How the Internet of Things is Delivering Experiential Wayfinding

July 9, 2020 by Jody Shaffer
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“The Internet of Things (IoT) is a popular term bouncing around the technology sector at the moment. In fact, this section of the market is earmarked for extraordinary growth; predictions are putting it at the largest device market in the world by 2019.” That’s how we started this post when we originally published it in 2015. Now that it’s 2020, we thought it was worth revisiting and updating this post to reflect all of the changes that have taken place over the last five years.

So, how is that market growth panning out? In 2016, over 6.4B IoT devices were connected at a market value of $16 billion according to Gartner, and depending on who you ask, is now expected to reach a market cap between $318 billion and $520 billion. Regardless of who you consult, leading analysts agree that the compound growth rate of the IoT market shows no signs of flatlining in the next five years.

What Does the IoT Market Encompass?

In its simplest form, the Internet of things (IoT) is a network of technologies and devices that are connected and able to interact. Each IoT-enabled device has the ability to autonomously send and receive data.

In 2015, we anticipated that “the connection to the Internet will extend through to a whole host of new items: the fridge, the security system, the watch you wear, the luggage tag, and even the family pet” - all of which have certainly come to fruition.

The Internet of Things swiftly and drastically changed the way we interact with everything from our phones to our fridges, but it is arguably in the context of our experiences with enterprise organizations that the full scope of its impact can be felt. The advances that the Internet of Things brings to wayfinding are immense and are changing the way we navigate our indoor world, where we spend approximately 90% of our lives.

What is Wayfinding? Wayfinding is the process of determining your location and planning and following a route to your desired destination.  

Using Wayfinding to Create Personalized Experiences

Experiential wayfinding goes beyond simply navigating between two points: Experiential wayfinding uses an intelligent wayfinding platform with an open architecture to offer each user a personalized and unique experience at the individual level based on their wants and needs at any given time. Open wayfinding platforms enable integration with a wide range of third-party technologies. Whether it’s fundamental location-based services or complex predictive analytics software, the various pieces of the IoT puzzle come together at the enterprise level to create customized wayfinding applications.

IoT-enabled experiential wayfinding is the key to removing friction at scale from navigation experiences. From avoiding rush hour traffic en route to a conference, locating a free parking spot at the mall, or locating the hospital entrance closest to your appointment, device connectivity brings limitless potential for delivering unique and relevant information to the user.

This type of contextual messaging integrated with a wayfinding platform is a powerful tool that can create exceptional patient experiences at hospitals, help to reduce congestion at major transportation hubs, and drive additional spending at retail sites. For example, as a person enters a mall they may receive a hyper-relevant promotional message triggered by location sensors and data from the user’s integrated loyalty programs. This provides a method for retailers and malls to capitalize on the meaningful micro-moments that can drive additional consumer spending.

Connecting the Internet of Things and Wayfinding

Experiential wayfinding is dependent on having accurate indoor maps and wayfinding software with an open architecture that is able to collect and interpret data from disparate IoT devices. A connected IoT ecosystem is made up of four distinct components:

  • Devices – The various smart objects that interact with the wayfinding platform - mobile phones, tablets, sensors, kiosks - essentially any connected object.

  • Local Network – The networks which pick up the signal from the device and translate the signal or data into something compatible with Internet protocols. In the context of wayfinding, the local network generally consists of BLE beacons and Wi-Fi networks.

  • Internet – The hint is the name here - the internet is the backbone of the Internet of Things. Even if a device is connected to a local network, data still needs to be sent through an internet connection through which third-party integration and large volume data processing becomes a reality.  

  • Backend Service/Platform – This is the platform at the end of the IoT chain. It is essentially how the transformed data is displayed on the device itself. In a hospital, the service could be a mobile application alerting a patient that their medicine is ready or a notification when a parking spot is free

The Internet of Things has unlocked a world of possibilities for experiential wayfinding and is crucial to removing day-to-day friction. Location-aware technologies are revolutionizing our experience of place, and as the IoT market scales in the coming years, we anticipate more organizations will deploy experiential wayfinding solutions across their enterprises.

Jody Shaffer is the VP of Marketing for Inpixon. Beyond her passion for marketing, Jody aspires to run a half marathon. She gets lots of practice chasing her two young daughters around the house.