Navenio, an AI-powered platform designed to find folks in hospitals and different indoor areas the place GPS is ineffective, has raised £9 million ($11 million) in a collection A spherical of funding led by QBN Capital. The increase comes as well being care techniques world wide are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 disaster. Among different issues, this has meant variable staffing ranges and a larger have to rapidly deploy key personnel — reminiscent of cleaners and porters — the place they’re wanted most.
While GPS is the established location expertise for a lot of purposes, it’s not that helpful for locating folks or issues in expansive buildings unfold throughout a number of flooring. Navenio is getting down to remedy this downside by means of a mix of sensor fusion expertise, smartphones, and fundamental constructing maps. The expertise may be deployed in various methods — together with on-device or within the cloud — and may be built-in into any third-party app or platform. Navenio additionally supplies its personal app to make its location engine extra simply accessible.
Founded in 2015, Navenio is a spinout from the U.Ok.’s University of Oxford. Navenio CEO Tim Weil stated having one other $11 million within the financial institution will enhance the corporate’s presence in its home U.Ok. market and assist it broaden into the U.S. and Asia, the place it already has a “number of evolving partnerships.” Other buyers within the firm’s collection A embody G.Ok. Goh, Hostplus, BigPi Ventures, Oxford Investment Consultants, Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI), IP Group, and the University of Oxford.
Navenio makes use of what is called pedestrian lifeless reckoning (PDR) expertise that leverages a smartphone’s built-in sensors, reminiscent of accelerometers and magnetometers, to find out a consumer’s motion, together with relative distance and route of journey. It then faucets probabilistic map-matching algorithms to determine the almost certainly earlier and present location of a consumer — all of the consumer has to offer is a multi-floor plan of the constructing.
The Navenio platform additionally learns the format and visitors movement of a constructing by studying present radio alerts (e.g. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi) to create an ambient sign map, with every a part of the constructing given a singular localization signature. If the surroundings adjustments — when radio signal-emitting units or hotspots transfer round or are changed, for instance — Navenio identifies the change and remembers it for future reference. Since layouts can change ceaselessly, automated signal-mapping is a technique of making certain Navenio at all times has an up-to-date map of a facility.
Above: Building a sign map with Navenio
The firm can be creating crowdsourced auto-mapping expertise, which it claims can bodily map a constructing primarily based purely on customers’ actions, bypassing the necessity for ground plans. Navenio stated it’s piloting this as a part of two tasks within the U.Ok. While Navenio’s expertise can be utilized in any giant indoor surroundings, its whole focus is presently on well being care techniques, with 13 hospital websites within the U.Ok. beneath contract.
Although Navenio was already working with hospitals earlier than the COVID-19 disaster, its expertise could possibly be significantly useful throughout the pandemic. If a ward or ready room must be urgently sterilized, for instance, Navenio may assist discover the closest cleaner. Or it may find essentially the most appropriate porter to move gear or sufferers. It can be used to observe weak sufferers as they’re transported between areas.
Navenio feeds into organizations’ broader task-management workflow — enabling visibility into the place everyone seems to be in actual time and permitting managers to delegate jobs to the best folks. A specific promoting level is the convenience with which the expertise may be deployed — it doesn’t require devoted infrastructure reminiscent of beacons or handbook constructing surveys.