Last week Apple dropped £13m to acquire Wifislam, an indoor mapping specialist. Nokia already has Destination Maps that boasts indoor mapping and their are a few Finnish companies focused on in door mapping.
The technology Apple now owns can pinpoint a device with 2.5 metres of accuracy inside a building. With the outdoor pretty well mapped, it makes sense that the next step is inside. But what could you use it for? As indoor mapping becomes mainstream and empowers mobile developers, what enterprise applications will we see?
Large enterprises could have meeting room finders, or maybe desk finders to go and drop by the guy you email but have no idea where he sits? Such simple problems would definitely help those newbies on boarding. It could help IT support locating workstations to fix.
What if it was used at the office to track employees? Not outside the building but in the building - you need to speak to someone urgently but can't find them? If they have their phone now you could locate them to the nearest 2.5 metres.
Would this be big brother? Could it infringe your privacy?
Could management view reports on which staff spend the most time wandering around the building potentially doing nothing? Yahoo recently made the headlines using data from VPN reports showing who was using their computer from home. I wonder if the same data usage report was ran against their internal network? Now Yahoo have given everyone iOS devices its only time before they have the potential to view 'away from your desk reports'
Outside of the workplace, it would make navigating the shopping centre, museum, library and well any big building with a new found ease. So what is next? Maybe the web of things can take this to the next level - with everything tagged with a digital id we could locate anything.
Whats for sure is large web companies such as Google or Facebook will want to suck up all this data to learn more about individuals in order to deliver new information services and generate new revenues. The Google Now service already is to some level of accuracy. I expect there is already a shout out about privacy concerns. Personally, I am not bothers - track away!