Indoor GPS on the Construction Site: Interview with Antti Korhonen of Redpoint Positioning

This is my interview with Antti Korhonen, CEO of Redpoint Positioning Corp. We’re going to talk about indoor positioning, what Antti’s company has to offer, and how construction industry companies could use the technology successfully.

How did Redpoint come about and what inspired you to join the company?

Antti-Korhonen-RedpointRedpoint was founded back in 2011 in Cambridge, MA, USA, by wireless industry veterans from Mitsubishi, Ericsson and Qualcomm. I joined the company in 2014, after building a similar indoor positioning company in the healthcare space. In Redpoint I saw the indoor tracking problem solved with very innovative IoT and mesh networking technologies, and was excited about this new approach, as it enables building a 10x higher location accuracy (20cm) with a 3x lower cost as compared with traditional indoor location solutions.

Why is indoor positioning hot right now and what are the available technologies?

People and companies have gotten used to GPS and Google maps and everything being context-aware. Why shouldn’t these services also work indoors, and enable similar benefits to businesses as GPS offers outdoors? Location is simply one of the critical aspects of “context awareness” and “real-time data” that smart enterprise executives will expect in the future – both indoors and outdoors.

What is your solution and what makes it special?

Redpoint’s solution includes 3 key components: (1) wireless infrastructure, that can act as a local satellite network, (2) mobile asset tags and personnel badges that are tracked remotely, and (3) software that displays the location, reports, and analytics.

Unlike with traditional indoor tracking solutions, that are either too complex, too costly, or not accurate enough to be used in the construction industry, Redpoint’s technology can be easily deployed with mobile battery-powered network stations, while still delivering 20cm location accuracy in tracking. This makes the system easy to move and re-install in ad-hoc environments, such as construction job sites.

What are the uses of Redpoint Positioning in construction?

First, Redpoint improves job site safety with its precise location information. Redpoint’s system alerts workers with wearable sensors when entering danger zones. The wireless personnel badge has also a call button, for requesting help in emergency situations.

Second, Redpoint enables real-time visibility into job site activities. Instead of walking around the work site to monitor operations, with Redpoint’s solution, superintendents and project managers can see the site plans remotely on a computer or tablet, and observe the flow of workers and assets. Privacy is protected as the monitoring screen can block individual names and just display the worker’s company or trade.  Through 3rd party software integration, workers can filter piles of plans and work orders, to see only those that are relevant to the immediate surroundings.

Third, Redpoint enables recording of historical data and generating analytics. With Redpoint, all job site activities, including worker, material, and tool movements are recorded in the cloud-based database, and can then be analyzed at a later date. This helps builders and their sub-contractors learn from past operations and improve performance in the next job, supporting lean-construction best practices. The job site activity data also helps in litigation and claims processing, when factual data is needed to resolve any disputes: who was where and when, during that reported incident?

Can you mention any clients or sites that have used your technology and for what?

Redpoint started piloting in 2015 and has now field-validated the platform performance. We have worked with industry leaders such as Skanska, Bechtel, Rogers O’Brien, Autodesk, and others.

What is the business case for your solution in construction?

The key benefits from Indoor GPS for the construction industry are improved employee safety and increased operational productivity. According to OSHA, on average 2.5 workers die in the U.S. construction job sites daily, and 100 get injured. Each injury costs the contractor on average $65,000. At the same time, the general contractor’s profits are thin, around 1.5 – 1.7%, while productivity is a continuous issue. In summary, the construction industry problems and potential savings, with the right technology, are huge. Redpoint is addressing these key business issues, by enabling real-time visibility into operations while improving employee safety.

What are your future plans?

We are planning to launch our first commercial solutions during 3Q16. We continue leading the industry as the first context-aware platform for the construction industry for both in-building and outdoor environments. The company’s future roadmap is full of new innovations that will help contractors run their projects in safer and more efficient ways than before.

Where can our readers learn more about your offering?

You can contact us through our website, www.redpointpositioning.com where you can find a related whitepaper and other documents, by sending e-mail to info(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)redpointpositioning.com, or by calling our switchboard in Boston at +1 (617) 207-4096.