"In this world, still many places unreachable by GPS."
With smartphones rapidly spreading and giving us more convenience, it is now a commonplace to use them as a navigation tool. However, there are still a number of places GPS cannot reach, such as indoors and underground. We developed TAGCAST to provide location information in such places. TAGCAST is a unique technology, which won the Grand Prix in the Social Innovation Category of CEATEC AWARD 2014.
TAGCAST is a technology which centrally manages Bluetooth transmitters called beacon in the cloud and provides indoor location-based service for mobile systems in pair with smartphone apps. We successfully developed this technology in 2012 and obtained a patent on "the location-based service which controls apps by identification information and the strength of radio waves transmitted by beacons" (Patent No.: 5650870, 5723052).
TAGCAST-Beacons are power-saving Bluetooth transmitters contained in distinctively designed small boxes, which send ID at a given interval. Batteries are placed with shipment, so they can be used right out of the box. For example, you can place them on a shelf or hang them with a cord attached to them. TAGCAST-Beacons can be easily installed and managed.
They are also characterized by their weather-resistant design and structure, so light rain will not break them down.
TAGCAST Cloud identifies installation sites by latitude and longitude and map them onto a global map. GPS's location information is based on two dimensions while TAGCAST provides three-dimensional location information since it manages the number of floors. It manages additional information, too, such as store names and addresses, which are all mapped onto a global map by the time TAGCAST-Beacons are shipped. If you want to change the location of beacons, you can easily do so in the management page in the cloud. If you have original indoor maps for your facilities, you can upload them to the cloud and adjust the location of beacons.
TAGCAST-SDK is compatible with iPhone and Android. Developers have only to embed the SDK in their apps to request location information based on TAGCAST-Beacons' ID in TAGCAST Cloud. As a result, apps can identify given locations. The SDK also supports HTML5 and Cordova, which allows developers to develop hybrid apps working in conjunction with beacons at a low cost in a short term.
* SDK: Software Development Kit
As with GPS, TAGCAST uses location information. In addition, it is capable of identifying places GPS cannot reach, offering digital coupons and loyalty points in-store, and linking customers' words of mouth with the number of their visits to stores. TAGCAST makes it possible for facilities to certify their customers' visits and launch effective mobile services to connect with visitors.
"TMA (Target Movement Analytics)" is the analysis system of the application user's movements based on the collected big data from beacons and smartphones."TMA2.0" greatly improve its functions, such as "Map Analysis" and "Indoor Analysis", that are able to display the application user's movements over the world or facilities map.You can use those functions with free of cost.
Traditionally, we have mainly used Wi-Fi for indoor location-based services but Wi-Fi requires a power-supply system which tends to be large in size.
If you want to use Wi-Fi devices which are already installed for indoor location-based services, you need to ask for permission from the owners of those Wi-Fi devices, ranging from an individual to a corporation, in order to link Wi-Fi with installation sites.
In contrast, we offer TAGCAST-Beacons for a monthly fee of 500 yen per unit so that you can manage and provide indoor location information on your facilities. The range of radio waves is approximately 10 – 20m, so a single beacon will do if you have a small facility.
We provide TAGCAST-SDK for free so that app developers can use indoor location information without paying money. TAGCAST is an open platform for indoor location-based services to replace GPS.
We developed LEDBeacon™, an LED luminaire to provide indoor location information at every corner inside facilities.
Lighting fixtures are installed in necessary spots at an even interval. Simply by changing traditional lighting fixtures to LEDBeacon™, you will get high-precision location information without spoiling the interior design of your facilities. LEDBeacon™ is also capable of supplying power to beacons, which means that you can use it for the entire lifetime of the LED luminaire.
We developed PaperBeacon®, too, a beacon for surface authentication. This is a sheet-shaped beacon capable of controlling compatible devices within several centimeters of its surface. With PaperBeacon® laid down on a desk, you can provide desk-specific functions simply by letting users place their smartphones on it. If PaperBeacon® provides a function to allow users to view specific data, for example, they can view it only when they place their tablets on a desk. You can also apply this technology to restaurant settings, where customers have only to place their smartphones on a table to order dishes and their orders go straight to a kitchen without the help of servers. This will also be the ultimate payment experience given its capability of completing order and payment right at the same time.
"In this world, still many places unreachable by GPS. "
If we can use location information in such places, we can evolve mobile systems as mentioned earlier. This field of services still has so much to explore.
2014 was said to mark the beginning of beacons and a variety of demonstrative experiments were performed. One of the biggest concerns was, however, that the costly development of systems and the lack of consideration for beacon operation and management would cause financial problems after the systems have been installed. TAGCAST solves them all.
Japan's mobile systems have been drastically shifted to smartphone-oriented ones due to a rapid growth of smartphones. Unlike Japan-specific feature phones, smartphones have the same standards as the rest of the world. We can show the world the competitive edge our made-in-Japan systems for smartphones can bring.
TAGCAST aims at the global expansion so that mobile systems can use indoor location information in the same specifications whether in Japan or other parts of the world.
Stores can introduce one TAGCAST-Beacon
free for initial cost to attract customers.