What are Indoor Location Services? Updated for 2023

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Indoor location services allow for the tracking of people and objects within a set space through the combination of hardware and software technologies. This is often done to understand the movement of people and reduce the loss of revenue from lost or stolen assets.

The Indoor Location Services market as defined by Gartner – “… vendors that supply hardware and software components to provide an indoor location to a breadth of organizations that include enterprises as well as the owners of public venues.”

Popular examples of indoor location services

Asset tracking

How does it work? RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags are the most common method for tracking assets as they are low-cost and highly effective pieces of equipment. RFID tags are loaded with relevant information about the asset they’re stuck to and continually pulse radio waves to a reader that stores location data. Asset tracking technologies can also be wearable allowing for the location identification of staff as they move from one location to another.

Use case Asset tracking enables large venues and companies to properly track and account for valuable pieces of technology, this is often to prevent theft, misplacement, and loss in revenue. The cost of not tracking assets is constantly increasing, for example, the total healthcare expenditure cost in the UK in 2020 was £257.5 billion which jumped to £276.6 billion in 2021

Asset tracking capabilities allow hospitals and other healthcare facilities to understand the locations of key medical resources such as staff, expensive and sensitive medicines, and shared or static devices for central management and cost control.


How does it work? – Digital wayfinding works through a combination of existing hardware infrastructure such as WiFi access points, BLE (Bluetooth low-energy) beacons, and geomagnetic positioning via end-users’ mobile devices.

Use case – Digital Wayfinding solutions serve as a means to primarily boost visitor experiences for both patients and visitors, as well as staff. Variations of Wayfinding solutions provide a range of options to meet the existing level of technology experience or accessibility held by visitors. Hosting digital wayfinding solutions venues can help visitors overcome the anxiety of getting lost or missing appointments, which means a better experience is provided for visitors and fewer staff interruptions occur.


How does it work? – WiFi infrastructure within venues uses access points to distribute network bandwidth for all users while retaining high levels of connectivity as people move around. WiFi networks can be connected to captive portals to allow for a greater understanding of the people moving within a venue.

Use case – Identify problem areas and bottlenecks as people move. Venues can spot points of interest and high traffic volumes through heat mapping location reports. Additionally combined with visitor information such as first-hand data, businesses can understand visitor interactions not just in one location but across an entire estate.

People counters

How does it work? – People counting/occupancy management 2D cameras which provide an accuracy of 85%, 3D cameras which provide 98% accuracy, and WiFi which uses mobile pings to track movement which has an accuracy of 75%. In order for venues to understand and act on data, these technologies are connected with computer vision software.

Use case – The need for counting visitor footfall became increasingly popular following the Covid-19 pandemic as venues looked to increase safety for their staff and visitors. Understanding how many people are within a space allows venues to assess risk and reduce the number of people who can enter. Furthermore, the data collected allows venues to understand and optimize space utilization.

Purple’s role within the Indoor Location Services market

As of February 2022, Purple has been announced as a Niche Player within Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Indoor Location Services, which we believe demonstrates the company’s reputation as a recognized vendor for indoor location solutions.

Purple’s evolving market offerings are providing businesses with solutions for complex use cases in an ever-changing world. Take a look at where Purple is placed in the market according to Gartner and why it was recognized for this Magic Quadrant report:

What verticals can Indoor Location Services apply to?

Hospitals & other healthcare facilities

For hospitals and additional healthcare facilities, both Asset tracking and WiFi services apply. There are two major pain points for this vertical:

1) Easily monitoring assets to save time, prevent misplacement or theft

2) Reducing costs and improving the overall experience by getting patients to appointments on time

The healthcare vertical each year is incredibly financially affected by the loss or misplacement of assets, and the cost and repercussions of replacement continue to rise each year. An additional cost incurred is the time spent trying to locate people and valuable assets, and with the average hospital hosting 30,000+ assets it is a lot of time lost. Loss of cash and time can be reduced with the use of asset tracking.

Another large financial loss each year is missed and late appointments, one main factor for this is patients getting lost or choosing not to attend due to the anxiety of getting lost. Wayfinding solutions provide patients and visitors with the means to navigate their way from their homes, to appointments and back.

U.S. Healthcare statistics show that:

UK Healthcare statistics show that:

Through the addition of wayfinding solutions, healthcare venues boost patient experiences by getting them to appointments on time. Furthermore, healthcare staff experiences are improved with a reduction in interruptions allowing them to focus on the task at hand.

Retail venues

For retail venues such as a franchise, big box, or megastore business, the WiFi indoor location service is best applicable for this vertical as it enables businesses to understand how their customers behave when they visit and how that information can be applied to optimize store layouts for future visits. Additionally, WiFi offerings allow retailers to unlock a new direct marketing channel through the collection of first-hand data.

Surprising retail venue statistics:

  • By 2023, physical stores will make up to 82% of all retail sales
  • 83% of consumers are willing to share their data with retailers to create a more personalized experience
  • Consumers are willing to pay a 16% premium for a great customer experience
  • 42% of US consumers make a purchase that results in rewards/benefits at least several times a week
  • Companies using advanced personalization report $20 for every $1 spent

Airports & Railway stations

Transport hubs see huge fluctuations of visitors every day and for in-frequent visitors, there are two main pain points:

1) Arriving at the right gate or platform on time

2) Getting a quality network experience throughout the hub

For the transport vertical both Wayfinding and WiFi solutions are applicable as indoor location solutions. Wayfinding solutions within transport venues enable visitors to navigate from their entrance point directly to the correct gate or platform to remove the chances of getting lost. By providing travelers with directions it increases the chance they’ll arrive on time. Wayfinding solutions remove travelers’ anxiety about getting lost and missing their flight or train. Furthermore, because travelers get lost on the way to their gate or platform, businesses incur delays and increased distress from other passengers.

Transport wayfinding statistics:

  • It costs airlines $74.24 per minute for delayed flights
  • 77% of global airports want to trial interactive navigation solutions
  • 54% of passengers believe a turn-by-turn navigation solution will improve efficiency and customer experiences
  • 51% of passengers have said that they would spend more time and money in shops & restaurants if they received boarding alerts and consistent flight status notifications

WiFi solutions within transport hubs can go hand-in-hand with wayfinding as a way to provide businesses with top-level insights such as passenger movements, and peak time trends. Additionally, when paired with captive portal data, transport hubs can see the number of new vs repeat visitors and push promotions to generate additional revenue, drive app downloads, or increase sign-ups to loyalty schemes.

Office spaces

Whether it be a privately rented, owned, or shared office space, keeping staff and visitors safe has become the top priority in getting employees back to work. People counting and WiFi solutions can be mostly applied here to deliver landlords and business owners trustworthy insights into staff flow and safety.

Additionally, the insights provided enable workers to quickly locate free spaces and meeting rooms. But why is that important?

Research has shown:

  • 50% of assigned offices are underutilized
  • 40% of scheduled meetings don’t happen
  • 30 minutes per week, per employee, are wasted trying to locate available meeting rooms

People counting and WiFi location solutions are the pinnacle in overcoming these statistics, optimizing office spaces, and making staff feel safer in their work environment.

Manufacturers, Warehouses, & Industrial locations

The manufacturing, production, and industrial industries all work with highly valuable assets which require constant attention, maintenance, and inspection. Because of this Asset tracking is a highly sought-after solution. Being able to view all assets across venues means businesses have the ability to view availability as well as manage the cost and maintenance of their assets over time.

Tracking statistics about Manufacturing, Warehouse & Industrial processes

  • Estimated that $2.5 billion is lost every year…in the trucking industry. One of the leading factors behind this loss is a lack of visibility into the supply chain.
  • US businesses spend more than $170 billion dollars annually on work-related injuries. By providing employees with wearable tracking tech, businesses will be able to locate someone quickly if they’re hurt.
  • Theft in the workplace can amount to as much as $50 billion per year in the U.S. alone
  • A business insider report reveals that an estimated $1.9 trillion of economic value could be created by the use of IoT devices and asset-tracking solutions in the global supply chain and logistics sector.

The gap between losses and potential added value is making large differences in the way businesses in these verticals operate, with asset tracking making a clear impact on the revenue it’s no surprise the global asset tracking market is estimated to reach $36.3B by 2025 with a CAGR of 15%.

  • The essential requirements for indoor location service providers 

To be a contender within the indoor location services market there are certain use cases that an organization’s solutions must be able to meet. In this section, we’ll cover each of these use cases, how they’re defined and to which verticals they apply most appropriately.

What can be achieved using Indoor Location Services?

Collecting data

Client expectations and changes in market demands mean businesses that are competing in the indoor location services market must meet the following:

  • their solutions support one or more of the above technologies
  • their solutions provide data on static or mobile assets including people
  • their solutions should deliver against claimed use cases

Granularity for the indoor location of assets

All service providers in the indoor locations services market must provide a level of data granularity that allows for the location of static and mobile assets to be located within one meter (3ft). In order for services to provide clients with the added value they’re looking for, the ability to provide these specific insights is necessary.

Distance between two assets

Focussing on interactions this section has evolved past the need for tracking social distancing. Having the ability to view interactions and possible interactions between static and mobile assets using location data is the new standard.

Having this ability means clients can ensure safety for all individuals within a set space by implementing collision avoidance strategies. There are a number of possible use cases for this however the most straightforward the majority of industries have had to endure is social distancing.

Management and security

This section focuses on the indoor location services applications and ensuring the correct security requirements are being adhered to.

Management: Indoor location services applications such as guest wifi, digital wayfinding, and asset tracking must provide clients with the ability to configure and manage certain components. These components can include hardware battery life, as well as overviews for current and set positions of hardware.

Security: The security piece for ILS providers points toward the way in which the solution interacts with client venues. For example network authentication policies such as remote network access, and the times networks are available for access (this would differ between industries). Additionally, indoor location components like anchors, concentrators, or gateways must also adhere to these policies.

Scalability of deployment

A key component to attracting decision-makers and investment into solutions like indoor location services is having the ability to scale. As major businesses looking to expand the amount of space they have available and operate within, indoor location services must be able to grow apace with the expansion.


As the marketplace has evolved, the need for solutions to be versatile is something that indoor location service providers must add to their skill set. Having to overcome and provide solutions for new and complex use cases (such as people counting and social distancing during the pandemic) will be pivotal to the survival of any contenders in the ILS market.

If you want to know more about how Purple meets the requirements of this demanding market, access your complimentary Gartner report above or get in touch with us!

Gartner Disclaimer

Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Indoor Location Services; Tim Zimmerman, Annette Zimmermann, February 23rd 2022.

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