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INSIGHTS / INTERVIEWS

Situm Technologies: The Google Maps for indoors, where GPS fails

Spain · Jul 10, 2019· By Amalia González

© Situm Technologies

It uses AI and mobile robotics to create high-precision, low-cost indoor location tech that integrates data processed from multiple radio and inertial sensors

Love can inspire many things, including scientific invention, as was in the case of Victor Álvarez Santos. The intelligent systems specialist dreamt of designing and building a robot that could physically guide his visually impaired girlfriend, now wife, in her daily movements about. In fact, that was the subject of his PhD paper, "Development of a general purpose tour-guide robot able to learn routes from people and to adapt and move in unstructured and crowded environments."

Álvarez's research also laid the foundations of Situm Technologies ("Situm"), an indoor positioning tech startup he co-founded in early 2015 with Adrián Canedo Rodríguez and Cristina Gamallo Solorzano, fellow researchers he met while at CITIUS (Singular Research Center in Information Technology) in the Spanish region of Galicia.

Backed by over a decade of research in AI, Situm has attracted funding from investors such as Amadeus Ventures. Its indoor positioning tech is used in many major office buildings, including Telefónica, BBVA, Nvidia in Silicon Valley, the European Patent Office building and some banks in Singapore.

"Situm does not use special sensors as our tech was based on two premises: standard pieces and minimum cost," the company's co-founder and Vice-President of Business Development Gregory Botanes told CompassList in an interview at the 4YFN conference in Barcelona earlier this year.

"It uses the conventional devices and existing sensors found in any building (Wi-Fi, magnetic field, light signals), and also collects movement information through the electromagnetic sensors of smartphones as Situm's tech can use any device as an assistant."

Currently, Situm is closing a €3m investment round by the French government, Amadeus Ventures and a Galician-government entity. They had jointly extended the startup participatory loans in late December 2017 and will become shareholders of the company with this new round of funding. Situm expects to use the monies toward consolidating its international expansion and boosting hiring to scale the company.

Edited by Bernice Tang and Celine Lim

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