Forkbeard. The name & its meaning

Viking Ship

“Forkbeard” does not fall into the modern trend of descriptive company names like “Shopify” or “Deliveroo”. We are used to getting a lot of questions about what the name means. Hence, we wanted to spend a few minutes giving you the context to our company name. As you will see, it is rich in meaning and fits our purpose on several dimensions. So let us explain.

After humanity has solved web and outdoor navigation with search engines and GPS satellites/chips, indoor navigation has remained the last frontier of human navigation. We at Forkbeard work on this difficult problem and have developed a solution to position smartphones indoors with unparalleled accuracy and cost efficiency. This enables reliable and scalable indoor navigation, as well as a plethora of use cases that can build on it.

Forkbeard enabling indoor navigation

To position smartphones, we use Bluetooth Low Energy and ultrasound signals.

Bluetooth® was named after Harald Blåtand who was a Viking king and ruled over Norway in 900 A.D. He was famous for his abilities to connect and communicate with different people and cultures. Very fitting for a technology that enables wireless communication between different devices.

With Bluetooth® being part of our indoor positioning technology and our Norwegian origin and culture, a Viking inspired name felt right for us. Especially, since Vikings were explorers of new frontiers outdoors, similar to us who our pioneering the last frontier of navigation indoors.

Basic indoor positioning was done first using exclusively Bluetooth signals. Unfortunately, it is not possible to say 100% if somebody is in a room or just close to the room using Bluetooth technology because it penetrates walls and windows. Furthermore, the speed of Bluetooth signals does not allow the smartphone to accurately time the arrival of the signal which leads to a deterioration of the 2D accuracy. This is why we chose to supplement our indoor positioning technology with ultrasound. It’s hard but the rewards are worth it: 100% room accuracy and reliable 2D accuracy of 30cm.  

Forkbeard’s accuracy is enabled by ultrasound signals

This made us ask ourselves, who succeeded King Blåtand? It was his son Sweyn Forkbeard. Ironically, Sweyn Forkbeard was known for his excellent navigational expertise. And this is when our company name was decided: Forkbeard.

Portrait of Sweyn Forkbeard
Sweyn Forkbeard

If you liked this little excursion into the history of indoor navigation and Vikings, follow us on LinkedIn & Medium to find more content on the emerging industry that is indoor positioning.

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