Shouldering the Indoor “Burden”

A great piece written by Janice Partyka and published last month by GPS World outlines the broadening horizons of mobile solutions for enterprise, as business users move away from RIM and towards iPhone and Android devices. What consumers are getting for free from apps, businesses are willing to pay for. And this goes for the burgeoning location-based sector as well. The whole article is worth a read, but here’s our favorite part:

[What’s the] next Location Killer App? So what’s next? Development of indoor location will unleash new apps and enhance existing apps that are currently confined to an outdoor experience only. “The most suitable technology for indoors,” asserts Kanwar Chadha of CSR, “is a combination of GNSS with accelerometers, gyros, and Wi-Fi.” People assume that what they can do outdoors, they can seamlessly do indoors, like geotagging a photo. Chadha adds that another challenge is that the indoors is not mapped. This is not a small undertaking, and the burden may rest on facilities providing content providers with mapping. Consumer-saturated locales like shopping areas, stadiums, resorts, hotel, and convention centers will likely be the first.

It’s not easy and it’s no small undertaking, but we couldn’t be happier shouldering the indoor “burden”!

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Micello Chosen to Present at “Under the Radar”

Mashable has chosen Micello as one of ten companies (narrowed down from over 160 applications) to participate in their “Fast Pitch” competition at next week’s Under The Radar event. Each startup will be given two minutes to present on stage.

Here are the other nine startups we’ll be competing against:

Empire Avenue

Foodspotting

Manumatix

Miso

Postling

SellSimply

SocialSmack

TellApart

Zozolo

 

… Wish us luck!

 

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Micello Halloween Theme Released — And Other Treats!

Like the run-up to every Halloween, the preparing of costumes and (possibly) livers, for a weekend of tricking, treating, and brushing the caramel off your teeth, is in full throttle. It might just be that the Giants, conveniently orange and black, won game 1 of the World Series last night, but Halloween spirit seems to be at a fever pitch.

Even the world of startups and tech is showing off its inventive Halloween goods. Don’t yet have a costume idea? Pick up the Scoopertino iWear Steve Jobs theme kit – complete with 34-inch denim jeans, a black turtle-neck shirt, and wire frame glasses. Terrified about the Rise of the Infographics? Then Candynomics will make you turn over in your grave. How about a sweet treat? The UPC scanning/savings app Checkpoints will be giving away the equivalent of a $1 gift card for every two referrals you get to sign up – but only until Halloween.  Need to find your way around the mall? Navigate to the novelty store in Halloween style with the Halloween themed indoor maps available on our free Micello app. In a similar vein, find your closest Haunted House via MapQuest! Itching for some shriek-inducing gameplay? Check out 20 spooky iPhone and iPad games that will make your blood run cold. How about some dead time? Sit down, relax and carve a Foursquare-themed pumpkin (or your favorite startup!) Of course, you know things are really getting grim when VCs are getting into the mix

Here are some screenshots of our new theme in action. Check it out today on your iPhone or Android!

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Mobile, Mapping and Positioning: News from the Front

As we’ve mentioned before, indoor maps will serve as the infrastructure beneath the coming boom of LBS and social retail. A recent report published by Gartner, confirms that “mobility” will pass the trillion dollar mark by 2014 — fueled primarily by applications and mobile social services. Gartner includes mapping systems as one of the major platforms that will fuel the upward trend for the industry.

Positive news backs this up: Navteq sales increased 52% year over year in Q3 and Nokia’s OviMaps has seen a doubling of usage in the last quarter. This just confirms our excitement of being one of the major players in the indoor mapping space. There is a lot of room to grow.

But the value of indoor mapping data grows significantly with the accuracy of indoor positioning on mobile devices, which would allow for some game-changing functionality in indoor navigation. Given that a lot of great minds and companies are working on improving it, we see this as inevitable. Indeed, the last couple of weeks (and days) have given us more reason to be optimistic about the positioning space.

A number of positioning companies are getting significant levels of funding, which is evidence that the need and interest is getting to a fever pitch. This week Insiteo, a geo-location startup, raised a respectable 3.5m euro for their second round of funding. (Congratulations, guys!) Insiteo claims its assisted-GPS provides sub 3-meter positioning. Qubulus, another indoor positioning upstart, completed an agreement with Scandinavian telecom Telia Sonera to use their radio footprint patents to integrate into their technology. Qubulus is definitely a company to watch in the coming months. Finally, Israeli GPS provider CellGuide is integrating a digital elevation model to improve GPS on the Z-axis (very exciting for those of you using our maps in multi-level malls.)

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Three maps = a Micello T-shirt!

 

Example Map

A university campus building map

 

Do you have a favorite local spot that you think would be useful for others if added to the Micello Maps application? Well, we’d love to map it out! You can always email us a request via:

request_a_map[at]micello.com

Even better, if you send us three photos of  maps with indoor details (malls, university buildings, convention centers, or whatever else you can think of), that are not yet in the Micello Maps application, then we’ll send you a Micello T-Shirt as a token of our appreciation. You can typically find these maps in brochures, on directory signs, or by emergency exits, depending on the type of place. Found one? Just snap a photo with your phone or camera and we’ll do the rest.

Happy hunting!

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Thank You, NYT!

Here at Micello, we’re building a game-changing indoor mapping platform.  We’re working in completely new territory — defining standards for representing indoor maps and innovating on the fly. It’s a nice treat then, when a nascent industry like our own gets a major boost. On Monday, there was an overwhelmingly positive response to the New York Times article on indoor mapping – the idea has gone mainstream and it’s changed the world.

It was the most emailed piece in the NYT Technology section, and spin-off articles were published around the world. A segment on indoor mapping was also aired at primetime on Fox News in the evening. The user reaction has been astounding: all three apps mentioned in the article, including our own, were bumped up into the top 10 navigation apps in the Apple iTunes App Store. It nudged the entire indoor mapping space up a step.

The piece highlights a few of the many companies working tirelessly to solve indoor location-based challenges: FastMall, PointInside, Aisle411, and Micello. As we learned in Econ 101, competition is good; it serves as a catalyst for innovation and ultimately moves the whole industry forward.  It also helps foster greater interest in the sector as a whole. At Micello, we welcome the competition, and we want to thank all of the companies out there who are working hard to grow the indoor LBS ecosystem. The work we are doing has enormous value to users, and we all want to see this industry reach its full potential.

Special thanks to Verne Kopytoff, the author of the NYT piece, for seeing the value of this emerging technology, and for sharing it with the world.

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Micello featured in the New York Times

“Mobile phone maps have guided people through streets and alleys around the globe. But when those people step into a sprawling building, they can get lost.

“Inside, people have to ask strangers for directions or search for a directory or wall map. A number of start-up companies are charting the interiors of shopping malls, convention centers and airports to keep mobile phone users from getting lost as they walk from the food court to the restroom. Some of their maps might even be able to locate cans of sardines in a sprawling grocery store.”

Like at a startup: some days you feel like you’re mired in a bog, struggling to take a single step. Others, you feel as light as a bird and ready to take on the world. We like to think we experience more of the latter here at Micello and today definitely reinforced that feeling. An article on page B3 of today’s New York Times featured Micello among a few other indoor mapping companies. You can see it online here.

And here are the juicy parts about Micello:

“Ankit Agarwal, chief executive of Micello, an indoor mapping service based in Sunnyvale, Calif., has created a library of nearly 2,000 maps, most of them of American shopping malls. He said his team could recreate a mall floor plan in a couple of hours, based on originals that they find in the public domain.

“We never have to visit the place,” Mr. Agarwal said. No malls have complained, he added.

In some cases, Micello’s maps show details beyond the basic four walls. A map of the Ikea store in East Palo Alto, Calif., features an aisle winding through the store and the locations of departments like “children’s” and “closet systems.”

Mr. Agarwal, from Micello, said he was just excited by the prospect of all that remained to be mapped indoors. Speaking about his service last month at a mobile phone conference at the University of California, San Francisco, he looked out the window and declared, “I want to map every building on this campus.”

 

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