How Smartphones are Shaping the Future of Indoor Positioning

Smartphones have completely changed our lives. They’re the last thing we see before we fall asleep, and the first thing we see when we wake up every morning. During the day, our devices bombard us with constant notifications from at least three email accounts, not to mention Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Snapchat. Smartphones have become an everyday essential, some might even say borderline addiction, in today’s society. In the U.S alone at least 3 out of 4 people now own a smartphone. And one study suggests that people touch their mobile devices more than 2,600 times a day on average. But what do all those scrolls, swipes, and buzzes actually mean? Should we really be worried about our smartphone usage? After all, Socrates once warned us that writing would “introduce forgetfulness” and make people “difficult to get along with.” Attract and distract Our smartphones capture our attention even when we aren’t using them. Just the presence of a smartphone can reduce the quality of conversations, according to a study done by  Adrian Ward, an expert in technology and cognition at the University of Texas at Austin, and the author of a study called “Is your smartphone ruining your relationship?” “The effect is biggest for people who rely on their phones the most,” said Ward. “The more you give it control over different things, social interactions, news, work, learning - the more you are going to be attracted to this device”. Simply trying to resist that automatic attraction, Ward explained, takes up cognitive resources. Even basic human decency can be compromised by smartphones. People can become so caught up in their devices that it can inhibit them from offering help to strangers on the street, reduce how much we smile at unfamiliar faces, and even make us less trusting of strangers, neighbors, and people of other religions or nationalities. Balance Finding balance with smartphone use is crucial. None of this is to say that these devices don’t have great practical and entertainment value. It’s harder now to get lost, but easier to find a date, and stay connected with long distance friends. And in some ways, a greater diversity of people is at our fingertips. Apps like Bumble and Tinder allow people to easily connect with others outside their typical social networks. Occasional laughs from watching funny fail videos aren’t necessarily bad for us either. Adam Gazzaley, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco says, “the crux of the problem is figuring out how to get all these amazing benefits of this globally interconnected world without abandoning the things that make us most human.”  For Gazzaley, this means taking back control over how we use the technology. For example, turning off instant push notifications, not sleeping with the phone next to you, and switching the screen to grayscale to make it less attractive. One pretty amazing benefit is that it’s now harder than ever to get lost outdoors because we always have access to GPS systems on our smartphone. Smartphones are shaping the future of navigation, and this is especially true for indoor navigation. Smartphone indoor positioning platforms are able to benefit both users and facility owners; users obviously having access to indoor GPS systems live and direct from their smartphone, and facility owners having the ability to market directly to the users and guide them to their stores. So, while we may hear about how we use our smartphones way too much and that these devices will ruin our lives, in reality, when use is properly balanced, these devices actually improve the quality of our lives. Smartphones are providing us with features that we couldn’t have imagined, like global connectivity, indoor navigation, and augmented reality. Smartphones are now allowing companies to maximize their revenue, and keep users informed with the latest information, and they’ve even changed the way we navigate indoors.

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