IMES Introduction

Epoch Making Unique Technology to Provide GNSS Devices with Indoor Positioning merely by Installing Transmitters in Segmented Indoor Location Areas

iMES: The invention originates from Japan

IMES: The invention originates from Japan

by Hideyuki Torimoto, President and CEO, GNSS Technologies,Inc.

  1. Indoor positioning technology and IMES

At the beginning of 2012, about six billion units of mobile phones were in use around the world. This is equivalent to approximately 86% of the world’s population of seven billion people, and it is considered a matter of time before it reaches 100%. Recently, operating systems for smartphones developed by three major U.S. IT companies, Google, Apple, and Microsoft have been attracting great attention. Smartphones built on these operating systems are mass-produced mainly in Taiwan, China, and South Korea, and supplied throughout the world. Currently, Google’s Android holds the largest market share of about 60%. The Global Positioning System (GPS) that provides location and time information for users at any time is built into all smartphones presently being produced.

The phone market shifted from fixed telephones to mobile phones in the 1990s. At that time, it took time to identify the whereabouts of emergency calls (e.g. a fire) from mobile phones, causing serious problems. Some cases resulted in the loss of lives that could have been saved if there was no delay in identifying the locations. These incidents lead to the movement to install the GPS functionality to mobile phones. This movement was initiated by the emergency system called E911 in the U.S. and Europe, and later on, it was also introduced into Japan as a regulation.

In the past, phones were installed at fixed positions; therefore, the location of each phone could instantly be identified from the phone number. With the spread of mobile phones in the 1990s, however, locating the user became difficult, and this lead to GPS being built into mobile phones. When the GPS built-in mobile phones became popular, another issue arose. The indoor positioning technology development began in the late 1990s after the recognition of the fact that GPS could not identify indoor locations.

The first technology that emerged was called Assisted GPS. It is a technique to receive ultra-weak GPS signals that leak indoors by increasing the receiver sensitivity to the limit. With this, the GPS base stations on the communication network were used to identify the location of the indoor positions. This technology was developed by SnapTrack, Inc., a venture company of about 30 people in Silicon Valley in the United States. When a U.S. company, Qualcomm Inc. bought this company for about 100 billion yen in the early 1990s, it was a topic of conversation. Soon after that, KDDI introduced this technology for the first time in Japan.

With the modernization of the telecommunication network by carriers, the Internet communication technology advanced. Typically, the communication technology called Wi-Fi. has spread all over the world. Since this inexpensive technology can easily allow a mobile phone to exchange data wirelessly over a computer network, it has become the worlds most popular infrastructure. It is convenient in hotels or bullet trains, when you are on the run at work, as well as when you are at home. Incidentally, in 2012, Wi-Fi was installed in approximately 23 million places in Japan. Currently, this Internet communication technology is built into new generation smartphones as a basic function. Almost simultaneously, the positioning technique, which estimates the distance to the recipient by the intensity level of the radio wave received from the Wi-Fi base station, was developed as an additional use of Wi-Fi. The greatest advantage of the Wi-Fi positioning technology is that it has spread globally. The representative firm on this technology is Skyhook Wireless, a venture company in the U.S. However, the drawbacks of this system are:

  • Since it estimates a position with the strength of radio waves from the WHFi station, the exact location cannot be obtained.
  • The position of the W卜Fi station is not necessarily fixed and its position coordinates may not be obtained with high accuracy.
  • The spatial environment between the Wii station and the user is not always constant due to the movements of people and the existence of radio wave shielding materials, therefore, the accuracy and stability in positioning are often poor.
  1. Reflection points of Wi-Fi that have become the worlds social infrastructure

I think that the reflection points of Wi-Fi in the past existed in the installation of the Wi-Fi. stations. Originally, the Wi-Fi. stations were created for a communication network purpose. If the communication function was performed properly within the scope of the rules, having no mutual interference problems, the purpose for installing Wi-Fi. stations was achieved. For that reason, we did not need to know the exact locations of the installation of the Wi-Fi. stations. Subsequently, the positioning technology using the intensity of the radio waves from the Wi-Fi. stations has been devised as a derivative technology and spread around the world instantaneously. This new technology spread because it was devised without modifying the features of the Wi-Fi. station and the hardware, which is also the case for IMES. But now the positioning system is widely available, the drawback of it (i.e. the accuracy of positioning is poor and unstable) has been exposed. Right now, this system cannot be a trump card for the indoor positioning technology due to its poor and unstable performance. With hindsight, if we knew the exact locations of all of the Wi~Fi. stations, theoretically, more accurate location information should have been obtained.

  1. The trend of companies in the world that have involvement in the smartphone business.

As a trend to recognize the issue of indoor positioning technology, the smartphone-related companies in the world have started working on this problem. The world’s major carriers, developers, and manufacturers of communication devices and companies that develop the indoor positioning technology, such as Qualcomm Inc., Nokia, Broadcom, Samsung, Vizio, Philips and Huawei, gathered in 2012, and launched the “In-Location Alliance” as a research and development group of indoor positioning technology. This gathering proves that, depending on the individual purpose, the indoor positioning technology widely used in current smartphones does not yet meet necessary and sufficient conditions. GNSS Technologies Inc. sought entry to this In-Location Alliance in order to identify the direction of the indoor positioning technology by IMES, for which we obtained a patent internationally, and to identify the technical trends and needs for indoor positioning technology. Currently, we are the only company from Japan that has been selected to participate as a member of the alliance.

  1. IMES: An epoch-making invention from Japan.

In the course of the worlds indoor positioning technology development, an epoch- making technology named IMES was invented around 2006. (Japanese official name for IMES is Indoor Messaging System. It is also called Indoor Measuring System in the United States and Europe.) IMES is one of the few Japanese inventions in the field of positioning technology that allows us to overcome the disadvantages of assisted GPS and Wi-Fi. positioning all at once. In addition to the activities with JAXA, SPAC and the IMES consortium in Japan, we have engaged in our own activities to promote IMES overseas. As a result, we feel that the research to utilize IMES has become more active. At this stage, we are not able to disclose specific organization and company names, though, we have been surprised by truly unique ideas that have been considered to utilize IMES, compared to the commonly conceived ideas in GNSS Technologies Inc. or in Japan. Judging from these circumstances, the fields where IMES can be used are still underdeveloped, therefore, there is a potential that innovative sectors and services can be created around the world by utilizing IMES. For that reason, by foreseeing the next 10 years or so, we believe that it is important to develop new industries ahead of the rest of the world.

  1. Unparalleled superiority of IMES

The characteristic of IMES is that it is an innovative technology that satisfies the conditions for being built into smartphones, resolving the drawbacks which exist in pseudolites, the assisted GPS and the Wi-Fi positioning systems.

  • Since three-dimensional position data can be obtained from an indoor transmitter at one place, it allows extremely free development indoors. This is different from pseudolites, which require transmitters at four places.
  • Position coordinate data are directly obtained from the IMES transmitter. This means that the IMES built-in smartphones do not need to perform the position calculation, resulting in extremely low power consumption.
  • There is almost no increase in cost because a receiver can be changed to seamlessly perform both indoor and outdoor positioning by just adding extra programs without changing the design of the commonly used GPS receiver.
  • IMES allows us to locate a position accurately because it sends “floor data^ of buildings or underground shopping malls along with the “position data””, no matter how large buildings are or how deep the underground shopping areas are.
  • By controlling the radio field strength of each IMES transmitter every 1dBm, the precision control ranging from ten meters or a little more to one meter is generally possible.
  • If you receive IMES radio waves, it is guaranteed that you will be in that position within a few meters, and instability or degradation of the positioning accuracy does not occur as may happen with Assisted GPS and Wi-Fi..
  • Precise three-dimensional indoor navigation is possible with IMES.
  • Since it can operate without time synchronization with an outdoor GPS satellite, or between the IMES transmitters, technically, it is easy to install.

We conducted experiments measuring distances between a patient and a bed when the patient got out of bed, and it was possible to determine the position of the patient from the bed accurately to within about 1m. IMES uses the same radio waves as GPS. GPS signals are sent equally to the whole world and the signal strength used is -130 dBm, extremely weak radio waves that can disappear among noises in the natural world. For that reason, it is exempt even from the Japan Radio Law, which is considered to be a very strict regulation by world standards, and basically, it can be installed anywhere. In general, IMES transmitters are set up for the radio wave strength that GPS receivers can pick up in the area within 5 10m. If IMES signals can be received, it is guaranteed to identify the three-dimensional positioning within 5 ~ 10m with 100% certainty. From the fact that IMES can guarantee the accuracy of the position, it is of great value to a number of services that use location information services. Unlike Wi-Fi.,IMES has been developed from the beginning to provide useful information to a wide range of applied service sectors. Specifically, this information includes “where, when and who”, which are essential to the activities of people and the movements of goods.

The great features of IMES are: Three-dimensional navigation is possible. The exact position inside buildings, including the floor level, can be obtained. The accuracy in positioning is reliable and can be utilized for a wide range of applied services. The greatest of all has to be the reliable positioning function with a very small uncertainty range. This reliability is an absolute element in utilizing this technology for many applied services. IMES radio waves are extremely weak but the coverage can be controlled by further adjusting these weak IMES radio waves every 1 dBm. GPS receivers can also correspond to this sensitivity. In addition, the limitation of the radio wave strength for these GPS receivers is clear. The IMES transmitters store very accurate position coordinates and provide very accurate and reliable position information. The coordinates stored in IMES are the same as the GPS coordinates that are compatible with the GPS receivers and the specifications are global standards. Therefore, the individual coordinates stored in IMES are the unique data for indoor and outdoor positioning, and the location of an IMES transmitter itself can be the ID for the IMES transmitter. Basically, IMES is maintained by the position coordinates and the PRN codes that are given to each coordinate.

  1. Conceptual diagram of the IMES signal propagation loss

Typical Propagation Loss
The following diagram shows a typical transmission loss when a GPS signal is transmitted from an IMES transmitter. The distance can vary slightly due to the reflections that occur in the surrounding environment. After all, fine adjustment in the local area is necessary. As shown in the diagram on the left, if the transmission power is – 90dBm, it declines to -130dBm at 1m away and becomes the radio wave strength that can be received by a common GPS receiver.

  1. IMES: Officially employed by Japan’s positioning satellite system “MICHIBIKl”

Japan’s first positioning satellite named “M1CHIBIKI” (Quasi-Zenith Satellite System) was launched three years ago, and along with the United States, Russia, the EU and China, Japan joined the ranks of the countries that possess positioning satellite systems. (Note: The generic term for these satellites is Global Navigation Satellite System – GNSS.) Among these satellite positioning systems, the unique features of the IMES indoor positioning technology have attracted special attention. IMES is a highly compatible technology that can be integrated with not only Japan’s “MICHIBIKI”, but also all of the world’s satellite positioning systems in exactly the same manner. Incidentally, there are no regulations in the world for the indoor satellite positioning systems except Japan. I would say this is because no one in the rest of the world thought that they could devise something like IMES. Only Japan’s Quasi-Zenith satellite positioning system incorporated the IMES indoor positioning system to reinforce its indoor positioning function. Thus, the IMES system is Japan’s unique invention. As a result of the discussion between the Japanese government and the GPS agencies of the U.S. government, the IMES system was employed as a specification of “MICHIBIKI”,which is interoperable with GPS. The U.S. officially assigned 10 PRN codes to IMES for transmitting satellite signals on the ground. This means that IMES is officially recognized throughout the world as part of the GPS system specifications. In other words, the unique approach of IMES is officially recognized as a valuable technology throughout the world.

[The PRN codes on the ground that have been assigned to IMES]

  1. IMES: The world’s social infrastructure

If IMES spreads throughout the world with smartphones like the Wi-Fi. communication network has, anyone will be able to freely use the seamless indoor and outdoor positioning environment anywhere, anytime. There is no doubt that this function will make a great contribution to the systems in the world that require a positioning function, and to the development of the related industries. That is to say that in the living environment where people are active and goods move around, we will be able to obtain real time information such as ’’when, whereand who” seamlessly, no matter whether you are inside or outside of a building. When the three elements of the mobile communication devices represented by smartphones, the communications technology through the Internet, and the seamless satellite positioning technology are integrated at a global scale, the resulting important functions, which are the base of industrial revolutions for the present age, can be provided to the world. In the countries around the world including Japan, business has changed from using simple labour to machine manufacturing. I think future business should focus on ‘”Intelligent Business” by integrating all of the above three elements and using them with smartphones. The environment that combines “position and communication” on a global scale is becoming a reality. The creation of this environment has been our aim since the founding of GNSS Technologies Inc.. In this sense, IMES should be installed worldwide observing certain rules and should become a commonly used major global infrastructure which continuously produces more convenience with other related industries.

Radio waves assigned to the satellite positioning systems in the world, typically GPS, are now literally a worldwide social infrastructure. Apart from the individual purpose of principal maintenance, the systems which are planned to be built in China, the EU, and India will be commonly available free of charge worldwide. Because IMES uses some of those radio waves, it is essential to create rules and an environment so that IMES can be used freely and universally.

  1. The importance of IMES installation, its management and maintenance, and acquisition of its technical aspects

As I have already commented, if IMES spreads globally, and if its maintenance is done under unified rules, significant benefits will be brought to the world. It will literally be a world infrastructure that originates from Japan. For that matter, it is necessary to establish installation standards and methods for IMES transmitters, and management and maintenance for the PRN codes. On top of that, there is a need to show the world the ’’recommended management standard” that eliminates the Japanese self-righteousness and respects the flexible vitality of the private sector. Currently, JAXA and the IMES consortium are in charge of drafting the management standards. The operators that use the IMES technology for their services should follow the installation and maintenance management that complies with the recommended rules, and this needs to be presented to the world as the Japanese management system.

However, in reality, there are many difficult problems to solve before making the Japanese IMES handling standards into global standards. Because of the extraterritorial rights that exist between countries, we could recommend our handling standards, but we have no authority to enforce them on other countries that have different political systems. Even if we could, it is extremely unlikely to succeed unless some arrangements could be made between the countries. Furthermore, it is virtually impossible for the private sector to influence political power for the creation of new business. As a way to solve this problem, our strategy would be to integrate the management and maintenance procedures into the terms and conditions of IMES by making a contract subject to patent right consent. GNSS Technologies Inc. aimed in this direction at an early stage. We will collaborate with indoor positioning service providers around the world and create a business environment where we can work together based on mutual benefits. In this environment, our ultimate goal is to build a universal indoor positioning system. Since it is about rules, not about money, this strategy is gaining support regardless of world public institutions or private companies, and gradually spreading throughout the world.

  1. Development of our IMES installation, management and maintenancetools

(A)[IMES transmitter installation and management software]

iMES Tx Management Software

When installing an IMES transmitter, things such as position coordinates, the PRN code, ID, the security code, and the radio wave strength, which are all based on the setting location information, will be written to each transmitter wirelessly. These data can then be sent to the database of IMES transmitter installation and management software.

In addition, by sending provisionally determined data that satisfies the planned and calculated location to this software, the ultimate radio field strength can be determined through adjustments at the actual installation site. The coordinate/radio emission simulation systems are used to calculate the provisional data.

(B)[IMES data management system]

iMES Tx Management Software]

In addition to the data written to IMES, this system can analyse and manage all sorts of other data, such as information about the management responsibility, installation locations, modification history after installation, IMES unit serial numbers, information on versions, manufacturers, and date of manufacture. This database is designed to share the data with the other two systems.

(C)[IMES position and coordinate calculation system]

iMES Cordinate Generator System

It is very difficult to find the accurate position coordinates to mount IMES inside a building, therefore, survey work efficiency is very poor. This system has been developed so that anyone can conduct the survey work quickly and accurately. This system is equipped with a function that allows you to obtain three-dimensional coordinates as you click anywhere on the three—dimensionally created building graphics. The 3D graphics of the buildings are constructed by converting raster drawing data for buildings and underground shopping malls to vector data using three-dimensional CAD, GIS, and computer graphics technology. First, an IMES transmitter is installed at the scheduled position, and the position and the radio wave strength are adjusted through simulations using the radio field strength and diffusion wave simulation functions. Finally, the coverage of the required signal strength for the area is confirmed by looking at the graphics.

Once the position is determined on the graphics of this system, this means that a database for storing each IMES transmitter that is going to be mounted is created. This database can be store in IMES transmitters before the installation. By downloading this data to the ^IMES transmitter installation and management system , which was developed by GNSS Technologies Inc. , it is also possible to finely adjust the signal strength by communicating with each IMES transmitter wirelessly from a mobile PC at the installation location. There is the security lock system to prevent the final data from being changed. By going through these procedures, accurate latitude and longitude coordinates, plus floor data can be easily and automatically determined for each IMES transmitter. Preparation for installation can be highly simplified with these tools.

GNSS Technologies Inc. realized early on that setting up IMES transmitters was very difficult unless there was a management system in place. Therefore, we developed the systems like (A), (B), and (C), which I have just described. Coordinate calculations and surveying inside the buildings are especially hard even if you have some expertise. These systems are designed so that anyone can easily perform these hard tasks

  1. Requirements for operators who perform installation, management, and maintenance of IMES

The operators who perform the installation work of IMES transmitters should research and develop the handling and measurement methods about the extremely weak signal of -130dBm, which can easily disappear in the natural environment. GPS signals are super weak radio waves, which an instrument such as a typical spectrum analyser will not be able to detect. The operators must understand properly how to handle and adjust radio waves that they normally do not deal with. On top of that, they must obtain the skills which allow them to perform the task accurately and precisely by mastering how to determine the presence of interference between IMES and the interference avoidance techniques. They must also develop technological tools to carry out the tasks. Furthermore, the operators must develop a “position coordinates” surveying method and its management system. It is desirable to make the installation, management and maintenance standards internaliional. When the internationally accepted standards are completed, then they will literally become the universal social infrastructure of indoor positioning.

The operators need knowledge of how to handle the PRN codes and their nature. The quantities of PRN codes, which are assigned to IMES to avoid interference, are limited. The operators must avoid interference by arranging the assigned codes theoretically. Installing in a disorderly manner by ignoring the management and maintenance after installation, leads to a lack of uniformity, and it will not help IMES to become a reliable social infrastructure. Firm installation rules, and the methods and regulations that are readily accepted throughout the world must be established. Selling IMES transmitters irresponsibly and disorderly also leads to the destruction of the social infrastructure. Fundamentally, we believe that the unity on the whole must be ensured by a contract between parties with reliable status who hold technology and management systems. With these ideas, we are committed to promoting the IMES system.

  1. IMES is the world’s only GPS signal transmitter

As I mentioned earlier, it is very cheap and quick to add the IMES function to the GPS system on smartphones. However, you cannot find a transmitter that transmits a GPS signal anywhere in the world. Until now, when we talk about GPS, it has meant the GPS receivers that receive radio waves from the GPS satellites. Famous GPS manufacturers around the world, such as JAVAD, Novatel Wireless, u-blox Holding AG, Septentrio, Qualcomm Inc., Broadcom Corporation, and CSR, including Trimble Navigation Ltd. in the United States, where I used to work, are all developers and manufacturers of receivers. For about 20 years since the mid-1980s when GPS was introduced in Japan, neither company nor country had an idea to utilize the system that sends signals equivalent to GPS satellite signals for business. Although a product called pseudolites existed in some areas, there was no company in the world that pioneered a new product like IMES by further developing the pseudolites to LSI.

As far as we know, we are the only company in the world that has achieved the development of a product like IMES.

  1. The Origin of IMES Invention

In the early 1990s, when I was working to promote GPS, the biggest complaint against GPS made by many system development engineers was that since the GPS signals were interrupted by mountains and buildings, the system could not serve its original purpose. This was the reason for us to start new research and development for indoor positioning technology. First, I looked at pseudolites and began the research with the company’s engineers as an extra task apart from our main duties. After having gone through the development of several generations, we achieved the integration of IMES into LSI, so we could say that we developed the GPS signal generation and transmission system. The IMES transmitter size before being integrated into LSI was very large. The unit cost was also high since we needed to use several sheets of electronic substrate and expensive components. The promotion of IMES looked unrealistic. However, when we achieved the integration of IMES into LSI with the help of a grant from the NEDO business support program, we made a big step forward towards the feasibility of making the IMES social infrastructure into reality. Due to the achievement of the LSI integration, the transmitter cost has been reduced dramatically to the level at which they can easily and inexpensively be installed inside common buildings. We are committed to a further cost reduction by further improving the IMES system.

  1. IMES transmitter related products developed by GNSS Technologies Inc.

iMES Transmitter Products
The photo on the left below shows LSI developed by GNSS Technologies Inc. . The photograph in the middle shows the LSI mounted on an electronic substrate, which is the core part of the IMES transmitter. And the photograph on the right shows an example of the IMES transmitter in which the electronic substrate is incooporated.

To create the product lines of transmitters that transmit the IMES signals, the development shown in the above photographs has been completed, and we have started manufacturing these products. Now we have more or less succeeding the transmitter size, power consumption, and the price that were the biggest challenges, there is a reasonable prospect that the IMES system will spread rapidly.

  1. The current situation for private use

With the start of the function development for the first “MICHIBIKI”, a system development project has started moving forward. This project aims to develop a system to utilize the seamless indoor/outdoor positioning function by mounting the IMES signal reception function on GPS/GNSS receivers. In response to this, by the suggestion from companies like ours, approximately 130, mainly private enterprises gathered in June 2011 to share ideas, information, and recommendations on IMES, and established the IMES consortium within Japan Space Forum, where the IMES consortium office is situated. General examples where the IMES system is utilized are: A shopping guiding system in shopping malls. A search system for missing children in amusement parks. An information system for underground shopping malls, airports, railways, tunnels, etc. A system for safety and security in areas such as disaster prevention. A security system that monitors the incoming and outgoing movements of people or activities of people in a building. An evacuation guiding system in a fire or other emergencies, using the indoor surveillance cameras and guiding lights. A real-time logistics management system that checks the movement of goods inside and outside a factory.

  1. Use by the government and local governments

An application for medical and nursing care has the potential for IMES to become a service for the entire nation. The systems that are planned to be promoted nationwide are the following. A system for monitoring and recording the activities of caregivers, and determining feeds for their services. A system for monitoring the real-time activities of doctors at universities, university hospitals, and general hospitals across the country. A management system for emergency situations at hospitals. A system for monitoring the activities of patients inside and outside hospitals. Management systems for monitoring patient condition 24 hours a day. As IMES seamlessly tracks situations inside and outside buildings, this IMES function is going to be employed to support the construction of comprehensive medical management systems. Hospitals, universities, and local governments across the country are all committed to building an efficient, fair, and fast system. Efforts to achieve medical services that can respond to Japan’s aging society are continuously being made. The Community Health Informatics Research and Development Organization was established in 2010 and GNSS Technologies Inc. participates in this organization as a director and have been cooperating with the organization on these plans.

[Conceptual diagram of the comprehensive medical management system]

iMES Nation-wide Health-care Network

For another example, The Geospatial Information Authority of Japan is considering assigning indoor location information codes, called “Location Information Code”, inside buildings. The possibility of synchronizing this coding system with IMES transmitters is being considered at the same time. If this joint system is implemented, these reference points can be used as IDs for the buildings.

  1. The world’s reaction to IMES

Last year, when the CTIA show (One of the biggest mobile phone related shows in the United States.) was held in New Orleans, GNSS Technologies Inc. took part in this show with an IMES exhibition booth. Prior to this show, the VIPs of the worlds major players, such as Qualcomm, Verizon, AT & T, skyhook, Broadcom, Nokia, Cisco, and the U.S. government agencies gathered and held a private meeting. GNSS Technologies Inc. was also invited to that meeting and we made a technical presentation. In that meeting, it was recognized that ‘”this year will be the first year for the development ot indoor positioning technology for new smartphones. Assisted GPS, the Wi-Fi, and the IMES positioning systems were the main themes of this topic. There were quite a few people who heard the details of the IMES system for the first time. Our presentation created a huge response, impressing a wide audience, and they gathered around us after the presentation. There were proposals from large companies for business negotiations. At the beginning of March, last year, a similar situation was also observed at the world’s largest mobile phone-related exhibition organized by GSM Association in Barcelona, Spain. From these experiences, I feel that a huge interest is being directed to the indoor positioning system at present. I have also felt very strongly that people are not fully satisfied with the current positioning systems such as Assisted GPS and Wi-Fi. • Under such circumstances, GNSS Technologies Inc. has been attracting a lot of strong interest internationally, especially with regards to IMES.

GNSS Technologies Inc. applied for the IMES related patents to countries around world, and they have been established and officially registered in dozens of countries, including Japan, the EU, and the U.S. as well as Asian and African nations. We are intending to build a collaborative and cooperative relationship with companies and businesses that work on the construction of a seamless positioning system environment, or companies and businesses that provide that service.

  1. A viewpoint on the creation of new business

The IMES receiver developers can install receivers without incurring too much cost. However, transmitters are a kind of social infrastructure; therefore, installation is difficult, unless there are some purposes or benefits for the cost bearers. The same situation also applies to building owners and the seamless indoor and outdoor positioning service providers. In all cases, however, once installed, the transmitters will become commonly and freely available for everyone. Then, the question is who and for what purposes. Finding a user market will lead to a global business. The IMES system can be used to make buildings smart or for building security. It can also be used for advertising at shopping malls, safety and security for underground parking, applications for communication and positioning inside tunnels, guiding people, goods, and equipment through the inside and outside of factories, nuclear power plants, etc., applications to send shop information to smartphones by integrating with 1seg, applications for a guiding service system for outside destinations by linking underground shopping mall maps and smartphones, the 3D, indoor version of common guiding services, and integration with Indoor Maps, which was developed in Japan and the U.S. by Google. There are countless possibilities for IMES applications.

The biggest platforms to use the established IMES are mobile communication devices such as smartphones. There are as many smartphones in the world as there are people. 6.7 billion people use smartphones worldwide while working and moving. So the smartphones themselves are the mega market. For a way to provide information at the time of emergency an agreement was made globally so that, first, all smartphones will be equipped with GPS. Within 10 years from now, close to 130 satellites dedicated to the exclusive use for positioning will be launched worldwide. There is no doubt that the accuracy, reliability, and convenience for the outdoor satellite positioning technology will dramatically increase compared to now. But it is obvious that the increased number of satellites will not provide the same reliability to the indoor positioning technology. As the outdoor positioning functions are enriched more and more, the necessity for the useful indoor positioning technology increases. For example, if this point is overcome by IMES, after that, on the stage of the smartphone fed service market, no matter where you are, all business owners, venture companies, and individuals around the world can create systems and services that fundamentally change the world. Or, suddenly one day, someone with the ability and intelligence from somewhere in the world can do the same thing without belonging to a major corporation.

The significance of this emergence of the unprecedented huge business platform is that the world is now capable of creating demands 24 hours a day on the single worldwide network through real-time communications, with or without movements of people. From now on, without doubt, many business ideas will be developed around the world targeting this mega market From those, the world can expect that there will be many cases where enormous wealth will be made overnight. Japan has been facing a fierce competition in terms of manufacturing. I believe that the wise choice for Japan is to promote industries that focus on this area. Anyone in the world can participate on this platform. This indicates that everyone is standing on the same starting line. Therefore, the situation right now is that business ideas that pay more attention to the world and capture consumers around the world can easily be produced in Japan. Now is the time; Japan should endeavour with its intelligence to create new businesses using this enormous platform by targeting the world market.

IMES Introduction Document Library

Title Publish Author Source Click to see more
IMES Introduction (Presentation) 2011.09 Dinesh Manandhar, Hideyuki Torimoto, GNSS Technologies Inc., Japan ION 2011 in PortLand download
Opening Up Indoors, Japan’s Indoor Messaging System: IMES 2011.05 Dinesh Manandhar, Hideyuki Torimoto, GNSS Technologies Inc., Japan GPS World May, 2011 Issue download
Development of global scale application services. IMES: The invention originates from Japan (PDF version of this page) 2013.01 Hideyuki Torimoto, GNSS Technologies Inc., Japan GNSS Technologies, Inc. Resource Library download


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