CHINA TOPIX

Updated 8:44 AM EDT, Wed, Aug 18, 2021

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Baidu Embraces 'Indoor GPS' Systems Technology

Earth's magnetic field

(Photo : Wikipedia) Computer simulation of the Earth's field in a period of normal polarity between reversals.

Chinese Internet technology company Baidu, Inc. has stepped into the geolocation technology arena, an emerging technology currently captivating retailers and other industries.

The company invested US$10 million last month in Finnish-based mapping service provider IndoorAtlas to develop new GPS systems.

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IndoorAtlas had already developed computer software that lets a compass in smartphones identify a person's indoor location using the Earth's geomagnetic fields, instead of relying on wireless signals.

Indoor GPS is a technology that analyzes variations caused by the positioning of buildings. It allows users to navigate stores for products using their smartphones.

Wibe Wagemans, President of IndoorAtlas, said the company is currently testing the technology at two of the top retail stores in the U.S.

"To be very humble, we have a lot of work to be done, both research and development-wise and with engineering to get the product market-ready," Wagemans told Investor's Business Daily

Wagemans said his company hopes to collaborate with future partners around the world to expand its market reach.

Baidu's investment marks a step towards more intense competition against the likes of Apple and its next door neighbor Alibaba.

Apple rolled out the iBeacon last year, a technology that uses radio transmission to exchange data wirelessly between devices.

Consumers are currently using smartphones as tools for shopping. It was estimated 6 in 10 U.S. adults turn to their smartphones for shopping.

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