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 - the complex challenge of parking simple for the patient or visitor arriving at a large facility or campus. The second part of this blog will address the next two common challenges of Wayfinding and Navigation that afflict almost all patients and visitors - and how we have integrated Google Maps to solve them.
The key to this, once again, is our ability as a Google Maps for Work Partner to:
- leverage and integrate all of the rich features and incredible data of Google Maps; and
- add custom layers of map data that 'fill the gaps' between what Google knows about the outdoor world and what Connexient knows about your network locations, campuses and facilities.
Campus Navigation: The Details Are Crucial
We will focus here on four examples.
- Campus Maps: The Details are Crucial
- The Campus Entry Wizard: Figuring out Entry Points and Gates
- Campus and Network Shuttle Tracker
- Network Wide Indoor + Outdoor Wayfinding
1. Campus Maps: The Details are Crucial
While Google knows and maps the world around us to an astonishing level of detail and accuracy, any facility manager that oversees a large campus knows that they often fall a bit short in keeping this data current and complete. The reasons are simple.
- These are private facilities where Google has no inherent right or access to do its mapping to the same level.
- Much of the most important information required for campus mapping and navigation is beyond Google's scope: things like building names, what are the right entrances, what parking lots or garages should be used for each, and so on.
Luckily, as a Google Maps for Work Partner, Connexient can apply its professional mapping services to add these critical details. We can even add things like pedestrian routing and navigation to get users between buildings on appropriate paths rather than roadways.
As a trusted mapper and partner, we can also work to help update the base Google Map itself so that errors in the maps that might affect all users - not just those of your apps - are corrected.
Either way, Connexient is there to make sure it is right, because we know that The Map Really Matters.
2. Campus Wizard: Figuring out Entry Points and Gates
While it may seem simple, Campus entry points and gates can and often do present a confounding element to campus navigation. On some campuses, such as the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, gates are secured and specific gates are restricted to specific types of visitors. Or, at other campuses, different gates are frequently open or closed depending on the day of the week or the time of the day (e.g. there may be only one gate open in the evenings or weekends).
Whatever the reason, if you end up trying to enter through the wrong gate, not only will you be turned back, but all your routing & navigation will be wrong from there. Failing to address it results in a total failure of wayfinding.
MediNav's Campus Wizard - launching in August - solves this problem by leveraging our knowledge of your facility and campus and presenting the user with a very simple wizard to identify which type of visitor they are. And, our Time of Day Exclusions automatically check whether or not a designated gate on a route is open. If it is not, then we can notify the user and automatically adjust their routing.
3. Campus and Network Shuttle Tracker
Many campuses and networks - like the National Institutes of Health - have shuttle systems that are a key service and solution for patients, visitors and staff. Knowing these shuttle schedules and stops - and when and where the next shuttle is arriving to take you where you want to go - is a critical component of Digital Wayfinding.
MediNav's Shuttle Tracker provides an elegant, totally integrated solution for the Shuttle systems. We can integrate and support:
- shuttle schedules and route networks;
- shuttle stop locations; and
- real-time GPS location of shuttle vans, with time to arrival estimates for each stop.
When you combine this with our indoor mapping and navigation, we can now connect the dots and provide a real solution end-to-end. Currently, a user inside a building can easily check their shuttle stop and time of arrival for the next van. Upon arrival to their destination on a hospital campus, they can use inside navigation. This includes a time to destination estimate to know when they need to leave to catch their shuttle. Coming soon, we will take a step further and - just like our Parking Planner - recommend the best shuttle location and van for the user based on selecting their final destination and tell them when they have to start walking to catch it.
Making those kinds of complex problems easy for the user is what indoor + outdoor, end-to-end Digital Wayfinding with MediNav is all about.
4. Network Wide Outdoor + Indoor Wayfinding
When it comes to Network-Wide Wafyinding, the challenge is a little different. Google knows the outdoor world, and we can rely on Google to get the user their with 100% reliability (OK, 99.99%), incorporating traffic information to optimize the driving route and providing multi-modal options (e.g biking and public transportation).
The problem that real world users face fall into two areas.
Accurate and Complete Data
All of the network locations - and particularly the locations of affiliated physicians, caregivers and resources - are often scattered around in different data warehouses and resources on a Healthcare Network's Web site, if they are available at all. There is rarely, in our experience, a "source of truth" or process for consolidating and validating such data in a large organization. It is just too complex and, until now, there was no pay-off for doing so.
Given this, users normally must resort to Googling a particular physician, clinic, laboratory - whatever it is - and hope that the name they have matches what Google has. And if they do, more often than not what will come back is a list of names and locations to choose from, mixing together not just alternative locations but also caregivers and resources that may have nothing to do with your Healthcare network.
So the result is confusion and frustration for the user. For the Heatlhcare Network, besides a poor user experience, this can also mean literally driving users to resources outside of your network! So it's a lose-lose situation.
MediNav addresses this by integrating all of your network locations and affiliated caregivers and resources into one directory. The user can then use one simple, elegant search and filter UI to drill down quickly and easily to what they are looking for and be sure that is the right person or place and right location. For the Healthcare Network, of course, this ensures that you are keeping the patient or visitor in the network.
We have also found with our clients that this becomes an invaluable resource for staff. Now, rather than having to go back to their desk and search through different databases, staff can have the right information available on the go at their fingertips to provide to a patient, make a phone call or even navigate to get there.
Outdoor + Indoor
If the user now wants to get to that network location, of course, MediNav provides the end-to-end, outdoor + indoor maps, routes and navigation to get there. Often, a patient or visitor will be starting from inside the hospital and then moving on to their next appointment. Let's look at this as an example. MediNav will:
- first navigate them indoors back to their car's parking location - using Take Me to My Car;
- then provide the route from that parking garage to the exact street address of the network;
- deep link to Google Maps to navigate the user to that network location; and then, if applicable,
- again recommend the best parking location.
Thanks to our Google Maps for Work partnership, we can also leverage Google's rich real-time data on Traffic Conditions, or provide options for Public Transportation -incorporating train and bus schedules, or let them know when they need to leave to get to their destination on time.
In the future, we will do much, much more with this rich dynamic data that only Google can provide, to give users even richer and more useful information and options that will reduce late and missed appointments and give our clients visibility and leverage to optimize your resources. But that is the topic for another blog!
Contact Us to Learn How Outdoor + Indoor Digital Wayfinding Will Help Your Organization
If you would like to learn how end-to-end, outdoor + indoor wayfinding and navigation with Connexient + Google Maps will benefit your organization and users, please contact us!