Chinese search engine Baidu has agreed to invest $10 million in IndoorAtlas. Headquartered in Mountain View, CA and Oulu, Finland, IndoorAtlas is a provider of magnetic positioning technology for indoor location.
BEIJING, CHINA and MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA and OULU, FINLAND, Sep 02, 2014 (Marketwired via COMTEX) — IndoorAtlas, the global leader in magnetic positioning technology for indoor location, today announced that it has agreed to a $10 million investment from Baidu, the world’s leading Chinese search engine. IndoorAtlas also announced it is signing an exclusive agreement for the Chinese market with Baidu. Through this partnership, Baidu intends to strengthen its indoor mapping offering with cutting-edge technology that will be unique in China.
IndoorAtlas uses earth’s geomagnetic field to pinpoint the exact location inside a building with an accuracy of two meters.
“We are excited to have an Internet company like Baidu as our partner as we grow and expand our footprint,” said Professor Janne Haverinen, Founder & CEO of IndoorAtlas. “With this partnership, we now have access to over 1.34 billion potential subscribers at one go. We see this as a huge opportunity not just to make a mark in Asia, but globally, and to make indoor location services ubiquitous and available to everyone.”
The company will be using the funding towards ramping up R&D, engineering and business development in the US, Asia, and Europe.
“IndoorAtlas’s accuracy and scalability is second to none and clearly complements Baidu’s existing mobile Location Based Services (LBS) and maps offering,” said Baidu vice president Liu Jun, who leads the company’s LBS business unit. “IndoorAtlas’s intellectual property portfolio and global geographical coverage will be instrumental in helping us at Baidu build out our LBS platform for local merchants in China and abroad.”
“IndoorAtlas is very excited to have Baidu, one of strongest Internet players not only in China but also globally to participate in our Series A round,” said Inka Mero, Chairwoman of IndoorAtlas and Co-Founder and Chairwoman of Koppicatch. Inka has played a key role in the growth and expansion of IndoorAtlas in Europe and US since its inception, and led the discussions with Baidu for this funding round. “This represents an infusion of funds to aggressively continue our growth in the US and also gives us a unique opportunity to make quick inroads into Asia, specifically the Chinese market, which in many ways is leading the way for indoor location based services. From the very beginning of discussions, we felt there is great match in terms of strategy, competencies and assets. We could not have asked for a better investor and partner in terms of indoor location based services expertise, sheer scale of operation and industry specific know-how.”
Baidu will highlight the first IndoorAtlas solution customized for the Baidu Maps app at its annual Baidu World conference, being held in Beijing on September 3rd.
“The competition in this space is heating up as the largest global players who have so far focused on the outdoors now turn towards mapping the indoors in the most cost effective and scalable way,” said Greg Sterling, Senior Analyst at Opus Research, a firm specializing in Indoor location and proximity marketing. “With this deal, Baidu is clearly endorsing the idea that magnetic positioning is fast emerging as the GPS of indoors, the foundational solution complemented with Wi-Fi, PDR, and BLE technologies.”
Opus Research recently published a report which predicts magnetic positioning will emerge as the “foundational” technology for indoor location globally. The report finds that while magnetic positioning can be used as a stand-alone technology, it can also complement existing Wi-Fi infrastructure. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons, such as iBeacon, have recently garnered attention and emerged as another way to provide indoor location services. Yet beacons have limitations as they can only detect and manage proximity between themselves and handset location. They can’t offer “moving blue dot” positioning inside a store or precise latitude-longitude coordinates, the report says.
“With this strategic alliance in place, Baidu will continue to not just lead innovation in the space but also make inroads towards establishing global leadership in indoor positioning,” said Sterling . “It is a hotly contested and lucrative space with billions of advertising dollars at stake.”
IndoorAtlas was founded in 2012 by Professor Janne Haverinen and four PhDs in computer science, as a spin-off from research conducted at the University of Oulu. The patented technology utilizes built-in magnetometers in smartphones to detect anomalies in the geomagnetic field to help users reliably navigate through indoor spaces without any additional infrastructure. IndoorAtlas is headquartered in Mountain View, CA and Oulu, Finland.
For more information, visit www.indooratlas.com.
Baidu, Inc. is the leading Chinese language Internet search provider and developer of award-winning PC, Web and mobile products. As a technology-based media company, Baidu aims to provide the best and most equitable way for people to find what they are looking for. In addition to serving individual Internet search users, Baidu provides an effective platform for businesses to reach potential customers. Baidu’s ADSs trade on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “BIDU.” Currently, ten ADSs represent one Class A ordinary share.