Once upon a time, we humans were content to sail ships across oceans with nothing but the sun and stars to figure out where we were, but things are a little different today. Chet Dagit, founder and managing director of the Radnor-based RTP Holdings
, says that nowadays, satellite GPS can help us locate ourselves on this round earth within three meters of a given spot, but for a lot of industries, even that’s not enough.
"Micro-location solutions" is what RTP has been working on since its genesis three years ago; the company now has one year of operations under its belt. The technology is also called "augmented GPS" -- it works with the help of a radio tower on the ground. On a large outdoor site such as a golf-course, plugged-in users can locate themselves to within a single meter with the help of a map in the cloud.
This technology is crucial for the modern aviation and maritime industries, says Dagit, but RTP is also helping to develop the next wave of micro-location: GPS that works through a specialized app indoors, helping users navigate their way through large buildings and attractions such as college campuses or museums.
The apps use WiFi and now Bluetooth Beacon for ground references, and RTP’s services to their clients come in two main parts: the positioning of these devices and the actual indoor mapping. They survey buildings to ensure the right number and location of WiFi access points, input those spots to a three-dimensional grid of the space, and then get the building’s floor-plan mapped into the app-accessed cloud.
To imagine an immediate and urgent application, picture calling 911 on your cell phone from inside a huge building and letting the app guide EMTs right to you. Or you can simply figure out what museum exhibit is a two-minute step from where you’re currently standing.
RTP recently held its first public demonstration of its trademarked Lokita Solution system for indoor micro-location mobile apps. It was a big success: Their new beta app, The @UPenn Xperience
(now available in the Apple iTunes App store) took first place at the Greater Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies
(PACT) Wayfinding App Challenge
in late June, hosted by PACT and co-sponsored by Penn and Independence Blue Cross
"The new app helps students and visitors to Penn’s campus navigate and discover the art-filled campus and surrounding city," said RTP in a statement about the win, which came with a $30,000 prize.
"It really makes our solution tangible, so [people] can see it in action," says Dagit of the presentation and the prize. The company put their competition team and demo together in less than a month.
"That really shows our prospective customers how quickly we can get things done, and the quality of our work on a certain timeline," he adds.
"Philly is one of the leading cities in the country for indoor mapping," he continues, expaining that we're second only to Las Vegas in the number of buildings using this type of technology. "I just think we’re progressive with technology, maybe a little bit more early adopters, and we’re all about these great public venues that we have."
Writer: Alaina Mabaso
Source: Chet Dagit: RTP Holdings