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U.S. Malls, Hospitals Use Senion's Beacon-based Solution

A California hospital and a mall have installed the Swedish company's StepInside technology to track and analyze traffic patterns at their facilities; the software also enables them to share location-based content with app users.
By Claire Swedberg
Jul 06, 2016

A mall and a hospital in the United States have each installed a beacon-based solution provided by Senion to provide location-based services to shoppers, visitors or patients via a smartphone app, and to track traffic patterns and those individuals' behavior. The Swedish firm began offering a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon version of its StepInside system approximately two years ago, and has since seen its technology installed at a half-dozen companies around the world, primarily in malls, though non-disclosure agreements prevent it from naming those customers.

The company says it is now in discussions with about 10 U.S. health-care providers, as well as several large mall chains around the world. Its goal is to install its technology at those locations during the coming year.

Senion's StepInside system
Senion, launched in 2010 by several Ph.D. candidates from Linköping University, initially offered a Wi-Fi-based version of the StepInside system for the retail market. The company specializes in combining data from smartphones' built-in sensors (altimeters, accelerometers, magnetometers and gyroscopes) with beacons to provide location identification, in order to help identify where a smartphone—and thus its owner—is located within a complex environment, such as a crowded shopping mall.

The company's name is derived from two words, sensor and fusion. That, according to Marcus Andersson, Senion's VP of marketing and sales, illustrates that the system fuses data from sensors already installed in phones with information from the beacon transmissions to create what it calls a smooth "blue dot," which can show the position of an individual moving through the area on a map of a facility, similarly to GPS. This feature provides wayfinding for individuals in malls, passengers in an airport, or doctors and medical personnel seeking colleagues at a health-care facility.

The StepInside software, Andersson says, is designed not only to identify a phone's location (based on responses to a beacon transmission), but also to predict where that person is going, the floor on which he or she is located, and how quickly he or she is moving. Typically, he explains, Senion sells its solution to systems integrators and resellers so that those companies can develop a solution for a mall or other end user employing their own apps.

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