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Can the indoor location information system be a good agent to slow down the new coronary pneumonia?

Release date:2021-12-28Author source:KinghelmViews:468

To prevent the further spread of Covid-19, the world is shifting to a "new normal": everyone is trying to maintain social distancing and avoid human-to-human contact. Early evidence suggests that Covid-19 spreads more violently indoors than outdoors, so many companies have begun taking steps to monitor employee movements and trace contacts in order to keep offices and factories from becoming new epicentres.

Keeping a safe distance from others and avoiding contact is the most important thing you can do to prevent catching COVID-19. However, avoiding contact with others is difficult in many situations, such as in indoor locations such as offices and factories. Therefore, there is an increasing need for technology to monitor contacts and movement trajectories between employees in real time to protect the health and safety of employees and prevent the spread of infection.

If you are outdoors, you can use Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) ranging to effectively determine the relative position of people and objects. For indoors, location information can be obtained using a variety of different wireless communication technologies, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Ultra Wideband (UWB)*1. For example, commercial facilities have deployed Bluetooth beacons*2 to support services that provide location-related information to customers via smartphones. However, the positioning accuracy of Bluetooth is only about 3 to 10 meters, and depends on the installation of infrastructure. To trace infectious contacts, the number of beacons must be increased in order to achieve sufficient accuracy. UWB technology is characterized by high-precision positioning, but deploying this technology over a wide area requires the installation of a large number of radio transceivers and repeaters, which creates a cost burden.

Indoor location information technology comparison

在这种背景下,作为获取室内位置信息的手段,一种利用地磁学*3的解决方案引起了人们的关注。TDK 已经开发了 VENUE,它是一种位置信息解决方案,利用当今智能手机中存在的地磁传感器来显示人员的实时位置。每个室内位置都有一个地磁特征,可用于确定手机的位置。


TDK 集团旗下子公司 Trusted Positioning Inc.的创始人及现任常务董事 Chris Goodall 说到:“地磁定位的优点在于,它适用于所有大型场地,这些场地的结构会与地球磁场相互作用,这样一来就可以使它成为一种不需要基础设施的室内定位方法,这种方法的精度范围可以达到 2 米内。”

VENUE 无需安装新的设备和终端,只需创建地磁图,地磁图会将室内布局图与具体位置的地磁数据(通过勘测获得)相结合,这样就能降低安装成本,而这也正是 VENUE 的主要优势。利用地磁学进行定位的精度为大约为2米,这对于追踪感染人员的接触者来说已经足够,尤其是在结合使用室内布局图的情况下。另外,通过将地磁信息与来自智能手机内加速度计*5和陀螺仪传感器*6的信息相结合,VENUE 显示的位置精度甚至会更高。

“人们可能会在走路时拿着智能手机,或者也可能会把手机放在口袋或背包里。由于用户的方位会一直变化,所以需要使用惯性传感器来校准行人移动用例中的参数。解决这些问题是轨迹追踪等实际应用所面临的[敏感词]挑战,我们的团队为此花费了很多年来创建、保护和完善相关技术。”Goodall 介绍道。

Venue 的功能和特性

Venue 凭借其独有的定位技术:地磁传感器、加速度计和陀螺仪传感器相结合,同时辅以蓝牙和 Wi-Fi,即使在室内也能够[敏感词]地获取位置信息。

从 2020 年 8 月开始,位于东京日本桥的 TDK 总部就在使用 VENUE 对员工进行接触者追踪试验。员工们携带安装有一款特殊应用程序的智能手机,并将他们在楼层的位置和移动轨迹与匿名身份识别信息结合在一起。结合室内结构对人的位置进行分析可以更好地跨越墙壁或其他障碍物来识别直接接触者并排除假接触者。如果发现了某位员工感染,将会分析数据以识别出过去两周内与这名员工有过直接接触的人员,并将会采取要求相关人员居家隔离等措施。追踪接触者的过程是自动完成的,并针对复杂的室内空间进行了优化。


在TDK 总部持续进行中的试验=

Venue 在面板上显示某位员工的轨迹数据。

The duration and location of an employee's stay can be visualized in the form of a heat map.

*The above is a concept map of the interface currently in development.

Because VENUE displays the location and history of people and objects using not only employees' smartphones, but also special tags (under development) containing geomagnetic and inertial sensors, the product can be deployed to infectious disease contacts Many different application scenarios other than tracking. For example, monitor employee movement to improve operational efficiency, or track equipment location to manage equipment health. TDK is currently working with a number of companies to propose a number of different solution ideas for using location information to improve business efficiency.

"When we introduced open seating on all floors of the office, we decided to use VENUE to maintain a 'real-time seating chart'. We could keep track of where everyone was, and hoped this would lead to positive communication between departments." ( Hiroyuki Konuma, President of Sato Corporation)

“Until now, we have been using BLE beacons to manage the movement of employees, supplies and equipment in warehouses, factories and worksites. Deployment and maintenance costs are high, but we believe that using VENUE will reduce costs (especially in large-scale facilities) will be very effective.” (Tamura Toshihiko, Director of ZENRIN DataCom Business Planning Division)

VENUE is also suitable for other modalities of contact tracing, such as human-machine contact, human-vehicle contact, and human-robot contact. The working environment of the future is expected to change dramatically due to automation, so in order to prevent human-machine interaction from creating new security risks, VENUE wants to improve the security of all contact tracing application types.

Monitoring the location of people and objects indoors is expected to have many different application scenarios

As an indoor location information solution, VENUE provides very accurate location information while reducing infrastructure costs. Just like the development process of GPS applied to outdoor positioning in the past, indoor positioning technology is likely to appear more and more in our daily life in the future.

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