Six Essentials on planning indoor navigation

Indoor navigation or wayfinding has indisputable advantages. From improving the visitor experience in sports venues, airports and train stations, to supporting an omnichannel approach in large shopping malls, indoor navigation provides a competitive advantage in many industries. However, the process of project planning and selecting the right technology is an intensive one, and it is essential that stakeholders seek professional advice and guidance.

Based on our many years of implementation experience for customers like SAP, FRAPORT or MSC, we have compiled a list of six questions that we believe anyone interested in wayfinding or Indoor Navigation should answer in advance.

What are your indoor navigation project goals?

Being clear about what to achieve with the implementation of an indoor navigation system is the first step to success. It will help you communicate these goals to potential providers, and also ensure that they understand your goals and can decide whether the solution offered is right for your needs based on the defined goals. The combination of a clear goal and an experienced technology partner helps you to keep the planning and implementation phase as short as possible – and thus as cost-effective as possible.

Does your building already have a sensor infrastructure for indoor navigation?

In order to offer a mobile indoor navigation experience, your building – or ship – must have the appropriate hardware infrastructure. Since GPS technology does not work in buildings or only works to a very limited extent, other technologies must be used for indoor positioning in order to achieve the same effect with Wi-Fi networks, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons or VLC. Creating a sensor infrastructure, however, is a complex project that requires precise coordination of architecture, hardware and software.

Do you have an app?

Indoor navigation requires an app as an output medium. If you already have an app, the necessary software can be integrated as an SDK. In this case, the LBS provider will provide your app developer with the SDK with positioning and navigation functionalities. The integration of the SDK into the application incurs additional costs, which you must budget from the very beginning. If you do not yet have an app, white label solutions are available depending on the desired functionality. The LBS provider or a partner will design the user interface according to your specifications. This variant also incurs costs. However, a user-friendly and highly functional app is essential for the success of your project.

What requirements must the necessary sensor infrastructure meet?

Are there special fire protection standards or other industrial standards that you have to comply with, what aesthetic requirements do you apply? Do the sensors have to be installed “invisibly” etc.? These questions are closely related to the application scenario and are often unclear late in the project phase. Late communicated requirements can be at the expense of positioning accuracy, if in the started installation phase suddenly the wish arises to change certain installation heights or to install beacons “invisibly”.

Are you planning to integrate existing applications?

In order to create a holistic customer and visitor experience and profitably utilize insights into how people interact in and with your building, you may want to link existing applications and external data streams with the position data gained. Think about how important it is to connect to third-party systems as part of your project, and talk to your provider early about APIs that enable integration.

Are privacy considerations important or necessary for your business?

Data ownership and privacy considerations can block a project at critical stages if they are not considered from the very beginning. It’s important to have these discussions with your technology providers early to understand if and where your data is being stored. To avoid privacy issues, it’s helpful to work with companies that don’t store your data or use it for their own purposes. In any case, make a list of all interest groups (e.g. works council, etc.) that need to be involved in a decision.

Favendo has been active as a provider of mobile indoor navigation solutions since 2014. During this time, we have gained extensive experience in project implementation in complex industries. This experience represents a great added value for every customer. If you are just starting to plan your project, you are welcome to contact us directly to discuss your indoor navigation project.