“Location, location, location” has long been the buzz phrase for finding a home or business. It applies equally well to understanding the exact whereabouts and proximity of someone in the context of a map within a building. Knowing a person’s location in real time is the most important element in being able to enhance their Experience of Place, as well as creating a myriad of other operational value.
Anything from the mall tenant base to building control and parking systems are now capable of becoming interoperable. By using indoor mapping as the base platform to connect these disparate information systems, you provide a much more contextual end-user experience.
In its simplest form, notification and alerts can be sent out to re-direct someone around a broken escalator. In more sophisticated uses, machine learning and prescriptive responses can be applied to enhance an Experience of Place, delivering information that’s both personalized and highly contextual.
It’s important to note that “personalized and contextual” isn’t always (nor should it be) about delivering a marketing-based message. It’s great to receive an offer from your favorite retailer for a product you love, but there may be even greater value in receiving a message that directs you to a reserved parking space closest to the entrance of the store you plan to visit first.
The noteworthy, near-term opportunity is for the ‘app’ to begin to know you, your habits and preferences. It can then provide timely advice, such as the most efficient route to your next destination with suggested stops along the way based on previous behavior.
We’re already seeing these types of experiences being enabled with Virtual Private Assistants such as Apple’s Siri. This leads to the road of an ‘app-less’ world, where users benefit from the data of native apps and location awareness without actually having to download a native application. This may be the key that unlocks and marries these experiences for the mainstream.
Are we there yet? Not quite, but many of the puzzle pieces are coming together. One thing is certain: an indoor mapping platform needs to deliver contextually-meaningful information to users, based on where they are and what’s going on around them.
So what does this all mean for the stakeholders creating these end-user experiences? Likely a fairly equal number of benefits and challenges…but I’ll save that topic for next time!