Apple has acquired WiFiSlam, a company that makes an app that lets smartphones locate themselves indoors using ambient Wi-Fi signals that already exist in buildings.
The deal was reported by The Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog, which said Apple confirmed the acquisition but had no further comment other than to say that Apple “buys smaller technology companies from time to time.” Digits said Apple paid $20 million for WiFiSlam.
Joseph Huang from WiFiSLAM explains the technology at a August 2012 GeoMeetup about Indoor location. It uses techniques of inertial navigation between hotspot waypoints.
The WiFiSlam page on AngelList describes possible applications using the technology include step-by-step indoor navigation, product-level retail customer engagement, and proximity-based social networking. Apple has also acquired companies like C3 Technologies and Poly9 for mapping in recent years.
ABI Research says the indoor location market is set to reach a significant number of installations in 2015-2017.
Related Dailywireless articles include; Indoor Location Without GPS, Qualcomm & Cisco Team for WiFi Location, Indoor Location Alliance Formed, Mapping Goes Indoors, Google Maps Indoors, Google Maps Now Available for iPhone, City Tech Maps