Business

Introduction

In this world, there are a lot of places GPS still cannot reach.
Smartphones spread rapidly and made our lives more convenient. There is nothing special about using a navigation app while walking in the town. Nevertheless, we still have many places without GPS reception, such as indoors and underground. There are buildings on land, and each building has space. We have developed TAGCAST as the Location IoT technology to maintain the infrastructure of location information in that space.
TAGCAST is used for the products which won the following prizes: Grand Prix in Social Innovation Category of the CEATEC AWARD 2014, the finalist of the Microsoft Innovation Award 2016 and 2017, Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Award of MCPC award 2017, and the first prize of AEON Financial Service Innovation 2017.

TAGCAST has launched with a concept of a technology which centrally manages Bluetooth transmitters called beacon with the cloud and provides indoor location-based service for mobile systems in pair with smartphone apps. We successfully developed this technology and obtained a patent on "the location-based service which controls apps by the identification information and the strength of radio waves transmitted by beacons" (Patent No.: 5650870, 5723052) in 2012.
Industry 4.0 is now progressing all around the world. Since we determined our location information as Location IoT, TAGCAST has attracted attention as a technology that promotes Industry 4.0. Moreover, we also obtain an international patent in 9 countries such as Japan, the US, China, Korea, Britain, France, Germany (e.g. the US: US 9,596,573 B2, China: ZL 2013 8 0067228.6, Korea:10-1569660).

TAGCAST Devices, Cloud, and SDK*

TAGCAST devices send ID at a regular interval. We have two types of devices: TC-Beacon (for Room IoT) and PaperBeacon (for Table IoT). They are battery-operated and run for about one year.

First, TC-Beacon is a product that equipment is in a small, uniquely designed case. Just place it on a shelf, or hang it with a cord. It is ready for you right out of the box, so work is not required. Besides, it can be used outside because of its weather-resistant structure. You can adopt IoT technology to space of approximately 10 to 20 meters with one TC-beacon device. We provide TC-Beacon to ZOZO Marine Stadium (home stadium of the Chiba Lotte Marines), Huis Ten Bosch, AEON Mall stores, and so on.

Second, PaperBeacon is a sheet-shaped device, and it can be used by sticking it under a table. This sheet was developed in collaboration with Teijin Limited, and we applied for a patent together (application number: 2015-104643). As it transmits strong signals to a few centimeters from its surface, you can adopt IoT to each table. Namely, PaperBeacon makes a film of radio waves to cover a table and connects a smartphone and the table number. PaperBeacon is mainly used for Putmenu, an order system of プットメニュー株式会社, and it is also provided for Ootoya Holdings Co., Ltd.
TAGCAST Cloud is a web service that manages information about installation locations (address, latitude or longitude) and links them to a global map. GPS's location information is based on two dimensions. On the other hand, TAGCAST provides three-dimensional location information because it can manage inside of buildings. Even when there is a bad reception or no reception, it allows us to supplement the lack of GPS information with our system. You can change installation locations easily with the management screen of TAGCAST Cloud.

TAGCAST-SDK is compatible with iPhone and Android. App development companies can improve their applications and adopt Location IoT just by incorporating our SDK into their application. The SDK also supports HTML5, so you can develop an HTML5 hybrid app in a short period and at a low price.
※SDK:Software Development Kit

The System Structure of TAGCAST
The conceptual diagram of hybrid apps

Room IoT with TC-Beacon

TAGCAST enables you to use location information in the same way as GPS. You can identify the location of users those who do not have GPS reception. Therefore, it allows you to give coupons and points to the users, or connect customer reviews with their visit information. Business owners can provide effective mobile service to visitors. In other words, TC-Beacon is a device to realize space (Room) IoT.

Image of Room IoT

Table Iot with PaperBeacon

With general electrical equipment, radio waves spread in space, so it is difficult to identify a small range. PaperBeacon is a sheet which transmits strong signals to a few centimeters from its surface. It makes a table covered with a film of radio wave just by sticking it under a table. Then, you can link a smartphone to table information when putting it on the table (touching beacon signals).
Developing an app with TAGCAST-SDK, the following things will become able to do: deliver ordered items to the seats at a restaurant or a stadium, manage the sitting place and hours at a co-working space, or process payments just by placing customers' smartphone on a checkout counter.
Currently, QR code has already become common, but users need to show the screen on their smartphones to have the staff to scan QR code. PaperBeacon is convenient because users can pay by simply placing a smartphone on it. It is a device that achieves Table IoT.

Image of Table IoT

TC-Beacon visualizes the movement of people and things

We also offer an analysis system, Target Movement Analysis, which can analyze the movement of people and things with TC-Beacon and smartphones. It has the Route display function to visualize the movement path and the Hotspot display function to visualize the visit duration. This system helps you to achieve these things even when there is no GPS reception indoors: analyze route efficiency of cleaners, grasp where workers and security guards are, staff store employee appropriately, or enhance security. Promote work style reforms by visualizing work results with a predetermined behavior in a short time.

Map analysis and indoor analysis

Technology similar to TAGCAST

The origin of TAGCAST is the location information for space. The conventional location information other than the GPS was generally a method using WI-Fi. Wi-Fi devices require a power supply system and their installation location is limited. Besides, the equipment is large. In addition, owners of existing Wi-Fi devices vary from individuals to companies. You need to obtain permission from the owners before using those devices, and it will be complicated to manage them. For that reason, it is not a reasonable way to develop location-based information infrastructure with Wi-Fi.
There is another way to adopt IoT called Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID, RF tags, or IC tags). However, it does not send signals and support commercial smartphones. Thus, it is suitable for product management only.
Whereas, TAGCAST devices operate for over one year with batteries. It enables you to maintain the infrastructure of space location information by only setting them on the walls or tables and registering online. It is the best infrastructure to maintain space location information in buildings because it is available for any models of smartphones in the world. You can offer a suitable service depending on the place easily with TAGCAST because it allows us to adopt IoT everywhere in buildings.

Conclusion

In this world, there are a lot of places GPS still cannot reach.
There are buildings on land, and each building has space. The technology to maintain the infrastructure of location information in that space has not been developed yet. With TAGCAST, you can provide the next-generation accessibility (UX) by maintaining location information, or Location IoT. This digital transformation will accumulate big data and promote AI. New accessibility will promote Industry 4.0 (The Fourth Industrial Revolution).

We aim to produce products to solve social problems based on our patent in the nine countries and innovate user experiences (UX) in collaboration with companies all around the world.

October 5, 2018
Akatsuki Torii, CEO
TAGCAST, Inc.