March 18, 2016

Indoor Mapping, the “Build versus Buy” Dilemma

5 minute read

Locating Car in Parking

Companies across numerous industries are building cross platform apps with indoor navigation or adding navigation features to existing apps. Mostly, they have the same goal, to improve customer experiences, and are faced with the same dilemma, “Build versus Buy”.

Often, the temptation is to go with an off-the-shelf solution, after all they’re faster and cheaper to implement. But you’ll soon discover that an off-the-shelf solution lacks the customization needed to deliver real value to shoppers visiting your shopping mall; patients seeking treatment at your hospital; or employees at your office complex.

That’s because creating a better customer experience doesn’t end with the conversion of architectural diagrams into mobile friendly maps that provide turn-by-turn navigation. The real power lies in the ability to use indoor maps in conjunction with location–aware technologies and 3rd party applications – the ability to integrate with parking management systems, patient management systems, meeting room reservation systems, and more.


When you’re faced with the “build versus buy” dilemma, make sure you aren’t limited by a lack of customization. An off-the-shelf solution will see customization challenges become more pronounced, and scalability becomes harder to reach as your requirements evolve.


On the other hand, the costs associated with building custom software, and building a team of skilled indoor navigation experts may be one of the first and most logical reasons for you to avoid choosing a build option. Another reason an off-the-shelf solution may seem attractive is that building a custom software solution takes a great deal of time to complete. In a competitive environment you may not have the time.

What if you could get the best of both worlds? An indoor mapping platform that has:

  • The flexibility and scalability required to create a sustainable competitive advantage;
  • The ability to scale and integrate with an array of 3rd party apps thereby improving functionality;
  • The option to mould the technology to ideally suit your specific business operations;
  • The ability to leverage a robust wayfinding platform to quickly get to market;

The middle ground in this dilemma is the ability use an indoor mapping engine to power your app. Think of it as the autopilot on an aircraft, your team designs the streamlined airframe, Rolls Royce supplies the engines, and Jibestream the autopilot – a complex navigation system that must interact with components from a myriad of suppliers to automatically get an aircraft of the ground at Heathrow, guide it across the Atlantic, and put it land it safely at JFK.

Another advantage to using a mapping engine is that oftentimes it has been implemented in the same vertical, resulting in reusable industry templates. This helps accelerate initial deployment and means that API connectors are more readily available.

Our indoor location platform is quickly installed and deployed, at a fraction of the cost of building something from scratch. However through an SDK it has the ability to connect with a myriad of 3rd party applications that will guide a shopper from a home – using your mobile app to search for a product – to a retail outlet in your mall, and back home again. All along the way helping them navigate traffic, find a parking spot closest the retail store they’re visiting, notify them of product specific promotions, and make sure they find their car when leaving your mall.

Want to learn more about bringing experiential wayfinding to your space?


Jean Moncrieff

Jean Moncrieff is Jibestream's Location Independent Marketing Lead – current location, Italy. In addition to all things marketing, he loves travel, writing, and red wine. Currently experimenting with vegetarianism.

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