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(RSS) Autonomic Retail Store Mapping using Unified Retail Services Infrastructure

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000030635D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Aug-20
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Aug-20
Document File: 3 page(s) / 114K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

The advent of location based services has created the necessity accurate maps of retail environments. Creating and maintaining these maps can be time consuming. This invention uses the retail store infrastructure described in the Unified Retail Services (URS) disclosure to autonomically create and maintain an accurate store layout including product placement. The devices described in the URS disclosure are wireless personal area network (PAN) devices. That is, they are designed to communicate over short ranges with one another. Today, such a technology exists in the form of Bluetooth devices. A benefit of these devices is that they can vary the strength with which they transmit signal to conserve power. Thus, a Bluetooth device can communicate at a range of 10 cm or 10m with an adequate signal strength to transmit only that distance. Again, this mechanism is used to conserve power, but in a retail environment this technology could also be used to construct and accurate product map. First, a required set of fixed position nodes (networked devices) would be required. These nodes would begin to find the distance from themselves to other nodes within the store by slowly increasing transmission power until they detect a counterpart. Combining the transmission power information at a central server location can deduce the location of any node in the store in 3 dimensional space relative to the fixed nodes. Once a map of the nodes is generated, overlaying a map of the physical store becomes trivial.

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(RSS) Autonomic Retail Store Mapping using Unified Retail Services Infrastructure

     A fixed set of four nodes are placed on an origin point, a X, a Y, and a Z axis. In the following picture, the fixed nodes are yellow, blue, grey, and green. For this example, the unknown node is red.

Figure 1.

To determine the position of the red node, the green node determines its distance from the node using variable transmission power

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Figure 2.

     Note that with only this information, the red node could exist anywhere on the surface of the green sphere.

Next, the yellow node determines the distance of the unknown node.

Figure 3.

     Note that with only this information, the red node could exist anywhere on circular intersection of the green and yellow sphere.

Next, the blue node determines the distance of the unknown node.

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Figure 4.

     Note that with only this information, the red node could exist at one of two points in space (the intersection of all three spheres).

When information on the intersection of all four spheres is combined, the position of the red node in 3 dimensional space can be found.

     After the new nodes are determined, then they can participate in determining if any new nodes exist nearby. This is to compensate for the relatively small operating range of PAN devices. The process will continue until no new nodes are discovered.

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