Location-based applications have already become a huge part of smartphone users’ lives, but are currently only about as accurate as the distance you can throw your iPhone. Thanks to a Finnish startup, location-based services are soon going to see a big update in accuracy.
Today, Walkbase announced the public beta of their indoor positioning platform for mobile applications. The service’s cloud based room-level positioning API will now be available for developers to use, ushering in a new era of location based applications and advertising for the Android platform.
In August we talked with CEO Tuomas Wuoti about the future of the company, as well as how Walkbase plans to make money. Anounced as part of their public beta program, Walkbase will charge for API calls exceeding 50,000 per month with no setup fees. This free grace area will hopefully spark the creativity in new developers and change how we think of location-based applications.
The service is able to determine a user’s location inside a building by using random check-in data combined with intelligent self-learning algorithms. New data is essentially crowdsourced as users move around. From this information, Walkbase can define indoor spaces and send this information back to the smartphone, which can be more accurate than GPS.
Possible uses for this API include location-based gaming, check-in services, hyper-targeted marketing, and location-based social platforms. With this tool, it is quite possible to envision smartphone users receiving advertisements or coupons as they enter and walk around a store.
With Foursquare, Shadow Cities, and Gowalla already reshaping how we use smartphones in the world around us, it’s exciting to see new technology updates behind location-based apps.
Walkbase is located between Mountain View and Turku, and recently received $500,000 in seed funding. Details on the API can be found at Walkbase.com