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  • Connexient, SNCF, Unibail Rodemco and Schneider Electric Discuss Indoor Navigation and Location Service at Pole Star Connect

    PoleStar Connect Day SNCF, Unibail Rodemco, Schneider Electric and Connexient discuss use cases and strategic value of indoor positioning and navigation Last week I had the opportunity to participate in

    Read More
  • Wayfinding Design for Understanding:  A Classic Position Paper

    I recently came across this position paper called: Wayfinding Design for Understanding published by the outstanding Center for Health Design. https://www.healthdesign.org/knowledge-repository/wayfinding-design-understanding https://www.healthdesign.org/sites/default/files/WayfindingPositionPaper.pdf While it was published in 1992 - and thus

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  • What Exactly is Indoor Navigation Anyways - and Why Does It Matter?

    Connexient was founded with a singular, driving vision:  to develop and deliver a true turn-by-turn indoor navigation experience that would be as intuitive and useful as that which billions of

    Read More
  • Accenture Study: Superior Patient Experience Can Yield Up to 50% Higher Margins

    Any one that has ever been to a large hospital medical center - or worked at one - understands intuitively the very real and negative impact of poor wayfinding on Patient Experience.

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  • Connexient + Google Maps for Work Part 2: Closing the Gaps With Campus and Network-Wide Wayfinding

    Last week, we zeroed in on how we work with Google Maps to deliver true end-to-end, outdoor + indoor maps, directions and navigation. This partnership allows us to make - for example

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PoleStar Connect Day

SNCF, Unibail Rodemco, Schneider Electric and Connexient discuss use cases and strategic value of indoor positioning and navigation

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in an excellent panel and event hosted in Paris by Polestar dedicated to use cases and strategic value of indoor positioning, navigation and location-based services. The panel was moderated by Ludovic Privat of CROWDLOC and ConnecteDriver; and featured the following speakers:

Transportation: Pauline Bongrain, SNCF, French railway operator
Healthcare: Geoff Halstead, Connexient
Smart Corporate Buildings: Luc De Crémoux, Schneider Electric
Malls & Retail: Julien Marlot, Unibail Rodamco

The discussion was wide ranging, touching on the important real world use cases and value drivers from the large scale deployments in 4 very different verticals. This alone speaks to the fact that indoor positioning and navigation has now truly passed the market tipping point.

Pauline Bongrain of SNCF presented how location services is enabling both navigation at railroad stations and presence detection that power location-based features that enhance the experience of their business travelers.  

Geoff Halstead of Connexient talked about how indoor navigation is solving the important pain point of wayfinding in hospitals for patients and visitors.   Once navigation-quality maps and navigation services are deployed into large complex medical facilities and campuses, howeer, other important use cases begin to emerge.   At Connexient's deployment at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, for example, the primary users and uses cases have been staff and operational. Since launching and features addressing facility management have been added. Other clients are looking to integrate with asset tracking to optimize the flow and management of assets.

Safety and Security has become a big focus of future development. Today when responding to incidents, safety and security staff are literally "flying blind". With navigation services, suddenly an entirely new range of capabilities become possible to coordinate response efficiently, direct intelligent egress of people from buildings, providing location intelligence and routing for first responders and more. In total, it represents a revolution with very high value to the Enterprise.

Julien Marlot of Unibail Rodemco discussed how exactly the same progression has been happening after their initial deployment at location services at their Malls for customer experience. They are now piloting the use location services for security response and management, utilizing tags provided by a Polestar partner.

Luc De Crémoux of Schneider Electric concurred, summarizing how location services will become an enabling Enterprise infrastructure that will ultimately address many powerful use cases and needs.

There were, of course, many more topics and insights - please view the videos for complete coverage!

B2B Use Cases

 

End User Services

 

I recently came across this position paper called:

published by the outstanding Center for Health Design.

  • https://www.healthdesign.org/knowledge-repository/wayfinding-design-understanding
  • https://www.healthdesign.org/sites/default/files/WayfindingPositionPaper.pdf

While it was published in 1992 - and thus predates virtually all Digital Wayfinding - it is strking how the issues and principles it articulates continue to resonate.  To excerpts stand-out.

The Benefits of Good Wayfinding

In sum, good wayfinding promotes  

  • Reduction of stress and frustration for the visitor
  • Functional efficiency
  • Visitor accessibility
  • Safety
  • Patient empowerment, improving cognitive skills in spatial understanding
  • Improved bottom line

All of those benefits apply to Digital Wayfinding, of course, but even more powerfully.   We start with addressing patient and visitor stress, and all the impacts that has, but that is just the starting point.  Some of the most compelling use cases we are now discussing and addressing with our clients in our roadmap revolve around staff efficiency and safety and security.   This is all part of our vision of Navigation Enabling the Enterprise. 

The Dynamic Nature of Wayfinding

The White Paper presents a very clear understanding of the "dynamic" nature of Wayfinding.

Unlike spatial orientation with its static relationship to space, wayfinding is a dynamic relationship to the space. It is dynamic in that people’s movement with their direct sense of orientation to place must be accommodated

 

It then lays out the rinciples of good wayfinding system design.

Unlike spatial orientation with its static relationship to space, wayfinding is a dynamic relationship to the space. It is dynamic in that people’s movement with their direct sense of orientation to place must be accommodated 

1.  Knowing where he or she is (i.e., “I have just arrived at the front door of the surgery center”).

2. Knowing his or her destination (i.e., “My instructions from the physician’s office indicate that I need to check in and register with the information desk”).

3. Knowing which route gets him or her to the destination (i.e., “The information receptionist told me to follow the signs to the elevator and take the elevator to the third-floor surgery waiting room and check-in desk”).

4. The ability to follow that route (i.e., “I need to locate and interpret appropriate signs that lead me to the elevators, exit the elevator on the third floor, and locate the surgery waiting room”).

5. Knowing when he or she has reached the destination (i.e., “This appears to be the surgical waiting room, and the desk is most likely for registration”).

 

All of these are core principles in the design of our Indoor Navigation UX.  There is one fundamentally new and different characteristic of Indoor Navigation that differs from static wayfinding systems (i.e. signage), however:

1.  Knowing where he or she is

In a navigation UX, that sense of "knowing where you are" goes away -and actually becomes a distraction.   Referencing visual landmarks is important - but for a different reason.   These indicate to the user that he or she is on the right path - i.e. that navigation is on track.  Slowing the user down with map reading and map awareness is counterproductive and confusing.  

Navigation is about what is next and where you are going, not where you are.  

In a typical wayfinding journey, a user might well shift between navigation to map reading - in which case that location and map awareness come to the forefront again.  That is why Connexient puts so much emphasis on all modalities and all screens, not just navigation.   But they key to navigation is understanding the difference!

 

 

 

Connexient was founded with a singular, driving vision:  to develop and deliver a true turn-by-turn indoor navigation experience that would be as intuitive and useful as that which billions of users enjoy with mobile navigation apps in the "outdoor" world by companies like Google, Apple and Waze.   Over the last few years, we have worked very hard - and while we are by no means finished - we have been able to achieve that vision. 

What's So Special About Indoor Navigation?

The short answer is simple:  it's the only thing that really solves the problem.

Connexient's vision and commitment to the goal of indoor navigation came from our founders deep experience and understanding - born of 20 years developing and implementing wayfinding signage sytems in hundreds of hospitals at GDS, Inc. - that the complexity and scale of hospitals and healthcare networks pose wayfinding challenges such that nothing other than "blue dot" navigation will actually solve the user problem.   Large medical centers encompass millions of square feet, of interconnected buildings and associated parking options, and campuses can have dozens of buildings or more.  In total, they are truly labrynthes on an epic scale!

Maps and directions alone - even with a blue dot indicating a user's indoor position - simply are not good enough. Only true turn-by-turn navigation, where the user is guided at every step and moment of their journey can keep users on track all the way to their destination. Without that, frustration quickly sets in and patients and visitors will revert to the current wayfinding solution: the next staff member that happens to walk past them. It doesn't matter if that is a nurse or a neurosurgeon, they are going to have to walk that person to where they are going!

What Exactly Is True Turn-by-Turn Indoor Navigation?

This is an important question, and one where there is a lot of confusion in the marketplace. Here are the key features in what Connexient defines as true turn-by-turn indoor navigation.   Not suprisingly, you will find the same capabilities in all of the leading outdoor navigation apps. That is what a user expects and will require in order to find indoor navigation to be intuitive and useful.

1. The user's position must drive the user's view of the map and route

This is essential. Hospitals are simply too complex - and the external references too varied - to ask the user to read and understand a map and correlate the blue dot to where they are. The driving principle of blue dot navigation is that the user does not need to understand or even care where they are. They simply need to continuously understand that they are on the correct path and heading.

2. The Map Visualization Must Provide a "Balcony View"

In outdoor navigation, this is called the "Birds Eye" view. Anyone that spent years using in-car navigation systems before using Google Navigation for the first time knows why this is so important. Navigation is about what is next. The straight overhead map view constricts the user to a box of where they are now, and is a relic of map reading, not navigation. In navigation, the user must always be focused on the next landmark, turn and decision point.

3. Turn Prompts and Directions Must Be Synchronized with Location

Rich, accurate maps and step-by-step directions are very important as part of an overall digital wayfinding solution, but they have nothing to do with navigation. In a navigation UX, information must be reduced to what is critical - which is the exact instruction delivered at the right moment when approaching the next decision point in a route. Everything else is noise. That requires careful synchronization of prompts and guidance with users current and dynamically changing location. Audio / voice prompts are a useful option - that can even eliminate looking at the screen - but must be user and admin configurable in a hospital environment to ensure they are not disruptive.

4. Off Route Notification & Recalculation

No matter how good and precise the navigation UX, users will get confused and miss turns or other errors from time to time. It is essential that in these moments that the user is prompted quickly and can be guided back to their route - or recalculate and re-start their route. If this does not happen, users will lose confidence rapidly and abandon the navigation app (and go back to that carbon-based solution walking past them!).

5. Visual Landmarks Are Important

Finally, external references - "visual landmarks" - are very useful to assisting users if they get confused and reassuring them as they progress on a route. Once again, this often has very little to do with what is important for map reading.  What matters is not where you are, but rather what you see.

A critical part of the MediNav deployment process is our wayfinding survey, where we systematically record and add into the app visual landmarks that users actually sees as they walk through a building.  In lobbies, atriums and open areas, there are shops, artwork, fountains and so on that can be particularly valuable to orienting the user. In interior hallways, there are signs, doors, cross hallways and so on. But the key is at all times the landmark reference in the app must be exact, clear and synchronized with the user's current visual viewpoint.

All of these elements must be woven together into a sequence of UI events that are intricately choreographed with the user's location and on-the-ground experience of his or her route . The user does not need to understand or read a map - which is an entirely different and much more intensive cognitive process - or even understand where they are. They just follow the route, blue dot and prompts without having to think. That is when you know it is a navigation user experience.

Connexient's MediNav incorporates and coordinates all of these features into the delicate dance of navigation. We believe and our experience has shown us that it is a fundamentally different experience from "blue dot wayfinding", and it the only way to actually reliably guide users through complex facilities and avoid frustration that leads to abandoning the app. In other words, it is the only thing that works.

Link:  Learn More About Indoor Navigation and Other MediNav Features

So while we would be the first to say that our navigation UX is not perfect, we are confident that it is the most complete, sophistated and intuitive one available today.  And we are committed to continually advancing and refining it.

The final, defining pass or fail test of any navigation UX and solution, of course, is does it get you there?    A great UX is not enough:  it must be reliable, accurate and current.  To deliver that requires intense focus on the execution of the other two critical components:  navigation-quality indoor positioning and navigation-quality maps and data.   Those will be the focus of Part 2 and Part 3 of this series.

  • Part 2:  What is Navigation Quality Indoor Positioning? 

  • Part 3:  What are the Requirements for Navigation Quality Maps and Data? 

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Connexient Inc.

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New York, NY 10001
(212) 763-6604 | (888) 850-4920
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