Meridian's indoor GPS technology has been the sole preserve of companies prepared to build their apps from inside Meridian's custom editor. Now, however, it's opened up the platform, introducing a pair of SDKs that let use anyone use its coveted Nav Kit and Blue Dot know-how to help people get around cavernous public spaces. Tested in locations like Miami Children's Hospital, Sydney Airport and Macy's, users will be able to get turn-by-turn directions to help them find their gate, offspring or this season's must-have look -- with the latter the first to launch a mobile app built with the technology.
Macy's First to Launch Indoor GPS for iPhone with Meridian SDK
Startup Solves Indoor Positioning and Navigation for both iOS and Android
PORTLAND, Ore. – Under Embargo Until 8:00 a.m. Eastern Nov. 8, 2012 – In July 2010, the American Museum of Natural History was the first venue in the world to launch an iPhone app with an "indoor GPS" experience. Meridian, the mobile-software company behind the coveted "glowing blue dot" on the indoor map, today announced they're offering this same indoor-navigation technology to other app developers.
Previously, the indoor-positioning experience provided by Meridian has been available only to customers building apps from the ground up with Meridian's proprietary content management system, the Meridian Editor. Staring today, third-party developers can use Meridian's newly available software development kits (SDKs) to implement Meridian's turn-by-turn directions tools and patent-pending capabilities to achieve an indoor-GPS-like experience into new or currently available apps.
The two SDKs available today, called NavKit and BluDotKit, have been privately beta-tested and shaped by customers in three of the most demanding industries: hospitals (Miami Children's Hospital), airports (Sydney Airport) and retail (Macy's flagship store, Herald Square). These three large enterprises, which each had existing apps in need of turn-by-turn directions and an "indoor GPS" experience, will be updating their apps with Meridian's SDKs in the coming weeks.
"Miami Children's Hospital was ahead of the curve in the healthcare industry by launching an iPhone app early on," said Jason Shavelson, manager of web and software development at Miami Children's Hospital. "Now, we are staying ahead of the industry by being the first hospital to select Meridian to add both indoor turn-by-turn directions and the 'blue dot' to an iPhone app."
NavKit SDK Overview
Location-based businesses that simply want to add Meridian's turn-by-turn directions – found in apps for a large variety of locations from the Venetian in Las Vegas to the Metropolitan Transit Authority Arts in New York City – to their existing apps can license Meridian's NavKit SDK. NavKit is intended for locations who not only want turn-by-turn directions for their apps, but also a content management system such as Meridian's for making frequent changes to the mapping, routing and associated branding. NavKit relies on the regular Internet connectivity (cellular or wifi) of a smart phone to stay up to date and does not require any additional hardware installation.
BluDotKit SDK Overview
Meridian's BluDotKit SDK allows app developers to provide the glowing "blue dot" on the map experience in mobile apps for indoor locations. It does this through a patent-pending approach to utilizing location information provided by a venue's wifi hardware. BluDotKit can be used together with NavKit in order to have both the "blue dot" and turn-by-turn directions, or alone in smaller venues where turn-by-turn directions are not necessary. Because apps using the BluDotKit achieve accurate indoor positioning, enterprises can allow their visitors to opt in to location-based offers and contextual information.
The Meridian Difference
While there are many vendors offering indoor-positioning experiences for Android, mobile-development experts know this has not yet been widely available for iOS. Meridian's patent-pending and proven solution is the first ever to provide an "indoor GPS" experience for both iOS and Android.
And, unlike typical map apps, Meridian offers all customers a content management system that puts control back in the hands of the location-based businesses. These retailers, hospitals, airports and other locations (ranging from simple to complex) want to make frequent changes to their apps' mapping, turn-by-turn directions and the associated branding. As layouts of buildings change, location-based businesses know that having the ability to quickly and easily modify a location-based app is crucial.
Meridian's Developer Ecosystem
Meridian has an ecosystem of mobile-app developers with the technical abilities to deploy the developer tools for interested customers. Those locations that want the power of the SDKs for indoor navigation, yet do not have developers (e.g., Objective-C and Java) on staff to deploy them, can contact Meridian for recommendations on developer partners eager to assist with app development.
Greg Raiz is the CEO of Raizlabs, a development partner who has integrated Meridian's SDK into apps. "Our company, Raizlabs, has worked on a number of location based projects but this is the first time we're able to track location indoors in real-time," said Raiz. "We were excited to be the first integrator of the Meridian NavKit and BluDotKit SDK's that gave us this capability. As more retailers realize the benefits of indoor location I see this trend continuing. Meridian has been a great partner and we look forward to re-shaping the way we navigate together."
According to Dr. Bruce Krulwich, research analyst for Grizzly Analytics, "Indoor location technology has been slow in coming to market, despite dozens of companies working on it, because of technical limitations that prevent it from running on iPhones. Meridian's network-centric approach is the first to run as well on iPhone as on Android. It gives site managers more information about which areas of the site their customers are interested in. This information is invaluable as sites try harder to understand their customers and how to serve them better."
Availability and Pricing
Developers can sign up for the public beta of the BluDotKit and NavKit SDKs here: TBD. Developers currently working on apps on behalf of locations will be given priority access in an effort to assist those under deadlines.
The BluDotKit and NavKit SDKs are included free of charge with a paid license to Meridian's content management system. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Screenshots of the turn-by-turn directions and "blue dot" that can be created with the NavKit and BluDotKit SDKs can be found at: http://cl.ly/3F29121w333g