Advances in digital signage software have improved the delivery of interactive wayfinding experiences, including accurate positioning on multi-floor and multi-building maps and intuitive touch-screen operations. This trend is set to continue throughout 2016.
By way of example, many two-dimensional (2-D) maps are being upgraded to three-dimensional (3-D) ‘immersive spaces that can be manipulated with standard pinch, zoom and rotate features, providing a more realistic view of an environment. There are several examples of 3-D map views, including:
- Flyover—Animated routes provide virtual directions as the user walks through the facility.
- Stacked skeleton—A multi-floor view supports 360-degree directional rotation.
- Eagle view—A high-level view that provides top-down route directions.
Another way to enhance the user’s experience is to add an icon—such as a magnifying glass—next to any destination on the map, which can be tapped to bring up a short description and various images of that destination. It could even display live images captured via webcam.
It is also becoming popular to provide additional built-in data-driven elements. In convention centres, for instance, interactive kiosks usually complement map directions with schedules of meetings for each location and speaker bios. Wayfinding maps are often integrated with facilities’ centrally managed databases, including not only event schedules, but also directories, point-of-sale (POS) systems, cross-campus communications and emergency alert notifications.
In turn, data performance analytics are deployed to track how such kiosks are used. This helps network operators understand users’ behaviour and preferences, so they can adjust the visitor experience further. Knowing a particular location is being searched for especially frequently, for example, could lead to that space being made more accessible and/or the addition of further signage to help make it easier to find.
Beyond digital signs, mobile apps are likely to dominate the market in 2016 as many users’ preferred method of accessing information. Wi-Fi access points and Bluetooth beacons can be integrated with mobile apps to provide searchable, real-time walking directions for users on the move.