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Nokia, Samsung and pals team up to map malls, stations

Alliance aims to develop standard for mobile floor plans

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Nokia and Samsung have teamed up to try to standardise the technology used to for indoor location services.

The firms, together with Sony, British chip designer CSR and 18 other companies, have launched the In-Location Alliance to launch standards-based services, starting with Bluetooth 4.0 low-energy technology and Wi-Fi standards.

Nokia said in a canned statement that each member of the alliance would run their own pilots of indoor mapping and then present the resulting data to the group.

"Indoor positioning is the next frontier of mobile services, offering great opportunities to enhance consumer experiences," the Alliance said. "For the benefit of enterprises, the Alliance will drive a world-wide indoor positioning system for use in major venues. Our pilots, along with technical evaluations, are paramount for driving rapid market adoption."

The pilots from the companies will start this year and the group expects the first consumer apps by next year.

Last month, Google started running its indoor maps on UK mobiles, starting with 40 venues like Kings Cross Station and Selfridges on Oxford Street in London. The Chocolate Factory uses WiFi for its indoor maps.

Aside from helping folks to find their way around, companies are no doubt thinking that a mobile floor-plan service could be an excellent way to target advertising in an ever more invasive fashion – eg, "You like coffee don't you, Dave? There's a Starbucks right around that corner, Dave. Venti, non-fat, no foam, no water 6 pump extra hot chai tea lattes are on offer, Dave..." ®

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