Digital wayfinding can incorporate HTML5, QR codes and SMS directions to bring a modern experience to people trying to get somewhere. But wayfinding apps combined with proximity beacons puts the directions right in their hands. And adding a geofence and interactive touchscreens can help round out the visitor wayfinding experience.
The app sits on a smartphone or other mobile device, and can be customized to any environment with branding, site-specific maps, pictures of buildings and other contextual cues. Proximity beacons are small, wireless devices mounted at entrances, elevators and other important landmarks. The app and the beacons work together to give the user turn-by-turn directions to their destination. When a smartphone with the app approaches the beacon, it sends out a Bluetooth signal that feeds directions to the next beacon. The app provides a picture of environmental cues for reference, and simple directions (like “turn left at corner and go to the elevators”). The user then goes to that location, where another beacon picks them up and gives further instructions (“take the elevator to the second floor”).
A geofence is a virtual perimeter tied to actual physical locations, like around a building, or at the edge of a parking lot. When a GPS-enabled smartphone crosses the border of this space, it receives a notification welcoming the visitor and providing instructions, general directions to the lobby, or important information about the location. If the device does not have the app installed, the geofence can send a message prompting the user to download it during their first visit. Repeat visitors are reminded that there is a digital wayfinding solution for them, and encouraged to make use of it.
Interactive touchscreens located around a facility can be paired with an app to give visitors a full-service wayfinding solution. The app is mainly for directions, but a touchscreen can also include directories, event schedules, social media feeds, messages and advertising – anything your digital signage is promoting. The app and the touchscreens are separate products, so they can have different designs – more information and detail for the touchscreens, and a more streamlined design for the app. However, the app can also be designed to include feeds for messages and announcements, turning every smartphone and mobile device into an extension of your digital signage system.
Digital wayfinding is a modern tool that improves the experience for visitors, putting the information they need right in their hands, at exactly the place they need it.
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