PRESS RELEASE: At its Global Analyst Summit (HAS) 2022, Huawei launched its commercial 5G indoor positioning solution. This is the first time that the industry has provided a toB-focused 5G positioning solution. The positioning this solution offers is accurate to 1–3 m@90%, making beacon-free implementation for indoor positioning in complex use cases, while supporting open standard interfacing to industry applications. This allows enterprises to implement reliable, secure, and differentiated E2E 5G positioning in their campuses, injecting new impetus in advancing industry digitalization.
5G positioning was introduced in 3GPP Release 16 and frozen in June 2020, with a designed accuracy of 3 m@80% indoors. President of Huawei’s DIS Product Line, Marvin Chen, said that Huawei has verified 5G indoor positioning in many industries, like manufacturing, warehousing, and transportation. The verification showed that the positioning accuracy reached 1–3 m@90% in line-of-sight (LOS) indoors. Exceeding the 3GPP requirements, such a high level of positioning accuracy and reliability allows most business applications to adequately to locate personnel, equipment, and materials. “With 3GPP working to increase the accuracy of the positioning to within 1 m, Huawei, as a leader of the 5G positioning industry work group under the 5G Application Industry Array (5G AIA), will continue to promote standards evolution, requirement research, capability improvement, and industry collaboration,” added Chen.
Huawei’s 5G indoor positioning is split between 5G base stations and core networks. The 5G base station is Huawei’s LampSite Enterprise Edition (EE), and its key functions include measuring and reporting positioning signals. The 5G core network provides an on-premises location service (LCS) module to calculate positions based on the reported signals, and provide open standard interfacing to third-party platforms and applications that need location information. Huawei’s 5G indoor positioning solution has achieved three targets: scenario adaptability, deployment convenience, and low power consumption.
With common positioning technologies, to provide accurate positioning within LOS, base stations need to be placed in a well calibrated way, which increases the costs of deploying these positioning technologies, particularly in the enterprises where signals are often transmitted in non-line-of-sight (NLOS) due to partitions. To resolve this issue, 5G positioning supports Uplink Time Difference of Arrival (UTDOA), which is ideal for LOS use cases, and Field Strength Fingerprint-based Positioning, which is optimal for NLOS use cases. In the commercial version, Huawei’s 5G positioning solution includes a new feature: radio simultaneous localization and mapping (Radio SLAM). Aiming to automate fingerprint generation, optimization, and calibration, this feature eliminates the need to repeatedly collect fingerprints in changing environments while reducing the period of time used and increasing the accuracy. This adds extra convenience to quickly implement positioning in NLOS scenarios.
As signals may arrive at different base stations at different times, UTDOA requires extra beacons to correct the time signals arrive so that positions can be more accurately calculated. More often than not, site acquisition, high costs, and difficult O&M are the huge hurdles in commercially scaling up 5G positioning. To help overcome these hurdles, Huawei has developed an AI-based big data clustering iteration algorithm to optimize the latency of signals at these base stations. Doing away with the need for extra beacons, this algorithm enables enterprises to maximize the potential of UTDOA positioning in their campuses.
5G positioning can be implemented for CPEs, mobile phones, and industry terminals with internal modules that are insensitive to power consumption, like pallet trucks, material tractors, AGVs, mobile nursing vehicles, mobile phones, and tablets. Huawei has also been actively promoting low-power high-accuracy positioning (LPHAP). By the end of 2022, low-power positioning chips that can be used for more types of positioning terminals will be available in markets to support a standby time of one year. This will further diversify the applications of 5G positioning.
Huke Hu, Vice President of Huawei Cloud Core Network Product Line, shared Huawei’s strength in 5G positioning. “With abundant accumulation and experience, our solution meets the latest needs for scenario adaptability, platform openness, and service reliability of enterprises. Due to flexible scenario adaptation, positioning can be implemented locally in various campuses to support differentiated service requirements. With open standard interfacing, the positioning platforms in different industries can flexibly use our positioning capabilities. This will be the key to the high availability of 5G indoor positioning that has a broad prospect.”
Combining multiple services in both IT and OT domains into one 5G network has proven uniquely valuable in transforming industries with digital approaches. So far, this practice has been executed on a large scale in many countries. Positioning and communicating over a single network will save investment and simplify O&M. With E2E 5G positioning commercially available and its ecosystem maturing, this will enable more capabilities and more applications for 5G to serve vertical industries.