You Don’t Have to Keep Getting Lost on Campus
How mobile wayfinding apps are helping colleges and universities solve navigation challenges and provide a more connected student experience.
It’s that time again. Parents loading up their cars, driving a few hundred miles, and dropping off their young adults at college. Since we’re right in the middle of back-to-school season, we thought it would be beneficial to take a minute and talk about how digital wayfinding systems, like LogicJunction’s, can improve the student experience and make “life on campus” a whole lot easier!
In full transparency, we spend a lot of time talking about healthcare on our blog, however, today’s large universities and colleges mimic the same challenges that hospitals face:
- Campuses are made up of many buildings that look the same
- Most campuses have grown and expanded significantly over time
- Daily pedestrian traffic is high
- The frequency of new visitors who need help finding their way around is consistent
While there are many forms of digital wayfinding that can help a person’s understanding of where they are (point a) and provide guidance to get them to their destination (point b), such as physical signage and digital kiosks, this article is focused on mobile wayfinding apps that can be used via an app on a person’s smartphone.
With nearly 100% of students owning a smartphone or tablet, it’s the perfect time for colleges and universities to supplement printed campus maps with mobile mapping systems that use real-time data and are accessible to students 24/7. In fact, administrators of leading educational institutions have already started using this technology to improve the connectivity of people, places, and things on their campuses.
Okay, so back to our topic. Just how can your college community benefit from a blue dot mobile wayfinding app?
Universities want to be as welcoming as possible to prospective students and parents, yet campuses are so widespread and lack clear signs to make finding locations easy. Mobile wayfinding apps can identify key points-of-interest on a map and make them searchable via a directory. From any location on campus, you can enter where you’re heading, and the app takes care of the rest! It tells you where you are, and then automatically guides you right to it – just like GPS in a car.
Many blue dot mobile apps also offer a variety of location-based features. Imagine having visibility into open study areas, alerts for events happening on campus, coupons for parent-friendly restaurants, and directions to nearest coffee shops.
Construction challenges will always be present as campuses continue to grow and remodel to keep up with modern technology. With so many one-way streets and odd walking paths between buildings, navigating around construction just adds to the complexity of the college experience. Digital wayfinding apps can provide instant updates to walking routes based on construction detours, giving students, visitors, and faculty an easier way to get to class, grab some lunch, or arrive to their meetings on-time.
Colleges frequently have guest speakers and events which bring an influx of guests to campus, including extra car traffic. Whether it’s an out-of-state team needing directions, or a fan that’s looking for the nearest concession stand or bookstore to get some pre-game swag, your wayfinding app will help you route incoming traffic to best parking spot based on the event’s location, as well as improve accessibility to other amenities and landmarks.
The location of administrative offices and departments get shuffled frequently, making tracking down faculty members more difficult when you need help. A mobile wayfinding app is at the core of keeping up with these changes because it allows you to manage information updates within a content management system, right alongside their x and y coordinates on a digital map. You can even export the updated data and maps for internal use. For example, you can circulate memos about the location of the Finance Department, along with the new office numbers of the faculty members. Having a method to track and export updated information improves internal operations.
Uber and Amazon
How many one-time visitors pay a visit to your campus on a daily basis? It used to be managable, but now think about all those Amazon deliveries, nightly pizza orders, and Uber pick-ups. A wayfinding app not only helps ensure packages are delivered to the right building/room/department on campus, but also that rideshare drivers shuttle people to the correct drop-off areas on campus.
Mobile wayfinding apps help students connect with campus life.
When does the dining hall close on Sunday? What’s on the menu today? Where can I grab a late-night cup of coffee? With LogicJunction’s mobile app, you can combine important information about campus services into a single, searchable system and help student’s stay connected with college life’s important details!
Since mobile wayfinding apps are location-aware systems, they play a part in campus safety initiatives. Student’s can enable location sharing with friends and family members so their location can be identified at any time. In the same way they can report the location of suspicious activity to and campus safety and law enforcement.
There you have it! A mobile wayfinding app for your college or university is one big step towards a more connected educational experience. By adding a real-time navigation experience to your mobile strategy you can:
- Reduce anxiety for new students (and their parents) acclimating to college life
- Reduce the time faculty and students spend giving directions to visitors
- Save time for students and faculty by providing real-time information, maps, and routes
- Improve operational processes required to manage campus growth and department changes
- Add location-aware technology to campus safety programs
We hope you enjoyed reading about the common ways that mobile wayfinding technology can benefit a college or university. If you’re an administrator, faculty member, or student reading this article, drop us a line at email@example.com and let us know of other ways our technology can be helpful to you!