Analyzing the Cost to Develop an Indoor Navigation App

While developing an indoor navigation app, integration of indoor location-tracking can be a profitable step. But do you know how much it costs?

Updated 19 January 2024

Chandrapal Singh
Chandrapal Singh

Director at Appventurez

When you are inside large airports or shopping malls, tracking and reaching the exact location can be time-consuming. The infrastructure of these commercial buildings is mostly so complex that it can be challenging to figure out the way to reach your destination.

In such a situation, the first thing that might turn up in your head would be using GPS technology on your smartphone. However, these GPS-enabled outdoor navigation systems are based on satellite signals, which might not work accurately in congested areas or large buildings. At that moment, an indoor navigation app can be a real blessing for you to help you escape even in narrower spaces.

People often rely on navigation software on a regular basis. According to a study, over 77% of people use navigation apps almost every day. With this increasing market demand, developing a navigation app can be a profitable step. But do you know how much it costs? Well, let’s get an idea.

What Exactly Is an Indoor Navigation App?

An indoor navigation mobile application helps track people, assets, and their locations inside an enclosed building in real time. With these apps, users can find their positions on the map and reach their desired locations easily.

The GPS technology equipped in the devices also helps users find their location. However, it could not work in large enclosed infrastructure, such as department stores, airports, hotels, etc., unlike an indoor navigation application. But why? Let’s talk about it in the following section.

How Is An Indoor Navigation App Different From Outdoor GPS Navigation Apps?

Well, an indoor navigation app is somewhat similar to an outdoor navigation system based on GPS technology. The major difference is that the positioning system used in indoor navigation platform helps users find the desired location inside congested commercial buildings, where  GPS does not work.

The GPS signals used by outdoor navigation systems can not pass through walls and ceilings. Moreover, the GPS chips in these applications accept signals from satellites in space that help determine a location. However, what these chips receive can depend on several other factors, such as atmospheric conditions, the quality of chipsets, the geometry of satellites, signal blockage, etc. Therefore, the determined location might not be accurate all the time.

However, that’s not the case with indoor navigation software. They make use of advanced mathematical algorithms along with the device’s internal technologies to figure out its exact indoor position. These applications use infrared rays rather than satellite signals to determine the location of users or objects. Moreover, they also rely on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, the technologies focusing on location accuracy.

Features of an Indoor Navigation App: What Will Make It Sell Itself?

What do you think makes an app interactive for users? Well, there can be several things, such as app loading speed, intuitive interface, ease of accessibility, etc. However, the functionalities it offers to users play a critical role in determining the success of your app.

Here are some specific features of indoor navigation apps that one must include in their application:

features of an indoor navigation app

Tracking

Different computational algorithms and protocols along with positioning schemes integrated in indoor GPS system can help identify the exact location of the users’ device.

Mapping

With mapping, app publishers can help users find the shortest path to their destinations. In addition, the app’s visualization functionality gives an idea about the total number of people in the same infrastructure.

Navigation

What’s a location-tracking application useful for if it does not have an app navigation feature? Easy and seamless navigation is one of the most essential functionalities while building map app as it shows the fastest and shortest route possible to the users. Furthermore, it can also display the time and distance between their source and destination locations.

Monitoring

With monitoring, the app users can get insights into various crucial details, such as how many people entered or exited the building, what’s present strength in it, etc.

Easy App Login

Today, people don’t prefer entering all the details to sign up for a new account. Rather they prefer using their social media accounts to log in to the app and access it right away. Adding this feature in indoor navigation mobile apps can make the sign-in journey smooth and convenient for your users.

Push Notifications

You can also include the feature of sending push notifications in your indoor navigation app project. It can help the users by sharing pop-up messages leading them to the exact position of their preferred destination.

Administrative Functions

You can also include extended capacities for the app administrators that help them in marketing and advertising. With this feature, they can incorporate beacon marketing by determining the right time and place for the targeted users. beacons to develop advertising tactics for businesses.

Voice Control

Living in an era when customers want everything at their fingertips, these features can be of great help. Integrating a voice control functionality in your navigation app lets your customers use their voice commands to figure out the precise position of every location inside the building.

3D Map Projections

To make your app more interactive and engaging, utilizing the AR/VR technologies in your app can be the second-to-none option. It represents the map in a 3-D effect making it look more real and intuitive. You can easily include this feature by opting for professional AR/VR app development services and consultations.

Customized Design

Besides 3D interfaces, you can also customize the UI design of your app based on the structure of the buildings. It provides the users with a personalized experience while using your app since all the positions and points in the map are accurate and customized according to the specific location.

want to know the strategies thtat enhance user engagement on your mobile app

How Do Technologies Require to Develop an Indoor Navigation App Impact the Cost Aspect?

Although developing an indoor navigation app seems an easy job, it’s rather a complex process that requires the combination of various technologies. Let’s discuss what you will need to develop robust and hi-tech indoor navigation software and how they impact the development cost.

Visual Positioning System (VPS)

It is an advanced technology used by app developers that makes navigation convenient and seamless for users. One of the finest instances of this technology is Google’s Street View feature which depicts the user’s position in the AR-based outdoor view, by taking close buildings and areas as the reference points.

visual positioning system

However, completely relying on VPS for indoor positioning wouldn’t be a good choice as many locations or parts of them look identical in different locations. For example, the floors or rooms of a particular building could be the same, or government houses in a block could be similar to each other.

Besides this, integrating VPS can be costlier as it needs the installation of expensive sensors and cameras. Moreover, the maintenance cost of 3-D models or reference maps is higher as they are not readily available and limited to specific locations.

BLE Beacons

Beacon technology is yet one of the most popular options used for indoor navigation. The beacon devices are powerful and have long battery life. Moreover, they are around three meters of precise positioning range.

This technology is not new in the realm of indoor navigation and has been there for years now. One such example is the Gatwick Airport (US), where around 2000 battery-charged BLE beacons were installed for indoor navigation, giving around +/- 3 meters of accuracy. 

One of the best things about BLE technology is that it is typically inexpensive to create compared to other RF technologies, resulting in low development and maintenance costs. They can be easily integrated into Wi-Fi access points, making them an affordance option for accurate indoor positioning.

However, like other technologies, the BLE beacons have both merits and demerits regarding indoor positioning. Several factors can impact the decision to prefer this technology, such as the cost of devices, battery replacement expenses, users’ range concerning the installed beacons, etc. Therefore, the beacon technology is only effective under specific circumstances.

Visual Markers

Often known as ARReferenceImage or AR markers, visual markers are the images recognized by several AR SDKs including Google’s ARCore and Apple’s ARKit. The primary objective of these markers is to tell the application about the perfect placement of the AR content. A visual market is usually placed over some surface, such as on the floor, ceiling, or walls, and its accurate position is inserted in the cloud. Therefore, when the app starts scanning the place, it does not only show that area but also its exact matches in reality.

In order to get more precise results from virtual markers, it is crucial that you place them nearer to the starting point. For this, you can position them at a distance of 50 meters apart.

Developing an Indoor Navigation App: Significant Stages to Focus

As discussed earlier, indoor navigation applications are different from outdoor ones on various levels. Therefore, in order to build them, you must follow a strategic plan aligning with your business requirements and the functionalities you want to add to the app.

The best way to develop a powerful indoor mapping app is to consult an app development company that specializes in creating location-based apps. However, for general understanding, here are the fundamental stages one must follow to create an indoor navigation application.

Consultation Stage

In the pre-contract stage, the businesses approach a software development company to describe their business requirements based on which the latter formulates a strategic plan. This stage is crucial as the basic ideation, brainstorming, and initial analysis – all happen here.

The business analysts, project managers, and business owners talk regarding the app model and visualize it keeping all the critical factors impacting the development process in mind. The cost to develop an indoor navigation app, deadlines, availability of resources — everything is discussed beforehand to make the development seamless.

Moreover, the technical experts analyze the project requirements to finalize the tech stack needed to develop the indoor navigation software.

Design Stage

As the name suggests, this stage is all about creating prototypes, wireframes, user interfaces, graphical elements, mockups, mapping, and 3D objects. Here, the app designers work on the structure and appearance of the application, which might vary depending on whether it’s an Android indoor navigation app or an iOS one.

Development Stage

This stage focuses on adding all the features and functionalities making your location-tracking application suitable for enclosed buildings and indoor environments. The developers need to choose the right AR development kits and advanced tools to make the app compatible with different devices and offer a seamless experience to the users.

Post-Production Stage

In this stage, the indoor navigation app is tested to identify and fix potential errors in the application. Additional features can be incorporated and existing functionalities can be improved as per the app owner’s requirements to enhance the user experience. Basically, this stage is mainly into providing maintenance and support services to businesses.

Factors That Influence the Cost to Develop an Indoor Navigation App

Well, the answer to this question is — it depends. The cost to develop an indoor navigation app is estimated by evaluating a range of variables.

factors that affect indoor navigation app development cost

App Complexity: Features and Functionalities to be Integrated

General features like navigation, tracking, and push notifications are affordable compared to advanced features like voice-based location tracking, 3D maps, AR-based navigation, etc. The more advanced features in your indoor navigation app, the greater will be the cost of development.

The Choice of Platforms on Which You Want to Run Your App

The cost of developing an indoor navigation app also depends on what platform you want it to run on. For instance, if you want to develop a native app for the iOS platform, it will cost you more as you need different technologies, tools, and programming languages. Similarly, developing an Android indoor navigation app will require technical expertise and resources specific to Android app development.

However, hybrid or cross-platform applications are comparatively cheaper than native apps to build as the same tools and tech stacks can be used to build apps for different platforms. But the drawback is that their functionality and performance would be poorer than the native ones.

The Type of Development Resources

The indoor navigation app development cost also depends on the type of development resources you are hiring for the project. In general, you can hire freelance developers, in-house developers, or outsourcing companies to build an indoor navigation app.

Professional AR VR app development services can be relied upon for making a robust and immersive indoor navigation mobile application. Although you get top-notch applications, hiring a professional app development firm will be more expensive compared to freelancing services. However, freelancers might lack proficiency in certain areas due to a lack of experience.

The Location of the Development Company

Companies in developed countries like the USA, the UK, etc., normally charge higher than developing countries like India or Ukraine.

cost of software developers based on loaction

Designing User Interface and Upscaling Experience

A more appealing and catchy design incorporated with advanced UX features and graphical elements might cost you more. However, using the best design practices, you can save both time and money while crafting a top-notch navigation app.

What Is the Average Cost of Developing an Indoor Navigation App?

In keeping all the aforementioned factors in mind, the average cost to develop an indoor navigation app with regular features might cost around $20000-$40000.

On the other hand, the cost of a full-fledged application with hi-tech features and advanced functionalities would start from around $20000 and might go beyond $100000.

Rest, the indoor navigation app’s production expense will also depend on the specific business needs and the choice of functionalities to be integrated into the application.

How to Reduce the Cost of Developing an Indoor Navigation App?

Now, since we have discussed the factors impacting the cost of developing an indoor navigation app, let’s take a look at some of the tactics that might help reduce the overall development expenses.

Reusing Existing Technology and Code

Reusing existing code can significantly optimize the indoor navigation app development process and enhance productivity on a large scale. The development teams can repurpose the pre-existing code and technology to integrate similar features used in the former software. It not only saves time and effort but also reduces the indoor navigation app’s production expense.

Building a Minimum Viable Product

Focusing on a lean development approach such as developing an MVP in the initial phase of your indoor navigation app project can also help reduce the overall cost of development. Since the cost of MVP development is comparatively lower than the original product, you can start with the former first, avoiding wasting time and money.

Once you completely test the MVP and are satisfied with the results, you can focus on developing the primary product – your indoor navigation app.

Offshore Outsourcing to a Lower-cost Location

In order to work on a specific project, you need to build a team of developers, QA testers, designers, and project managers having domain expertise. This process can be an expensive option, especially for startup companies.

In such a scenario, one of the best options is to outsource the app development project to a location where the development cost is relatively low. Outsourcing app development companies generally have a full stack of experienced resources proficient in building a custom application based on client requirements.

Moreover, they follow a well-established and systematic development approach, helping them deliver a high-quality product in lesser time and investment possible. 

How Can Appventurez Help Develop a Top-notch Indoor Navigation App?

The navigation and map applications might not be the flashiest ones in terms of popularity; however, they have been one of the most widely used apps in users’ day-to-day lives. In fact, according to Statista, the total revenue in the navigation segment is projected to reach $1.54 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR value of 7.8%.

Looking at such insightful facts, adding location-tracking functionality or developing an indoor navigation app could be a profitable step for businesses. However, turning an AR-based, full-fledged indoor navigation app project into reality is challenging. Moreover, the indoor navigation app development cost can make you pay through the nose if you don’t get the right AR VR app development company to build it.

At Appventurez, the primary focus of the app development team is to understand your business requirements and give their best to create an interactive and robust indoor navigation app. We have highly experienced developers that acknowledge your needs and help fetch the desired results you always wanted.

want to develop a fast and interactive indoor navigation app

FAQs

Q. How long does it take to develop a navigation app?

It is highly unpredictable to offer an exact timeline in which a navigation app can be built. It depends on how complex an app is and what kind of functionalities one wants in it. On average, completing an indoor navigation app project can take from 3-4 weeks to 9-10 weeks depending on the app’s complexity.

Q. What is the role of AR in indoor navigation?

AR-based indoor navigation apps offer directions to users on a screen overlaid on the top of real environments. These directions are viewed with a camera of a smart device, such as a smartphone or tablet. It assists users in quickly navigating inside the buildings without any references or maps.

Q. What technology is used in indoor navigation app development?

Indoor Positioning System (IPS) or Indoor location tracking is used to track locations in indoor navigation. It’s basically based on determining the position of the user’s devices, due to which this process is also known as client-side positioning.

Chandrapal Singh
Chandrapal Singh

Director at Appventurez

Director and one of the Co-founders at Appventurez, Chandrapal Singh has 10+ years of experience in iOS app development. He captains client coordination and product delivery management. He also prepares preemptive requisites and guides the team for any possible issues on a given project.


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