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Thanks to COVID-19, indoor tracking takes on a whole new use

Thanks to COVID-19, indoor tracking takes on a whole new use

When you need to know how many people are in a building or a room, there's a faster way than asking them to fill out a form.

Among all of the things that coronavirus has cast a glaring light upon, perhaps the least expected is indoor tracking technology.

Being able to reopen buildings safely without invading people's privacy is the main reason why the technology has become so popular.

Initially, indoor tracking was celebrated by data-loving tech companies, retail stores and coffee chains. Now, because of COVID-19, the tools are coveted by all kinds of businesses operating with shared space: fulfillment centers, grocery stores, warehouses, meat processing plants and hospitals to name only a few.

With indoor tracking tools like HERE Places Footprints, maintaining social distancing protocols and managing potentially risky scenarios like worker or client infections is less stressful. HERE Places Footprints provides advanced insight supported by precise location data.

Jason Bettinger, Senior Director of Sales for HERE Technologies says: “HERE Places Footprints provides a more precise understanding of where someone is. In that way, providing better context and meaning to the location of the person or mobile device being tracked..."

Understanding where and when people are inside of a building is especially important when trying to maintain COVID-19 regulations.


Every step you take — is still anonymous

Keeping track of people indoors using anonymous digital tracing has many benefits. For example, workers in various industries who show symptoms of coronavirus can easily be tracked resulting in more accurate documentation of the areas in which they were active. Based on this information, only the areas occupied by the infected workers will have to be cleaned, leading to faster reopening times. Furthermore, managers can compile a list of the colleagues working in close proximity and potentially at risk, using the same data-based records.

HERE Places Footprints can help monitor movement but it is not a tracking device per se. As Bettinger points out: “[it] does not do the tracking but when used in conjunction with an application [that is] tracking mobile devices, it can absolutely tell you the number of those devices within a specific location."

This means that when smartphone users are inside of a building, connected to WIFI, Bluetooth or Ultra-Wideband, and using an app that is already tracking their device such as a mapping tool, building operators can keep track of overall and room-specific occupancy rates, making for safer indoor environments.

Increased visibility and safety

With HERE Places Footprints, a data product available for download, users can acquire better visibility and control overuse and access, which is often still managed by pen and paper.
  • make a connection between frequently visited locations and context-specific data
  • access real-world footprints, or contextualized location data, to better understand where and when people are inside a room, building or outdoor location
  • create more effective employee, customer or patient safety programs based on real-time and historic location and proximity



Hospitals are great examples of public spaces that could benefit from indoor tracking technology.


If tracking technology was deployed in hospitals, building managers could make sure that both patients and visitors didn't enter restricted zones, maintained social distancing limitations and adhered to safety limitations, ie five people maximum in waiting rooms.

And while the tracking technology offers real-time numbers and data about occupancy rates, it is also storing historical data, referred to as footfall, which can be used in future scenarios like making adjustments to health policies and visitor regulations. Historical footfall can also be used in analytics and in case of an emergency, facilitating faster response times and evacuation of visitors.

Less than a year ago, most companies used indoor tracking tools to improve office space utilization or enhance product placement. Now, thanks to COVID-19, many brands and institutions are turning to the technology to help them meet demand from employees and the public for safe, socially distanced spaces.

Create a mappable connection between movement and buildings with HERE Places Footprints

Jasmine Reimer

Jasmine Reimer

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