8 Innovative Use Cases of Indoor Mapping Changing the World
Over the last few decades, the market opportunities for indoor mapping have diversified much, spanning scientific, commercial, institutional, and even military interests. Organizations are seeking smart applications that operate on indoor mapping data, extracting insights on individual behaviour, movement, and activity, besides identifying and locating assets in real-time.
Conventionally, indoor modelling and mapping were mostly limited to the creation of basic navigational tools in hospitals, airports, shopping malls, and railway stations. The technology, however, has a much wider potential in terms of application areas. Even in terms of indoor navigation, the use cases of indoor mapping can be diversified and advanced to a much greater extent than before.
Listed below are nine innovative use cases of indoor mapping that are transforming every day operations across industries today.
1. Advanced Pathfinding Possibilities
The use of indoor mapping and positioning for navigation has boomed in recent years because of the multiple use cases that the technology brings. One, indoor navigation helps in guiding pedestrian navigation inside large and complex buildings such as hospitals, airports, shopping malls, trade fairs, hotels, and office buildings for improved visitor experience, particularly for first-time visitors.
Two, it is being increasingly used as a means of pathfinding and routing around and between several buildings inside a complex, such as a housing society, office campus, or large resort, using interactive maps. This feature also works well when locating assets within complexes that outdoor navigation cannot guide you to.
Another great benefit of indoor mapping and positioning technologies is that it enables smooth and adapted navigation for people with reduced mobility. They can easily use interactive maps or audio/visual guides on their device to track where ramps and elevators are located and to understand if an area is inaccessible. The same can be done for restricted areas, alerting visitors which zones are out-of-reach, under-construction, hazardous, and so on, to assist them in real-time.
2. Retail Marketing and Communications
Indoor mapping and navigation play an interesting role in helping retailers improve both customer experience and acquisition through communications and marketing activity. A few use cases are listed below:
- Mapping of stores and points of interest to improve customer experience
- Introducing wayfinding features to any POI on mobile applications for smooth movement
- Spatial analytics of users inside malls, airports, hospitals, and so on:
- to determine the most strategic positioning of stores, billboards, advertisement flyers, POIs, etc. to attract customer attention
- to optimize the placement of objects inside a store for maximum visibility and conversion
- to determine the best layout of a site in terms of retail outlet positioning for maximum revenue
- to understand store visits, dwell time, visit frequency, and so on for service and product planning, fixing opening and closing hours, etc.
- to segment visitors based on loyalty, one-time visits, passersby, and so on, for targeted campaigning and conversions
- to measure and optimize the ROI of marketing campaigns for the right traffic sources
- to determine optimal charges for retail units or layouts based on footfall and customer affinity data
- Dissemination of smart, location-based, targeted push notifications through mobile applications to users whenever they are in the vicinity of a store, facility, or outlet.
- Online targeting and retargeting campaigns after segmenting users by location.
- Sharing interactive assistance, complete product information, proximity-based vouchers, offers, and rewards based on the location data of customers.
3. Location Sharing and Networking
In today’s modern age and time, GPS-enabled smartphones are redefining dating experiences. Besides denoting the most proximal individuals using the same dating app near you, these applications are bringing convenience, instant messaging options, and faster, unique meet-ups for the youth.
Location-based applications are also enabling fun features like ‘Find Your Friend’, using which colleagues and fellow students can share their indoor locations within large university and office campuses or convention centres to locate each other within seconds.
Indoor mapping is also getting popular at amusement parks and gaming centres for increasing interconnectivity and interaction among participants. Instead of physical maps, visitors can enjoy interactive digital maps to follow directions, arrive at destinations, and share their location with friends and family. In stadiums, indoor mapping technology enables visitors to locate exactly where their seats are, where amenities such as bathrooms, concessionaires, and stores are located, and even receive social distancing alerts in the wake of the pandemic.
4. Location-Based Information Retrieval
Indoor mapping technology can be used to restrict access to suspected viral hotspots and locate and avoid congested places. In case you run a transportation hub like a train station, indoor mapping can assist both customers and staff – offering travellers turn-by-turn directions, updating users on delays, scheduling changes, and other relevant information regarding the transport.
In convention centres, indoor mapping and positioning technology provides detailed directions from any location in the conference centre, making it simple for visitors to locate the exhibitors or colleagues they’re looking for. Pedestrians in large campuses can calculate speedier routes that are accessible to everyone but are otherwise hidden on conventional maps, besides identifying restricted zones that they must avoid.
Guests can be sent time-based alerts based on their location inside a cinema hall complex or stadium to get seated, with a route to their seat. Travellers can also be informed of a last-minute gate change in an airport and given directions to their new gate.
In monument complexes, indoor mapping smartphone applications can act as digital tourist guides, popping up relevant information whenever a tourist reaches a particular point of interest. When used in museums and art galleries, they provide a fresh and innovative learning experience in the same manner, supplementing traditional audio and visual guides already available in the museum with interactive quizzes, games, and videos.
5. Staff Tracking
Indoor mapping and navigation systems allow managers to remotely track the movement and activity of their employees, control worker engagement according to pre-defined schedules, and protect resources. This also helps to maintain a vigil over restricted areas, ensure that required zones are being manned at required intervals, and improve the productivity of service for customers.
6. Building access control
With indoor mapping technology, managers can impose location-based smart access control in buildings depending on confidentiality, safety, security, and hierarchy. Location-based digital logs can be created to keep track of who accessed specific zones, including date, time, and timespan. While optimizing building management and increasing the efficiency of workflows, helps automate the zoning process for managers to a great extent.
7. Safety and Security
An indoor mapping solution provides a consolidated tracking mechanism for campus buildings, floors, and rooms all in one view. By fusing the real-time location of security officers with the locations of incidents and pertinent life safety and security assets, such fundamental technology improves communication and provides enhanced situational awareness.
Businesses may use their security resources more wisely by having a better awareness of how people move throughout the company. Employers can rapidly spot any possible red flags by tracking the mobility of employees using real-time 3-D interior maps. Additionally, indoor maps can assist you in identifying security issues, personnel concentration points, and even emergency escape routes.
Thanks to mapping tools that can make one-way halls and ensure workstations being reserved are socially distant, keeping the office secure has become easier. For contact tracing in the workplace, indoor maps can also be used in conjunction with positioning data.
Many hospitals and residential care homes are using location data combined with IoT analytics to improve the patient experience in healthcare facilities. Besides cleaning frequency, hygiene standards, staff efficiency and visitor behaviour, indoor mapping technology helps keep track of patient safety, especially for children and the elderly.
Additionally, campuses are using indoor-guided navigation for the visually impaired, through audio support on their smartphones, for example. Screen reader interfaces integrated into modern mobile operating systems are also leveraging indoor mapping technology to assist the differently abled, while still being accessible to them.
8. Emergency Management
Indoor mapping proves useful for routing and navigation, generating emergency alerts and enabling first responders to review and analyze the situation to respond better in case of an emergency.
One, it is possible to quickly and readily locate individuals and resources in the case of an emergency by having a thorough map of the interior of the facility. Indoor maps can also be used to pinpoint potential dangers and escape routes. An indoor map, for instance, can assist firemen in finding the closest fire exit rapidly in the event of a fire.
Additionally, an indoor map can direct paramedics to the closest stairwell or elevator in the event of a medical emergency. The movement of all security guards can be visualized and coordinated from a single screen, and their numbers and tasks are readjusted in real time based on the ground scenario. Coordinating information with first responders’ smartphones becomes instantaneous. Such advanced features enable reduced reaction time in case of any incidents.
With the fusion of indoor positioning, mapping, and navigation (IPMN) technology with advanced communication technologies like 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), smart devices, big data, and artificial intelligence, IPMN has quickly forayed into “new-age” location-based services. Decision makers now have intuitive, insightful digital maps at hand for complete situational awareness of spaces in the form of real-time data and advanced analytics.
With the growing advancements in supporting technologies like LiDAR, cloud, Digital Twins, positioning and AR/VR, indoor mapping is only becoming more and more multi-faceted, presenting many interesting use cases across industries.