Positioning Technology in Gamification

One of the things built-in to every smartphone is a GPS-system which enables us to see where in the world we are located. We use this to find our way with the aid of Google Maps and other apps. This technology can also be used for games and to communicate information.

GPS

Global Positioning System (GPS) works everywhere outdoors and is accurate to within 5-10 metres. In gaming systems like Locatify, you can enter coordination for a place and tie all sorts of information to the location which activates once you reach it. The disadvantage of GPS is that it doesn’t work well indoors and is too inaccurate to allow for more than a few dots in a small area. Its advantage lies in the fact that most apps working with location use it and hence, users know it. Also, no added equipment is necessary to use it. 

Bluetooth

There are other positioning systems but they require the installation of equipment which is used to create a coordinate system indoors. Then you need to install receivers/anchors in the rooms where you want to use to phone for guidance. Most commonly, people use Bluetooth, which is built-in to all phones, to connect to the receivers and the technology defines where in the coordinate system the phone is located. Just like GPS, you can then connect information and activities to selected coordinates. Bluetooth has an accuracy of 2-3 metres but a short range so in bigger spaces you’ll need multiple receivers. 

Ultra Wideband

The latest positioning technology to use for gamification and indoor and outdoor guidance is Ultra Wideband (UWB). Like Bluetooth, this is based on the installation of receivers that are connected to a server which connects information about the location to coordinated information and activities in the respective system, which is then connected to an app in the user’s phone. UWB is still not built-in to smart phones but the latest iPhone models have a UWB chip, and thus you still need small UWB transmitters to connect to the receivers with location information. The advantages of UWB are great accuracy and high communication frequency which enables the creation of a closely woven coordinate system with an accuracy of 5-20 cm. This means you can add numerous dots on a small area as the system always knows where the user in question is located. UWB has a range of around 50 metres and both indoor and outdoor receivers are available. This position technology needs to be considered in gamification and the installation of games where users’ smart phones are to be used to communicate information. GPS is easiest as it is most popular and needs no additions. Locatify’s CMS and similar systems use GPS but can then be connected to Bluetooth or UWB through appropriate add-ons. 

A short video about an UWB experiment that we did at Skriðuklaustur in the CINE-project.

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