Amadeus Ventures has invested in Situm, an ‘indoor GPS’ start-up for travellers at airports, train stations or conference centres. Users can benefit from smartphone navigation wherever they are in the world, removing the fear of unfamiliar and daunting environments.
We are all familiar with arriving in a foreign airport, a huge conference centre complex or busy international train station and feeling lost. Signage doesn’t always help, there’s no one available to ask for help, and it’s difficult to spot knowledgeable locals.
Until now, indoor navigation – or ‘GPS for indoors’ – was limited to physical signs, people and large format maps. Now with Situm we can all benefit from our own personal navigation assistant, on our smartphone or tablet device. Whether we want to get to the departure gate on time, quickly find the panel session we are speaking at, or catch that last-minute train, we can do so in the knowledge we won’t get lost along the way.
The Spanish start-up provides indoor positioning, tracking and navigation services for many different uses. For example, it can guide visitors inside a large building, track the location of security staff in case of emergencies, or track moving objects inside factories.
Situm is the latest start-up to benefit from investment by Amadeus Ventures. Thousands of buildings around the world have already used its technology, which provides high location accuracy, up to one metre, with the lowest infrastructure investment and complexity for indoor services.
Situm’s indoor positioning system (IPS) applies a unique location algorithm, able to use all available sensors in smartphones collaboratively (e.g. wi-fi, magnetometer, Bluetooth Low Energy and user movement prediction based on inertial sensors). Global navigation satellite systems (GPS) often don’t work indoors because the microwaves that GPS uses to identify locations are reduced and scattered by roofs, walls and other objects.
“When travelling, we often find ourselves in new places and unfamiliar surroundings, which can be daunting,” said Víctor Alvarez, Founder and Chief Executive, Situm Technologies. “By delivering a minimal-infrastructure solution, and harnessing the power of personal mobile technology, we can quickly give travellers reassurance that they can always get to where they need to be.”
Travellers can download an application using Situm’s indoor GPS to navigate around an airport, train station, museum or gallery. For managers of airports, train stations, conferences or hotels, Situm allows real-time viewing of the staff movements, facilitates better allocation of resources to smooth passenger flow, improves security services, and offers better analytics to improve geo-marketing and targeting.
“Improving operations and performance across all parts of the travel sector is a key area of focus for us at Amadeus,” said Katherine Grass, Head of Amadeus Innovation and Ventures. “By working together with our own teams, developers and start-ups, we are focused on developing new ways to relieve the tensions that exist for all of us when travelling. Situm offers a really powerful solution and we look forward to having it as part of our investment portfolio and working together to solve some of these challenges.”
Amadeus Ventures has co-invested in Situm with Unirisco and Xesgalicia. Amadeus Ventures, the corporate venture arm of Amadeus IT group, is a travel venture programme that invests in start-ups sitting at the crossroads of travel and technology. Amadeus launched this initiative in 2014 and Situm is the latest addition to a portfolio that also includes start-ups such as Avuxi, Betterez, Bluesmart, BookingPal, Flyr and Yapta. Amadeus Ventures also invested in Cabify and successfully exited from its investment in 2015.