraid to invest in, adopt and roll out as-yet-unproven, unorthodox technologies to a billion-strong audience. This, perhaps, is a startling vision of China’s potential – evolving from a cheap manufacturing centre to a pioneer and exporter of new technology and new ways of doing things.