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What Is an Indoor Navigation System?

So, what exactly is an indoor navigation system?

The easiest way to understand it is to see it as a kind of indoor GPS system.

Think back to college, when you were trying to figure out the exact location of the building, the hall, and the classroom where you had your philosophy class. You probably spent forever trying to decipher a tiny campus map, asking people if they knew where to go, or just roaming the halls until you happened to stumble upon the classroom you were looking for. But they’re not much help when you’re inside of an office building or on a large company campus, trying desperately to figure out where the conference room for the 3:00 meeting actually is.

Now, about 74% of people say that they use some kind of smartphone app or digital navigation system to help them get from point A to point B. These navigation apps are awesome when you’re driving, walking outside, or riding your bike on a path.

First of all, especially if a commercial building is large, it can be incredibly tough to get the reception you need to use with a GPS navigation system. And even if you could get reception inside of your building, there likely isn’t an app available with a clear indoor map of the buildings, points-of -interest such as available conference rooms, food locations, and offices,  and directions to get you to them in the quickest way possible.

Most GPS systems focus only on outdoor directions — they’re not able to guide you through the hallways, different buildings, and rooms of a company campus or hospital. GPS signals are simply not strong enough to reach the indoors.

But indoor navigation systems can do exactly that.

They can help employees, students, visitors, patients, and even members of the public learn exactly where to go (and how to get around) inside of your building.

How an Indoor Positioning System Works

So, how do you get started on creating an indoor positioning system (IPS for short) for your building?

First of all, you’ll need to create a digital map of your space. The most exact and simplest way to do this is through the use of computer-aided drawings or CADs.

CADs create both two and three-dimensional models of your building. They are often used by architects, landscapers, and other designers to help them to get a better feel of the space they’re working with.

CAD is even popular within the video gaming development and design industry.

When it comes to creating your building maps, CADs will create an entire framework of your building, also allowing for the scale and positioning of things like entrances/exits, hallways, and restrooms.

In short?

CADs allow you to get the most accurate floor plan possible, which means you’ll be able to create foolproof maps for every part of your building.

Plus, CADs also help everyone using the indoor navigation system get a better feel for how long it will take them to get from point A to point B. They will even be able to give users a solid estimate of the amount of distance they’ll cover en route to their destinations.

When developing your maps, you may even decide that you want to leave restricted areas or spaces that aren’t open to the public out of the design altogether. This protects your company’s privacy and helps to cut down on confusion in general.

Choosing the Right Building Navigation System Platform

Of course, since IPS is all about bringing the latest technology into your building, it makes perfect sense that there are numerous platforms you can choose from when it comes to the implementation phase.  For example, you may want to set up kiosk-like digital displays throughout your commercial space so that people can easily find who and what they’re looking for when they arrive (this is especially helpful for vendors and other visitors to visit your building on a daily basis.)

Web browser-based indoor navigation systems will let users create their own routes before they arrive get to at the building, and they won’t have to download an app to get the information they need. They’ll even be able to create digital itineraries and browse through directories in advance from any mobile browser.

Perhaps the most popular option is deploying a blue dot mobile app, which prompts users where to turn, in real-time,  and pinpointing their exact location and walking route.  This is essentially identical to common outdoor GPS systems and tools, except used indoors. Users can even receive location-based messages, like daily cafeteria menu’s, within the mobile app.

You can choose to use one or even all of these different platforms to help people get around your office space with ease.

The Benefits of Using an Indoor Navigation System

Now, let’s talk about the incredible benefits of having a smart offices indoor navigation system accessible to employees and visitors in your work space.

No matter the size of your building, how many people work there, or what kind of work goes on in the space, the truth is that everyone just wants to be able to get where they’re going without all the stress and headaches.

IPS Helps You With Branding

Especially in today’s world, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of branding.  Your internal navigation system helps to create consistency between the digital navigation experience and the world that people see in front of them.  You can even choose to use your brand’s color schemes in your system’s design.  That’s why it’s so essential that you start to think about what a wayfinding system can do to improve not just your brand recognition, but your company’s reputation as a whole.

Think about it: when you set up kiosks or offer downloadable apps to people that come to your business, you’re making it abundantly clear that you care about the overall customer experience.

This goes a long way towards increasing customer loyalty — and putting you a step ahead of your competitors.

You’ll Identify Popular Building Areas

We know that you want to know where the most popular and crowded areas are in your building.  This way, you can think about ways to improve the “traffic” flow in a certain area of your building (don’t worry, if you make major changes, you’ll be able to update your indoor maps accordingly with a CMS system.)  You can also use this kind of data to help you figure out where to put new things like kiosks, shopping stalls, representatives, reception desks, and much more.

But it’s not just about traffic control.  It’s about understanding how you can better optimize your space, and learning more about which conference rooms or even individual destinations are the most popular.  These kinds of insights may help you to realize that you need to create a few more meeting rooms, smaller collaboration pods, open up another coffee shop, find ways to reduce patient wait times, or even learn that you need to create more on-campus study spaces for students.  

It’s a great way to understand the needs of the people you’re trying to serve — as well as what would improve the experience for your employees.

It Increases Productivity and Profitability

Constantly find that everyone in your office is running late to meetings?  Are you frustrated by sudden location changes, getting lost, or just wasting your time by taking inefficient and extra long routes to get to where you need to go?

Chances are that many of your team members are feeling the same way. You want to do everything you can to increase not only morale at work, but also productivity.  When people aren’t spending half of their time navigating around a space, they’ll be able to get more things done in a day, have more productive conversations with team members, and feel happier at work.

And if you want to use maps to help people find specific stores and restaurants? You can bet that adding maps will seriously boost your profits, because they’ll be able to find exactly where they want to shop with ease.

It Integrates with Other Systems

We absolutely understand that you don’t want setting up a building navigation system to mean that you then have to implement tons of new software.  One of the best things about finding the right navigation systems for your indoor space is that they can seamlessly integrate with one another, existing elements of your infrastructure, as well as with your other digital tools. 

You can use your IPS to send out appointment reminders, you can integrate it with your occupancy software, and you can, of course, connect the maps to your mobile devices.  Because these maps are updated in real time, everyone will be looking at the same thing.

You can rest easy that you won’t end up making more work for people on your team. It’s all about doing more with fewer tools.

You’ll Enjoy Safety Benefits

One final benefit of indoor navigation systems that many people overlook?

They can be incredible tools when it comes to keeping people in your building safe. If there is any kind of an emergency, you can send out real-time alerts to people in endangered areas.  People can then find the best route to get out of the building safely and as soon as possible.

Anything that you can do to both alert people of a danger in your space and get them to safety is incredibly important. Plus, it just gives everyone peace of mind.

Are You Ready to Set up Your Own Indoor Navigation System?

We hope that this post has helped you to learn more about not only how an indoor navigation system works and why it’s such an important investment for your business.  The right navigation systems will help you to save time, learn about the habits and interests of your customers, and keep stress to a minimum for all.  Of course, in order to take advantage of all these incredible benefits — and many more — you need to make sure you’re working with the very best indoor navigation system innovators.  That’s where our incredible team at LogicJunction comes in.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help hospitals, colleges, business campuses, shopping malls, and so many others benefit from everything that our indoor navigation system has to offer.  We can’t wait to help you make life easier and more efficient for your employers, your customers, and everyone else who comes into your building.

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