Four Places Implementing Indoor Navigation Technology

Indoor navigation is a technology that helps people navigate inside large buildings. Older map systems are rarely user-friendly. In many cases, people skip using large map displays because they’re too confusing. Indoor GPS apps allow users to see where they are in real time. Businesses benefit from this technology from collecting valuable visitor location statistics. In this post, you will learn about four locations that benefit from indoor navigation technology.

Many hospitals are massive structures. In addition, a hospital often has confusing signage. It is easy to get lost in a massive hospital parking lot. Once you get out of the car, finding the right area is often a hassle. Indoor GPS technology enables people to quickly get to the right hospital room. A hospital is often a place where a visitor needs to find their location fast. Indoor navigational technology in a hospital moves focuses away from workers having to give as much direction information. In turn, this time savings can allow hospital staff to work on other tasks.

You know how confusing an airport is. Landing in an airport you’ve never been to is often stressful. Indoor navigational apps are allowing visitors to find their gate with ease. Changes in flight times mean a visitor may need to quickly find their terminal. Indoor GPS always lets visitors always know where they are. Hungry travelers love knowing the direct path to the nearest food court.

College campuses are often large areas with many buildings. Almost nothing is more embarrassing than walking into the wrong classroom. Campuses are implementing indoor location technology to ensure students find classrooms easily. Many college campuses have libraries, gyms, and food facilities. Indoor navigation apps ensure busy students never waste time getting lost.

A stadium holds large events including sports games and concerts. As you know, finding your seat in a stadium is often a stressful experience. In many cases, you will be surrounded by thousands of people while at a stadium. Using an indoor GPS app helps you find the nearest bathroom or food stand. Concerts often have the lights dimmed in a stadium, making navigation nearly impossible. Using an indoor GPS app enables concertgoers to more accurately find their destination.

In closing, indoor navigation is vastly improving how visitors get around. Hospitals use indoor GPS systems to let visitors quickly find a room. Airports use indoor GPS to let people find their terminals and gates with ease. New students love being able to use an app to find their classroom or dorm. Indoor tracking technology takes the frustration out of finding your seat in a stadium. It’s no wonder more businesses are starting to implement indoor navigation technology.

A GPS System For The Mall?

Have you ever gotten lost in an unfamiliar airport or been separated from your companions in a large shopping mall? While satellite based GPS systems can help us from getting lost when we’re driving, we’ve so far been on our own when it comes to large indoor locations like airports, malls, museums or hospitals. In the near future, however, indoor navigation GPS promises to make such lost in the supermarket moments a thing of the past.

Indoor Vs. Outdoor GPS Systems

Traditional GPS satellite systems use microwave radio frequencies to calculate distances and transmit location data. Microwave signals quickly become scattered when encountering walls, roofs and other solid objects within indoor locations. This makes satellite based GPS largely ineffective for indoor navigation systems and is a major reason for the delay in useful indoor GPS applications. However, with the growing popularity of short range wireless technologies like Bluetooth, RFID, and Wi-Fi positioning systems, indoor location systems are lest costly to develop and easier to implement than they have been in the past. Non-radio based technologies, such as visual marker positioning and magnetic positioning are also looking like promising options for indoor navigation system design.

And Indoor Mapping System Based On You

As indoor GPS systems become more affordable and common, look for them to be implemented in large public spaces such as malls, hospitals, hotels, sports arenas, airports and museums. Instead of stumbling around lost, searching for the “you are here” sign, shoppers and tourists of the future may just have to check their smartphone screen to keep from getting lost indoors. Future applications may allow users of indoor GPS systems to easily locate each other if they get separated in public.

A New Level Of Independence For The Visually Impaired

One of the first implementations for indoor GPS will likely be technology for the visually impaired. Indoor navigation systems will be able to help impaired folks navigate buildings unfamiliar to them and appreciate the content of museums, grocery stores and the like. Indoor GPS could also be custom programmed for a blind or visually disabled customer’s home so that they could achieve a greater level of day to day independence.

Virtual And Augmented Reality in Real Space

While most uses of indoor GPS might seem practical and serious, the technology could also unleash a new era in virtual reality applications, including gaming. An augmented reality participant could experience an imagined world that feels even more lifelike and vibrant than ever before using the new technology.

While indoor uses of GPS technology are in their infancy, the technology is becoming more and more common. It is currently mostly used for business and industrial applications, but could begin to be adopted by residential users in the very near future. Until then, we’d be wise to keep looking forward to the coming indoor GPS era, though we shouldn’t give up our maps just yet.

Great Benefits of Indoor Navigation

A business that embraces technology like indoor navigation can thrive easily in this competitive world. The technology has become very relevant in various fields of business because it can work in a place where a GPS system doesn’t. For instance, it can help you know the position of a smartphone that is located in an indoor environment. Here are some of the benefits of investing in the indoor navigation technology applications.

Advantages of the Navigation Technology

Versatility: It’s versatility is unmatchable to other navigation technologies. For instance, in other navigation technologies, if the device that was emitting a signal is switched off, then the navigation will show that it’s was taking the signal from an emitting system that has gone off. But for indoor navigation, it can adjust to the mode and start behaving as if it wasn’t taking instructions from an emitting device.

Accuracy: Indoor navigation is more accurate than a GPS system. A regular GPS can provide vague results when being used indoors. The indoor navigation system, on the other hand, will utilize artificial intelligence, the Internet, and multisensory technology in giving you the accurate results.

No need for additional hardware: The indoor navigation uses Bluetooth Low Energy Technology (BLE), and Wi-Fi connectivity. It can utilize both technologies at the same time for optimal results. Other systems like GPS require some additional hardware to be functional.

Multiple recognition: If your business has multi-level buildings, then you should consider investing in the indoor technology. It’s very reliable because it can recognize that there are other levels in the building that it is located.

Other applications of the technology

Since the technology has many advantages, it has been embraced as a solution for executing various applications such as:

• Tracking workers in industries and factories. Most factories have several workers moving around all the time carrying out various production works, and they can’t be easily monitored manually. In fact, it reduces time wastage because supervisors or managers don’t have to move around. Instead, they channel that time into doing other important tasks.
• Multimillion organizations that deal with sensitive or expensive products like the FBI can use the technology in monitoring visitors once they enter the building. The multi-level functionality makes it a very valuable technology for security companies.
• The technology is also applicable in shopping malls. The navigation technology has an ability to use the existing standards in determining the location of a mobile device like a smartphone.

Key Applications of Indoor Navigation

The blind people can now navigate easily within the hospital’s facilities. In addition to the mobile navigation features, this technology comes with a voice assistance application. The hospitals can add another dimension to their healthcare services if they take advantage of this technology. The hospitals that use this technology can remain self-sustainable while ensuring the safety of the patients.

Wheelchair accessible routes
Navigation for people with disabilities can be quite hectic without this technology. The development of the wheelchair-accessible routes also aids in navigation from one part of a complex hospital to another. It is quite difficult for the patients with disabilities to navigate from the wards to the clinics, especially during an emergency. Including the wheelchair accessibility into the indoor navigation regimen is one of the sure ways to improve the healthcare services in the contemporary hospitals.

Indoor navigation can make a huge impact when it comes to the collaboration and teamwork of the caregivers and the movement of visitors and patients. This technology can help the visitors to find their way to the emergency areas. In the healthcare sector, this technology can help to:

• Reduce the workloads at the information desks
• Help the patients to arrive on time to their respective areas of treatment
• Identify the positions of the various staff members and equipment at all times

Shopping malls
With the indoor navigation technology in place, going to the shopping mall can be a great experience. There is a vast array of goods at the shelves, and finding these items in a short while can be a daunting task. This technology helps to locate these products by availing such information on the mobile phone. Even if you are shopping in a multistory mall, you will get the precise details in terms of specific floor and shelf number. In summary, this technology can make the shopping experience more enjoyable and rewarding since the customers will discover new possibilities that will improve their experience. Indoor navigation apps can improve your shopping experience and increase the revenues. In addition, the data can give plenty of information about the visitor flows into the building. Such information can help to heighten the security or enable the entrepreneurs to make better business decisions.

Besides displaying the locations of the various items in the supermarket, this technology can also guide the customers, with the help of arrows, to find them. The mall operators can ensure that their customers are happy. The happy customers will not only stay longer, but they will also come back often. Customers love such value-added services that guarantee convenience while improving the overall shopping experience. As such, a mall that invests in this technology can increase its revenue by expanding its customer base.

5 Ways Indoor Navigation Can Change Your Life

After the success of satellite mapping and global positioning systems, tech companies have now turned their eyes to chalking out the interior of homes, walls and offices. The biggest drawback of GPS is that it fails to penetrate outer surfaces of buildings and hence, cannot see inside. Indoor navigation system aims to change that.

But why are we developing this? What is it’s use? Here’s the answer:

Shopping Center Navigation

Flickr / 11x16 Design Studio
Flickr / 11×16 Design Studio

Retailers are always looking for ways to attract customers. However, an abundance of stores in a particular location may mean that a potential client never reaches the store they need and gives up midway. With indoor navigation, smart phones can now tell users where each item is located and exactly how to reach it. Targeted adverts, discounts and offers can further tempt them, and thus, help both customer and vendor.

Helping Emergency Responders

Flickr / Trailers of the East Coast
Flickr / Trailers of the East Coast

While 911 can trace the call of a person to a locality, it cannot give Law Enforcement Officers information regarding the victim’s location in the building or their condition. This problem can be easily solved using Indoor Positioning. Not only can the system pinpoint the building with accuracy but also give details about the victim’s elevation, i.e., which floor they are on.

Providing Valuable Information to Firefighters

Flickr / morgenstille
Flickr / morgenstille

Indoor navigation often uses a combination of technologies like RF signals and WiFi to map out a location. If someone is inside they can inform firefighters about their exact position in order to have a better chance for rescue. Moreover, comparing previously collected building information to the present scenario could give responders an idea about which sections of the building have collapsed and what routes to avoid.

Airport Navigation

Flickr / whity
Flickr / whity

Airports are confusing even at the best of times. Nothing can mar the excitement of a trip better than getting lost at the airport. Now with indoor navigation, we can easily make our way to our destination with minimal hassle. No one has to miss their flight because they were at the wrong terminal. In fact some success has been seen regarding this already.

Helping the Visually Impaired

Flickr / Radiofabrik
Flickr / Radiofabrik

People with visual impairments can gain new levels of freedom with indoor navigation. Since the system chalks out information at close range, it can suggest routes in unfamiliar buildings leading to less chances of accidents. All they would need is a smartphone.

New Trends in Indoor Navigation

The Global Positioning System, commonly known as GPS, was a vanguard form of global map tracking. This technology utilizes satellite signals to determine the target device’s location on the globe. Widely used for mapping applications such as driving directions or trail navigation, GPS unfortunately fell short on indoor navigation and target location within structures as satellite signals fail to penetrate roofs and walls.

In response to a market and stakeholder needs for indoor navigation capabilities, developers created a new technology based upon wi-fi and beacons to locate people or objects within a 3-D interior environment. Effectively functioning as an “internal GPS,” most systems deliver automatic positioning via a client-based application on a handheld device.

Often, with emergent technology, it is difficult to picture real-world applications. However, this market-driven technology had a fast rollout across industries and sectors. It is projected that indoor navigation will see immense growth in the coming year due to technological advances, cost reduction, and consumer awareness driving demand and cascading development. Here are some of the trends to expect to see in the coming year.

Public Place and Accessibility Applications

From airports and subway stations to localized tourism maps, wi-fi and beacon positioning can make getting lost a problem of the past. Client-based mobile applications can send and receive messaging from a single user’s handheld device and provide directions, maps, or any customized content based upon position policy or query.

Extensively adaptable and easily scalable, this new technology has already been rolled out in such public places as college campuses and international airports. From the ability to assist an individual in getting from point A to point B, to sending targeted messaging based upon their location, indoor navigation will change the way we interact with public environments.

The technology is being explored in applications to guide the visually impaired through spaces, sending audio queues to the user with appropriate directional prompts or messaging. Museums are also using it to provide self-government tour narratives. We can expect to see rapid advancement in accessibility applications as stakeholders grow interest in new markets.

Commercial Applications

One of the first sectors to pick up wi-fi and beacon positioning technology was, of course, the commercial sector. Originally applied as an efficient way to map and track inventory and navigate through warehouses, the technology was almost instantly found to have far-reaching commercial prospects.

Now, for instance, marketers can determine the exact location of a user within a mall, including previously visited stores and walking direction. This information can be used to serve back hyper-targeted and personalized advertisements or promotional messaging.

No matter what sector, we’re sure to see big growth in indoor navigation this year.

Indoor Positioning System Explained: What You Need To Know About Indoor Navigation in Canada

Indoor positioning system, IPS is a technology that can be used to track people and objects inside structures. Typically, the technology uses devices such as tablets and smartphones to show the location of an individual within a building. Unlike GPS or GLONASS which only works in two dimensions and can’t give a location within a building with the required level of precision, indoor positioning can penetrate walls to provide an exact location of a user within a structure. When using a GPS receiver to track an object within a building, the margin error is often so large; bigger than the structure itself especially if it’s a small space like a grocery store. With the use of indoor GPS systems gaining traction among businesses in Canada, here’s what you need to know about this fascinating new technology:

Major Industry Players Are Working On Indoor GPS

Google, Apple, and Microsoft are all working on indoor GPS technology, and all are apparently making huge strides towards a solution. All these tech giants are working on unique versions of Wi-Fi based indoor navigation systems with their current focus being on the creation of base maps to make the solutions more helpful.

Indoor Positioning Needs Indoor Maps

Without accurate three-dimensional maps in the equation, the information provided by indoor GPS inadequate. The primary use of this technology is indoor navigation, and for the information to be helpful, the application needs access to comprehensive indoor maps and floor plans. All the major players (Google, Apple, and Nokia) are developing these resources through their respective proprietors.

Indoor GPS Is In Demand for a Vast Array of Reasons

Hospitals, companies, and even governments are in the market for reliable indoor GPS solutions. Hospitals and large businesses such as malls want to use the technology for easier indoor navigation. Other companies want to use the information to better market to their clients and enhance service provision. Some governments are planning to incorporate indoor GPS into the emergency response for faster search and rescue operations and save lives.

Indoor GPS Has Its Shortcomings Too

Indoor positioning can give the location of an object or a person, but not their direction or orientation. This makes the process of giving directions via indoor GPS a lot more challenging. Additional information is required to tell the direction the object in question is facing. The incorporation of micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) in the indoor GPS as well as adding an electronic compass to a receiver can provide the necessary information vis-à-vis the direction and orientation of an object.

The use of indoor positioning systems is expected to become a reality soon. Indoor navigation will be a lot easier, and major beneficiaries of this technology are expected to be hospitals and businesses operating in large buildings.

The Functional Benefits at Indoor Navigation for the General Public

GPS is increasingly used by many people to assist them with their outdoor navigation efforts. With the use of GPS, you may be able to easily and quickly find your way to a specific destination. However, once you arrive, you are on your own to navigate your way through the building. For example, you may need to reach a specific suite in a large office building. This may cause you to look at site maps located next to the elevator system, ask for help or wander around in search of the right suite on your own. While this is common at the moment, indoor navigation is changing this experience for the general public.

Access to a Handheld Map of the Building
Indoor navigation essentially puts a map of a specific building in your hands. You could use a site map situated in a main area of the building when you walk in to get your bearings, but you cannot take this map with you as you proceed to navigate through the hallways and corridors. Instead, you must commit that map to memory and hope you make the right turns. With indoor navigation, however, you have a handheld map of the building on your smartphone, and this makes it easier for you to navigate straight to the suite you are looking for.

Never Get Lost Again
Some large buildings are unfortunately very maze-like, and you may have gotten lost in airports, shopping centers, office buildings or more in the past. This technology, however, can tell you exactly how to find the restrooms, the nearest exit, a special service department or something else you are looking for. You no longer have to rely on the good graces of strangers to give you verbal directions along the way.

Obtain Faster Service From Emergency Responders
While it can be inconvenient for you to not know where to go in a large building, it can become a dangerous situation when first responders do not know where to go. Firefighters, EMS workers and police officers all need to navigate to a specific location in a building to find those in need of their services. With indoor navigation, they can easily make their way to those in need in the fastest way, and this improves their response time drastically. In an emergency situation, seconds are crucial.

As you can see, indoor navigation offers numerous benefits. While you cannot control your emergency responders’ use of this technology, you can begin to use it yourself to enjoy some of these benefits. While it is relatively new technology, there are some apps available for immediate download that enable you to start using it today.

A Closer Look at Practical Applications of Indoor Navigation Systems

While outdoor navigation technology is commonly used by many people on a daily basis, such as with the GPS system on their smartphone’s mapping function, indoor navigation technology is less well known. Like GPS technology, indoor navigation helps you to more quickly and easily get to your desired location without getting lost, but its functionality is indoors. It works by mapping the indoor environment of a specific building and charting the most efficient route from one point to another. It even shows your current location in the building to help you get your bearings. There are a wide range of uses for it, and these are some of the most practical and functional applications of an indoor navigation system.

In a Hospital Environment
Hospitals are huge complexes, and while they may be relatively easier for medical workers to navigate because of a familiarity with the setting, they can seem overly complicated to guests and patients. A guest, for example, may want to travel from a patient’s room to the cafeteria or gift shop in the fastest route possible. A patient who has recently checked out may need to visit the on-site pharmacy before heading home. These are two common uses of this technology in a hospital environment.

In a University Setting
Just as hospitals can seem complex, universities can also be challenging for students and even for some professors or staff members to navigate. Keep in mind that some universities have more than 40,000 or 50,000 students as well as additional staff members, and they often have dozens of structures spread across a campus that may cover several dozen square acres or more. Whether you are a new or established student, finding your way to classes on the first day of a semester or even heading to the library or a service office you have never visited can seem confusing. Indoor navigation, however, can provide you with instructions for reaching your desired location with ease.

In Large Entertainment Venues
Large entertainment venues also be complicated to navigate. This includes everything from resorts and casinos to indoor gaming venues and more. If you find yourself in an indoor entertainment venue and need assistance reaching your hotel room, the hotel restaurant, the casino’s concert hall or something else, you can easily pull out your indoor navigation app to help you reach your destination.

There are numerous instances in many people’s lives when you do not know exactly which direction to turn. You could ask strangers for help or use posted signs, if they are available, to make educated guesses. However, a better idea may be to rely on technology to accurately guide you.

Indoor Navigation – A Sound Surveillance and Security Solution

Every smart business owner keeps an eye on their spending so they can prevent waste and loss. If too much money goes out the door, there will be no funds left to support the business. You can apply this same concept to the actual business establishment. In brick and mortar businesses, surveillance is truly important because keeps everyone safe and raises employee morale. When the work environment is secure, employees are more productive and goals are easier to achieve. With the use of indoor navigation, employers can enhance their existing security systems.

Open and Honest Monitoring

There is a thin line between surveillance and the invasion of privacy. Many employers may think twice about indoor navigation systems because they may seem intrusive. Workplace privacy laws do exist, but this type of implementation may discourage a reticient person. Some workers may perform half-heartedly if they know a monitoring system is watching their every move. To prevent this feeling from emerging, an employer should meet with their employees to show them how the system works. This will prevent paranoia and misinformation from spreading throughout the workplace.

Industries Suited for Indoor Navigation

This security measure may be a bit much for certain professions and industires. Paranoia will surely emerge if a company uses this implement in a relaxed setting. Indoor monitoring is a great solution for Fortune 500 companies and businesses with high net worths. It is also a good fit for construction foremen, shipping supervisors, and material suppliers. In these professions, there is constant movement and a need to communicate at all tmes. Indoor navigation simplifies this process by revealing the location of every manager and employee.

Responsible and Acceptable Use

This application can be an asset to any company if the management uses it responsibly. It is an advanced tool used to pinpoint the location of a person while they are working. The employee or individual being monitored needs to download an app or wear a device so the company can analyze their habits. Throughout the day, the designated observer will watch the person to see how well they are performing. When the workday ends, the employee regains their privacy and the device goes off. Employers should not use it to create suspicion or abuse the worker through intimidation.

Monitoring At Its Best

Problems can always occur, but there are very few complaints against indoor navigation. It is not just a great way to monitor employees, it is also a good guide assistant for visitors. Surveilling and tracking movements is truly a cinch with this state of the art implementation. It may seem imposing to some, but it promotes discipline and productiveness when used correctly.