Sep 12, 2019 in Viewpoint

Positioning or localization in the smart office?

In the previous viewpoint about localization technology, we’ve discussed the role of localization in the smart office. However, when we talk about localization, the concept often gets confused with positioning. We asked one of our developers for some clarity. Let’s discuss the differences!

First of all, think about the question an employee could ask. When they wonder where their teammate is they ask where they are. They want to know their location, not their position.

Remco de Vos
by Remco de Vos
Smart office positioning
If you would use positioning in the office, a colleague could be at (20.534,12.235). But yeah…where is that?

Positioning: colleague A is at (20.535,12.235)

Each point on Earth is uniquely defined by two numeric values: the latitude and longitude. This means that with positioning, you can determine the position of a place, person or object. This position is defined by coordinates within a specific coordinate reference system. It may sound a little abstract, but we use coordinates quite a lot in our daily lives without even knowing it. An example of using coordinates is GPS. When you’re in the car, your GPS guides you from point A to B, by using the GPS satellites to determine your position on Earth. You could also say, that if you would use positioning in the office, a colleague could be at (20.534,12.235). But yeah…where is that?

Localization: colleague A is at meeting room B

The real valuable information for a smart office comes from localization. Let’s say your colleague is waiting for you somewhere and wants to let you know where he is, so you can meet up. There are several ways you can find each other. You can share the address, the zip code or you can describe where you are and what you are seeing. But if you find each other depends on whether you have been to that place before, if you’ve taken a sneak peek into Google maps or got the perfect description. However, the difference with positioning is that all these descriptions don’t describe a specific point, they describe an area or place in an easily understandable way. The colleague can also be standing five meters further away, which means that he has a different position, but he could describe his location similarly. So, we can say that in the office, localization could mean that a colleague is at meeting room B. That makes way more sense, right?

Smart office localization
The left side shows where you can find colleague A using localization. The right side shows where you can find colleague A using positioning

Finding colleagues

But what does this mean in the office? Well, you need positioning to locate employees in the office. However, due to technical and human factors, the position of someone might not be that easy to find. People don’t have a built-in GPS – although sometimes we wish we had. We can’t find each other based on a certain number. However, the location of an employee is way more valuable. And that’s were Mapiq comes into play. Our app shows you where in the office your colleague is at, and not with a series of numbers, but with a clear location. In our next localization viewpoint, we will explain more about how we use positions and locations, and make it work.

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