Industry Insights

Tracking Things & People With Indoor Positioning Systems

Business Explanation, Key Questions, and Example IoT Use Cases for Automotive Vehicle Maintenance and Pet Grooming

Calum McClelland

In my article What is Indoor Positioning?, we looked at Indoor Positioning Systems (IPS) from a business perspective and identified the following four fundamental applications of indoor positioning:

  1. Finding: The ability to know where a given thing/person is in real-time, so you can go find it/them
  2. Tracking: The ability to gain insight into how things/people move through a process, so you can identify bottlenecks and/or improve customer service
  3. Preventing: The ability to trigger alerts when things enter/leave certain areas, so you can prevent loss and theft
  4. Measuring: The ability to gain insight into how things/spaces are being used, so you can ensure compliance with laws and/or optimize how those things/spaces are use

In this article, we’ll be taking a deeper dive into tracking things and people, with a business explanation, key questions you should ask, and example IoT use cases that include tracking vehicle maintenance in automotive facilities and pet grooming in pet care facilities.

This series is focused on the business perspective for indoor positioning systems. If you’re interested in the different technical approaches and how they work for indoor positioning, check out this excellent Indoor Positioning eBook.

Business Explanation: Tracking With Indoor Positioning Systems

If Finding is about real-time location (i.e. where is X right now?), then Tracking is about location over time (i.e. where has X been and for how long?).

All businesses have internal processes that they perform to keep their business running. Whether that process is for vehicles being maintenanced or for pets being groomed, smoothly and efficiently moving things through the process is critical to business success. 

To help them identify bottlenecks in their processes and become more efficient, some businesses rely on guesswork, some on manual data entry, and others on large consulting projects. All these approaches are costly and imprecise. It doesn’t have to be this way!

Indoor positioning systems can enable your business to automatically get crucial insights into your processes and workflows to identify bottlenecks and become more efficient. You’ll also be able to provide better customer service (just think of the Domino’s pizza tracker concept applied to your business).

Key Questions: Tracking With Indoor Positioning Systems

To help determine the right technological approach for your specific needs, ask yourself the following questions:


  • Are the different stages of the process tied to distinct indoor areas? If not, it’ll be difficult to automatically track a thing/person through a process with an IPS.
  • Are the distinct indoor areas (that represent the different stages of the process) defined by walls? The alternative would be a larger space like a warehouse that has several smaller spaces within it. Walls provide a natural barrier to signals that can mean less infrastructure to remain accurate.
  • Are there limited entrances/exits to the indoor areas? Also, how large are the entrances/exits? Fewer and smaller entrances/exits can enable approaches that just track entry/exit through these points, which can be simpler and less expensive.
  • Do you want to surface tracking information to customers? By surfacing tracking information directly to customers, you can make them happier and reduce customer service calls. However, not all processes make sense for this use case.

Example IoT Use Cases: Tracking With Indoor Positioning Systems

#1 Tracking Vehicle Maintenance in an Automotive Facility

In an automotive facility, vehicles move through multiple maintenance steps as customers wait. If maintenance is going to take more than an hour, many customers may get lunch or go elsewhere while they wait. Customers need to know when their vehicle will be ready, but right now employees have to use guesswork and answer calls manually to let customers know.

For tracking vehicle maintenance, different stages of the process are tied to distinct indoor areas but these areas are unlikely to be defined by walls and this makes the question of entrances/exits irrelevant.

Once data is automatically collected about the process of vehicle maintenance, machine learning can be used to predict wait times, information can be surfaced directly to customers, and bottlenecks can be identified to increase efficiency.

#2 Tracking Pet Grooming in Pet Care Facility

In a pet care facility, pets move between multiple areas such as the kennels, grooming area, and play area. Customers care deeply about their pets and want to make sure they’re getting proper treatment. However, the chaos of handling many pets can make it difficult to run the process smoothly. Paper logs kept by employees currently act as a subpar solution to the problem of tracking.

For pet grooming, different stages of the process are tied to distinct indoor locations which are defined by walls. Entrances/exits are standard doors, so an indoor positioning approach that tracks ingress/egress should be perfect.

Once data is automatically collected about the process of pet grooming, machine learning can be used to predict wait times, information can be surfaced directly to customers, and bottlenecks can be identified to increase efficiency

Check Out the Other Indoor Positioning Applications

We just covered one of the four applications for indoor positioning systems in this article, check out the others for business explanations, key questions you should ask, and example IoT use cases for each:

  1. Finding Things & People with Indoor Positioning Systems
  2. Tracking Things & People with Indoor Positioning Systems
  3. Preventing Loss & Theft with Indoor Positioning Systems
  4. Measuring Occupancy with Indoor Positioning Systems

Calum McClelland

VP, Operations & Projects

Calum is VP Operations & Projects at Leverege and graduated from Brown University in May 2016 with a major in Philosphy. Striving to change himself and the world for the better, Calum values active living, life-long learning, and keeping an open mind.

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