Disrupted Retail – how Apple might be looking to disrupt merchandising

Apple gives a clue on how it will change the retailing rules (again)

iDisrupted Commentary

Remember how iBeacons were going to change retailing by mapping out the internal floorplan of retail operations so users could be spammed (sorry, sent) merchandising promotions? And how Google and everyone else got into the market early with its open source version called Eddystone?

Well it looks like Apple may have a plan to disrupt iBeacons even before they have themselves disrupted retailing – here’s the story from Gizmodo: Apple has quietly released a new iOS app that allows users to map out the interior spaces of a building using just an iPhone.

While the apps doesn’t show up in search within the App Store, you can grab it using this direct link, first spotted by developer Steve Troughton-Smith.

Update: The app requires a special, registered account in order to be used. It’s unclear who will be able to obtain such a thing.

Apple gives a clue on how it will change the retailing rules (again)
Apple gives a clue on how it will change the retailing rules (again)

The app’s description reads:

“By dropping ‘points’ on a map within the Survey App, you indicate your position within the venue as you walk through. As you do so, the indoor Survey App measures the radio frequency (RF) signal data and combines it with an iPhone’s sensor data. The end result is indoor positioning without the need to install special hardware.”

Apple bought the start-up wifiSLAM two years ago, and with it the company’s ability to analyze and track RF signals from Wi-Fi access points to maps and determine a user’s location. It seems like at least some of that expertise has crept into Indoor Survey.

Apple’s been experimenting with a series of indoor positioning technologies over the past few years, testing its iBeacons in retail stores and inviting retailers to to submit indoor maps of large, successful stores for use in Apple Maps. Using Indoor Survey to crowdsource indoor maps may finally make them a more common addition to the world of digital navigation.