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Wayfinder: indoors routing guided by Beacons
Imagine that you are lost in a big hotel, looking for the sauna or for one of the hundred conference rooms. Think that you are trying to find a specific department or bureau in an enormous office building. Try to identify a friend’s private lounge in a gigantic stadium where you are invited to watch the championship’s grand finale. A GPS will be perfect, but this is not working indoors and is built especially for car-related situations and conditions.
Onyx Beacon’s Wayfinder solution is based on Beacons and their excellent capabilities and performances for micro-location, presence detection and contextual communication. The solution is based on the Points of Interest principle and offers step-by-step indications for indoors navigation. The users get an overview of the route and individual instructions on next steps to reach their chosen destination. Route recalculations are available when necessary.
User experience, step-by-step
1. The user has the building’s customized Wayfinder application installed on his mobile phone. He opens the menu and chooses the desired destination inside the facility, from a pre-defined list of points of interest.
2. The application identifies the nearest beacon in the user’s vicinity and communicates the precise location to the cloud-based CMS. When the application does not identify any beacon around, the user will manually introduce his current position.
3. The cloud platform delivers to the mobile user a pre-defined multimedia content (text message, images with building plans and directional information, videos or customized URLs). All this information is directly related to two coordinates: actual location and desired destination.
4. The mobile user has now a list of the steps needed to follow, in order to reach his destination. He follows the path and, after changing his location, the message corresponding to his current location will be highlighted. Segment by segment, beacon by beacon, the entire route will be browsed to the final point.
5. If the user moves in a wrong direction, the mobile app will communicate his location to the cloud platform, a failure notification will be sent. The route will be reconfigured and a completely new set of indications will be provided.
Strategic ideas for the application owner:
1. Start by working on a map-based strategy. Gather the complete plans of the building, and start by taking in consideration two main coordinates: the vertical (all the floors and the connections between floors – elevators and stairs) and the horizontal (each floor should be an independent section).
2. Upload the plans of each floor of your building in the Onyx Beacon CMS and place Beacons on each floor, to precisely identify each Point of Interest in your building, but also to cover all the traffic routes, in order to localize mobile users.
3. Each beacon will be assigned to a floor group (tag) and to a specific location on that floor. The distance between beacons is recommended to be of 25 to 40 meters, but this is just a suggestion, if there are many points of interest on a specific area, the density of beacons could be higher.
4. After placing beacons on the map in the CMS, the administrator of the network of beacons will define connections between neighboring beacons, introducing also a measured distance between each pair of beacons. By unifying these paired connections, at the end a path will be defined, showing the precise direction a mobile user should follow in order to cross a specific area of the building.
5. After connecting all the beacons in coherent paths, the fleet administrator will define a specific notification to be sent out, for each beacon or for each group of beacons in a well-defined area of the building. These notifications can have various formats: text, images or other multimedia guiding content.
The route calculation is an algorithm defined on the Onyx Beacon CMS, which aggregates all the existing information about beacons, connections, distances and notifications, and delivers to the mobile user the shortest calculated route from the current position to the desired destination. The solution is already available for our customers.
You can find here a Slideshare presentation about our Wayfinder project.
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