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Imagine a world in which a customer's position can be pin-pointed to the product they’re looking at and not just the store they’re in; in which location accuracy is measured in centimetres and not metres…


 

 

 

Welcome to ZoneArt Networks

Our story begins with a problem, one which Albert Einstein would recognise: how to locate someone or something in 3-dimensional space and also in time.  A moving person or object only resides at a particular place, at a particular time; to provide a usefully accurate location, therefore means, providing a location in space-time.  Most current location solutions will tell you roughly where someone or something was, tens of seconds or many minutes ago.  This works fine for static or quasi static objects, but customers have an annoying habit of moving…

It seems remarkable to us that no-one has spotted this problem up to now…

 

The Problem in a Nutshell

 

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There are many systems which can be used to locate people or objects.  Some systems rely upon (modulated) light, which is great until the user puts their mobile device in a pocket or bag.  Others utilise bluetooth radio beacons, but these only work over a very short range and hence large numbers are needed to cover a reasonable area.  They also only allow the users to locate themselves; the system operators can learn nothing unless the users expressly consent to providing their information and pay (in data charges) for the privilege.  Furthermore, since they can only say “I’m here”, they require a third-party communications channel (typically either cellular or Wi-Fi) in order to download related information, respond to offers, or post them on social media, etc.

The obvious solution to these issues is to use Wi-Fi, both as the communications medium and the geolocation means.  Historically, such solutions have been both inaccurate and slow.  Even where claimed accuracies are reasonable, their reliance upon multiple access points for geolocation, amongst other issues, means that they are slow.  They will tell you where your customer was many seconds or even minutes ago and not where they are now.  In the meantime, the customer has moved on…

 

Space-Time

Imagine a geolocation solution with a claimed accuracy of 1 metre, but which delivers its location ‘fix’ 10 seconds late.  Based upon a person walking at the generally-accepted preferred walking speed (1.4 metres per second), they could be 15 metres or more away from their reported location, in any direction, by the time their position is reported.  This represents an area of over 700 square metres within which the person could be located, by the time their location is reported.  This is equivalent to an area of three tennis courts or roughly half the size of a professional ice hockey pitch – not quite the 1 metre accuracy originally envisaged…

So a claimed accuracy of 1 metre only works, if the location is reported essentially in real-time. In other words, for a location system to be truly effective, it needs to locate in 4-dimensional space-time and not just in 3-dimensional space.  It needs to be both accurate and fast.

 

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The Solution

ZoneArt has a unique solution to the problem of locating users and objects in space-time. We have called this solution: Follow Spot.

Traditional Wi-Fi location solutions have relied upon the use of multiple access points, whose (typically omni-directional) radiation patterns overlap to cover the same physical space.  This is somewhat wasteful in product and installation costs as it is only required for geolocation (and not communication).  ZoneArt’s solution requires only a single access point to accurately locate users or objects, with accuracies measured in centimetres and not metres, essentially in real-time.  In other words a single ZoneArt access point can accurately locate in space-time.

Furthermore, ZoneArt’s solution does not require a user to download any apps or even sign-in to an access point (although both could be incorporated, into a solution).  Any user, with Wi-Fi enabled on their device, can be tracked, anonymously, providing useful analytics, such as routes taken through stores or malls, locations of queues and time spent queueing, etc.  Such data is invaluable to a system owner, as it can be used to price store locations in a mall, or to determine where in a store to place special offers or high-profit items.

 

Market Leading Wi-Fi

It so happens that when you design an access point to provide high-accuracy geolocation, this also results in market leading Wi-Fi performance, in terms of: range, capacity, user data-rates (in both download and upload), quality of service, interference mitigation etc. – essentially, everything that the Wi-Fi user community has been crying out for, for years.

ZoneArt’s Follow Spot technology treats users as individuals and targets coverage where it is needed, dynamically, for each and every user, for each and every byte of data they transmit or receive.  Follow Spot doesn’t waste precious signal energy sending it in directions where no users are located, at a given time, it only sends signal energy to users and receives signal energy from users and nowhere else.  This has the additional benefit of minimising interference and providing added security – energy is targeted within a building, for example, rather than leaking out in all directions.

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Follow Spot Technology

Imagine an actress on a darkened stage.  A sharply-defined spotlight falls on the actress and follows her as she moves around the stage.  The other actors, together with the stage scenery, remain in an inky-blackness.  Now imagine that the stage is a shopping mall, an office, a stadium or a museum, with the actress being replaced by individual shoppers, office workers or visitors.  Follow Spot targets the available Wi-Fi signal energy in its entirety, at each individual user, exclusively, for their data packets, in much the same way that the stage spotlight targets all of the available energy, from it's spotlight bulb, at the actress. Our Follow Stop moves it's Wi-Fi energy around to follow each user, just as the spotlight does on the stage.

It is this individual targeting, of all of the available signal energy (and receive sensitivity), which results in an unparalleled user data-rate, an unparalleled quality of service and an unparalleled level of interference immunity.

 

Get in Touch

 

If you are interested in further information about ZoneArt's unique solution or wish to trial it in your application, please use the contact form or get in touch:

Tel: +44 (0) 1291 652911     email: info@zoneartnetworks.com

 
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