JAXA’s IMES tracks you at malls, provides visitor activity data
Japanese aerospace agency JAXA gives the green signal for the implementation of their IMES smart tracking technology to commercial and business establishments.
Wide use of GPS in mobile devices today made tracking systems relatively common. However, pinpoint and precise tracking of a very specific spot (inside a building for example) is still not as universal. JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) developed a new in-building positioning technology that would solve this problem, and it is now currently being rolled out on commercial and business establishments.
Indoor messaging system or IMES technology is a notification and tracking system designed by JAXA that combines infrared, Bluetooth and GPS tracking systems to actively observe and pinpoint the changing locations of people in a certain area. It was first proposed since 2007, and has since been continuously developed even today. The implementation of the system makes it very different from a standard tracker-transmitter system, because the baseline application of the technology allows users to identify the exact location of a person at any given point in time. It is frequently dubbed as the "indoor GPS", and for Star Trek fans, you might be able to compare this to how a starship's computer is able to find specific people in their present locations.
One of the very first establishments that were installed with the IMES was a building around Futako-Tamagawa station area in Tokyo. Each floor was installed with several IMES units, all of which are ready to send and receive human activity data for each mobile device registered in the system. Tokyu Corporation, the management firm for Tokyo's railways, is planning to use the positional data gathering technology of the IMES to make the city "brighter and more attractive".
The IMES isn’t just limited to active tracking, as the system could also use the information for other purposes like trying to find out if a certain district or part of the establishment would be more crowded than others. It integrates the tracking information with all other position-based information to create a smart information delivery network.
Aside from commercial establishments, there are also proposals that suggest using the IMES in an office setting. Japanese IT company Indigo for example, is currently offering their IMES-based Indoor Map MashUp Manager tool to business owners, to help actively track down the movements of each person inside their business establishment.
Source: Tech-On (JP)