Positioning system helps pinpoint exact location with new tech
When GPS became readily available to the general population, it changed how we traveled, tracked and generally got around. It seemed like nothing could top this transformational technology, until GPS had trouble locating cars in the wilderness or struggled to triangulate locations inside buildings. For Columbus-based Ubihere, these challenges were the perfect opportunity to say sayonara to GPS and introduce their new 2D and 3D tracking technology.
“Ubihere’s patented technology provides real-time asset location and information, all GPS-free,” said Alice Hilliard, vice president of business development and marketing. “Instead, we have two different technologies: the camera and the tag. The camera technology allows us to install cameras in any location like a retail store, and we can anonymously track a customer’s journey through that space. The tag is about the size of a credit card and is affixed to objects to help establish their location.”
Without GPS, Ubihere has not only reconceptualized how we establish location, but also what we learn from that location. For example, at a retail location, camera footage can be used to help stores determine if a display is working. How many customers came in to shop that day, how many looked at or touched the items in the window display? The tag offers another way to calibrate location and is especially useful in places like hospitals, where tracking food carts or devices through lead-lined walls enables nurses to keep a patient’s care on track. Other possible uses? Factories and emergency response teams.
“If you were in a factory or even a nuclear power plant, OSHA guidelines establish that you have to have two people in the control room at all times,” said Hilliard. “Periodically, OSHA is required to monitor if the power plant is following that protocol. Instead of having someone sit there and oversee the situation, we can use our camera technology to anonymously collect workers’ whereabouts which can then be easily pulled from the cloud. The same is true for emergency response teams. Imagine some kind of equipment failure that makes it difficult to locate a team member. With the tag technology, we’d know where everyone is at all times.”
With the resources and mentorship of Rev1Ventures, a partner of Ohio Third Frontier, Ubihere is ready to explore future applications of their technology to see where, exactly, GPS-free tracking can take their startup.
“As a portfolio company of Rev1, they’ve really helped us establish our business processes,” said Hilliard. “They’ve provided so much knowledge, especially for those who might not have startup experience. Our inventor, Dr. Alper Yilmaz is a professor at The Ohio State University. He doesn’t necessarily have the background for starting a company. So, resources like Rev1 have really helped our team nail down the minutiae of starting a business to let everyone just focus on what they do so they can do it well.”
In fact, as Ubihere takes off, Hilliard and her team have noted the importance of their central Ohio location, especially when it comes to developing and growing their tech company.
“Building a startup in Ohio has shown me that the Midwest is full of smart, talented people,” said Hilliard. “Being affiliated with Ohio State has, itself, has been a remarkable experience. People might default and think of the west coast as the tech scene, but Ohio’s tech market is growing exponentially, and we plan to be a part of that growth.”