What is Wayfinding Technology? And How Beneficial Are Interactive Wayfinding Solutions for Enterprises?
When Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian explorer from the late-middle ages, used his cartographic skills to outline a map of the American continent in order to differentiate it from Asia’s eastern boundaries, many explorers suspected his navigational abilities as the sketch did not comply with Columbus’ conjecture.
However, his discovery was soon acknowledged and his navigational abilities were lauded across the European continent for introducing them to the map of the ‘New World’. Vespucci’s work gained so much popularity that an entire continent was named after him!
In today’s world, satellite-based navigation using ‘smart’ devices has taken over traditional practices involving the use of compass & charts. GPS is the term associated with locating the exact position of an object or person using the earth’s geo-coordinates.
Which means that there won’t be any more debates about whose map is right. Right?
Adaptive Wayfinding Technology
As our technological journey heads north, wayfinding & navigation have been increasingly used for locating and reaching points of interest. But what happens when you need navigation indoors, especially in large facilities spread over large tracts of land?
Can you imagine finding points of interest in a huge resort, an airport, a zoo, a shopping mall or a convention center without a guide?
As GPS does not work indoors due to infrastructural constraints, what is needed for accurate wayfinding is an indoor positioning and navigation system which works on multiple ‘smart’ platforms and records location data in real time.
This is known as adaptive wayfinding technology – it aids in real-time wayfinding, supports location-based services and serves attendant purposes such as geofencing.
Added to these, the best indoor wayfinding system also works offline, drawing location coordinates from strategically placed hardware such as beacons or RFID tags.
Smart Wayfinding Technology – Industry Applicability
Smart technology refers to applications and devices which successfully integrate multiple features into one, holistic interface. Let’s take social media apps for instance – a few years ago they were predominantly used for exchanging info through text messages only. Nowadays, the same apps can be used for messaging, uploading pics/videos, sharing live location, and transferring funds among others.
This evolution in technological integration gives rise to dynamic, hybrid apps, of which smart wayfinding technology is a product.
This section explores the industry applicability of wayfinding technology, outlining the advantages varied facilities can get by adopting this disruptive tech.
How has museum management evolved over the years, especially in the context of readily available digital tools which allow access to multiple audio-visual sources of information? Do museums still enthrall visitors the way they did earlier? Or are museums themselves a thing of the past
Well, museums can still stay relevant and enhance visitor experience if they turn to indoor navigation technologies.
Wayfinding technology-based apps which incorporate location-based services in a museum environment amplify visitor experience by enabling visitors choose a path within the facility, get exhibit info relayed directly to their smart devices, receive vital updates regarding the no-go zones & events, etc
Zoos are spaces for fun, frolic, and facts. However, given the space in relation to the time spent by visitors, it is often the case that a big chunk of them do not get to see most, if not all, specimens from the animal kingdom in a single day.
This problem occurs because visitors are unable to plan their route, thus narrowing down their options of what to see and when. While the feline section draws a lot of attention & time, we realize that by the end of the day that the reptiles section hasn’t been updated at all!
At this juncture, it becomes important for the Zoo management to focus on vital visitor experience signs to keep them engaged in a bid to ensure brand vitality.
It’s in this scenario that zoo wayfinding technology becomes imperative for adoption as it doubles-up as a ‘smart’ interface between visitors and the facility managers. When users can access the entire floor plan of the zoo, bookmark their locations, get notified about events, use animal face recognition to understand species better, and locate their family & friends with ease – all on their smart devices, the zoo definitely scores better feedback.
Extensive facilities such as international airports face a constant challenge when addressing visitors’ concerns and queries. Despite their best efforts to provide reliable responses to travelers, there emerge instances when the airport management needs the support of technology to ensure smooth operation of the facility.
Indoor wayfinding & navigation technology is the most appropriate interface which can be adopted by large airports across the globe. As mentioned earlier in this post, when this tech can be dovetailed with features such as geofencing, location-based services and instant messaging options, it truly translates into an adaptive technology.
Educational campuses spread over a large area inevitably need indoor positioning & wayfinding solutions for accurate campus navigation. With real-time information made available on users’ smart devices, locating points of interest becomes effortless.
In addition to navigation and wayfinding, the ‘campus navigation’ platform can be customized to aid in event management, schedule courses, and relay notifications & alerts among others.