A Mercia-backed company with a new technology that allows people to use their mobile phones to guide them through airports other indoor spaces has secured a £750,000 loan to help fast track its development.
Living Map’s new software overcomes the challenge of using digital maps inside large buildings, underground areas or other locations where GPS signals cannot reach. It has already been successfully deployed by Singapore Airlines to guide passengers through Heathrow Airport to make flight connections and will soon be rolled out at other airports as part of its recently announced partnership with airline consortium Star Alliance.
The loan, from the government agency Innovate UK, will allow Living Map to further develop the software so it can be integrated quickly and easily at multiple sites, with different mobile devices and applications.
Living Map, which is based in Bath, has produced systems for venues such as Canary Wharf, New York’s MET Museum and, more recently, to help new key workers at the RUH Bath Hospital to find their way around. Mercia has backed the company since 2018, investing from its EIS funds.
Its new Live Positioning platform is believed to be the only one of its type that can provide accurate positioning inside buildings in the absence of a GPS signal without the need for expensive hardware. The latest development work will allow software developers from any organisation to incorporate the technology in their own apps – whether to help people find their way around or to track assets, such as components in a car plant or high-value equipment in a hospital.
Dominic Hazlehurst, Living Map’s CEO, said: “Digital maps have become part of everyday life for many but using them indoors still poses problems, given the lack of reliable positioning. Our platform overcomes this, providing a better experience for vistors to any large complex spaces, whilst enabling better decisions by operators. This loan will further help us to fast track its development and open up global opportunities for Living Map.”
Julian Dennard of Mercia added: “Living Map has managed what even the big corporations have not yet done in making this type of technology work seamlessly both inside and out. The new live positioning system will take digital maps to the next level and will be a game changer for the business.”