Some of you with the newer LG smartphones may have noticed an odd feature in your location settings called iZat. It’s Qualcomm’s new indoor location technology that relies on Wi-Fi signals and the phone’s internal gyroscope, accelerometer and compass to approximate your position indoors.
It’s nifty stuff, and while some of you have already enabled iZat in your Android settings, you probably haven’t noticed your indoor location becoming any more precise on your mapping apps – that is, unless you live in South Korea.
Qualcomm and LG have launched the first commercial iZat location mapping service on the LG G3 in 21 shopping malls and other popular indoor public venues in Korea. iZat is just a homing technology, though. In order to work it needs to be able to take signal data from known Wi-Fi access points and then it needs accurate indoor maps so it can render your position within a building. Finally it needs an app to make to sense of all that information, which LG is offering up to G3 owners in Google Play. To promote the new service, LG is hosting a scavenger hunt of sorts this week, in which G3 owners can hunt down items they can exchange for prizes.
So when will see iZat on other phones and in other countries? Sooner than you might think. Qualcomm has been quietly introducing the technology on its newest Snapdragon and Atheros chipsets, meaning many newer Qualcomm-powered smartphones already support the technology. It’s now a question of handset makers and carriers turning the technology, of digital cartographers like Nokia Here creating the necessary indoor maps and of developers building the apps that knit the two together.