Build Indoor Location Services into Your Applications

Kenny ChenThis blog is authored by Kenny Chen – Software Architect, Cisco DevNet

Show location of people, assets, products in 3-D

Indoor Location Services is a term that we have been hearing a lot for the past couple of years now. Within this space, Cisco has both indoor location and proximity products which we will touch upon as later in the blog. Glance is an indoor wireless location service application based on Cisco Meraki and Cisco DNA (Digital Network Architecture) Spaces for Wireless IP and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) devices. There is a “wow-factor” associated with this application as it can show and render location or people and assets in 3-D.

Glance multi floor 3DGlance lets you see locations or people and assets in 3-D.

Open-source Glance opens up innovation potential

This application has been installed at multiple Cisco innovation centers around the world as well as at Cisco Live events. But there is vast potential for indoor location services enabled applications in a wide variety of wireless-covered areas – such as retail, manufacturing, healthcare, entertainment, public services, etc.

That is why we have open-sourced Glance. Now developers across industries can develop indoor location services applications based on Meraki and Cisco DNA Spaces for IP/BLE wireless devices to serve more end-users in different scenarios and make Glance more powerful.

How to engage and contribute to open-source Glance

You are welcome to download and freely use the codes of the Glance project, as well as Apache license agreement 2.0, and easily setup your own indoor location services with the latest updates. Glance includes basic administrative functions and docker-compose deployment scripts. We also welcome your contribution to Glance project so that it can better serve people under different circumstances.

Let’s look at some of the features that Glance has to offer

Glance supports interactive, 3-D, multi-floor maps with real-time indoor navigation, people/things tracking, and facility finding (such as restrooms, service counters, elevators). The maps also support visualized illustration of objects such as furniture and signs to emulate real surroundings. People-tracking with Glance is a customer-friendly support service which enables customers to find, tag, and show the location of hundreds of people among thousands of people.

Glance heat mapGlance provides real-time, 3-D heat-map capabilities, which facilitates
analysis of people flow, as well as administrative functions for service setup.

Glance Software Stack

Glance service structureGlance Service structure

Glance deploymentDeployment of Glance

Cisco has two products in the indoor location and proximity space

Indoor Location and Proximity with Cisco Meraki:

Meraki provides Real-Time Location Services (RTLS) which enables tracking of live client device location within a network. Cisco Meraki APs can track location of client devices independently, using the signal strength of each client device. This helps to locate client devices that are either stationary or moving inside the intended area. Meraki also has a BLE radio which can scan BLE clients within close proximity. Visit DevNet’s Meraki Dev Center which walks you through various aspects from the developer’s point of view.

Cisco DNA Spaces:

Cisco DNA Spaces (previously called Cisco CMX (Connected Mobile Experiences)) provides wireless customers with rich location-based services, including:

  • location analytics
  • business insights
  • customer engagement toolkits
  • asset management
  • BLE management
  • location data APIs

Cisco DevNet has development resources concerning how to code with Cisco CMX solutions, that are now part of Cisco DNA Spaces.

Glance how CMX works

Glance has advantages over other positioning apps

  • Glance offers an easy way to map physical device IDs with person/asset. If wireless network access requires ID-authentication, the administrator can batch-import user/asset profiles (such as Excel sheets) including end user display names & Wi-Fi authentication IDs. The moment the end user’s personal device gets network connection, the Glance back-end will automatically log him/her in. If wireless network access does not require ID-authentication, our customers can check-in and check-out of the system by themselves, so long as the administrator has batch-imported user/asset profiles including the names. Then the end user uses his/her personal device to scan a QR code, access a specified check-in/check-out URL, pick his/her name to complete the check in process or press the “Check out” button to check out. If the end user’s personal device doesn’t have a browser, Glance can also map the physical ID of the device with a person/asset.
  • Meraki and DNA Spaces use different data models and coordinates. However, Glance has an indoor location service adapter to convert them into one common data model, and map the locations of people/assets to the customized multi-floor map. Therefore, Glance works on top of both Meraki and DNA Spaces.
  • Converting the physical device IDs in Meraki and DNA Spaces into much more visualized elements rich in properties/tags (such as people, assets, signs, facilities) and easier to categorize/search, Glance’s customized 3-D, multi-floor map emulates the real surroundings and offers a more user-friendly interface.
  • Third-party services can easily integrate Glance into their location services because Glance provides specified APIs where physical device IDs are replaced with visualized elements. Glance also has integrated third-party services such as WebEx Teams messages and SMS.

Check out Glance now at:
https://developer.cisco.com/codeexchange/github/repo/CiscoDevNet/Glance

Glance multi floorGlance’s customized 3-D, multi-floor map emulates real surroundings
and offers a more user-friendly interface.



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