Indoor navigation for enterprises: goals, challenges, and use cases
Manufacturing, warehousing, and logistics are now closely linked to digital technologies. Sometimes certain industrial facilities are a few steps ahead of some IT companies in terms of digital transformation.
As part of the emerging IIoT, there is a growing demand for tracking cargo, vehicles, and equipment. Earlier, it was all about GPS, but now, indoor navigation is becoming increasingly common. Working on solutions in this field, Navigine is ready to share its vision on their value for various industries.
What business goals does indoor navigation help achieve
Companies aim to optimize their processes and thus, they need data on the movement of their assets. However, the monitoring of internal staff or external contractors may be required as well.
If the process encompasses the movement of certain parts within a factory, or goods within a warehouse, or vehicles within a logistics hub, this is a job for indoor navigation.
- Helps to optimize logistics and reduce costs of excessive operations;
- Reduce industrial injuries and ensure safety;
- Expedite response by using a rapid alert system.
Our experience shows that there are nearly 10 common use cases, while each of our clients chooses only 2 or 3 of them to solve the most relevant problems.
Monitoring of external contractors
You can control how your contractors execute their work. When companies outsource services, some of them face up to 3 times overpayment for person-hours. It is important to make sure that everything’s done well and on time. For example, goods arrive at the appointed place at the right time, the employees of the partner company inspect the cargo, provide maintenance, and perform other tasks.
Tracking systems can recognize particular incidents or chains of events and alert the operators. Even a worker, who was left alone at the site and got into trouble, can count on being rescued.
If there's an extreme situation or a need for evacuation, a navigation system can help develop and implement safe response tactics. In the case of broken equipment, it helps to find the closest maintenance crew and coordinate them.
Up to 40% of working time is used inappropriately and every minute longer is a loss. Violation of regulations and guidelines is dangerous for health and life. It is important to ensure that everybody takes their designated place at the right time.
Navigation systems are especially useful within remote locations, where there is no permanent staff. Movement control becomes one of the rare solutions, that support operation in difficult conditions.
Solutions from Navigine provide rapid deployment. They can be utilized for temporary projects, e.g. on building sites.
How it works
Typically, infrastructure consists of components that receive and transmit signals. In most cases, we use BLE beacons, installing them on vehicles, or embedding them into wearable devices for workers. Recently, we've launched the alternative technology, Wi-Fi RTT, which outperforms BLE for many indicators.
Behind the visible part of the system, there is a complex software that provides high-quality signal processing, back-end, intuitive user interface, and analytics. The history of movements is crucial for investigations.
Beacons and sensors locate objects, which is helpful for tracking movement and providing operational planning.
Wearable devices are able not only to locate workers but measure their heartbeats and other physiological conditions, register concentration of gases in the air, and not only. If a person enters a dangerous area, leave their workplace, deteriorates or immobilized, the system alerts the operators.
The platform addresses a wide range of issues. It receives alerts and helps to address incidents. Real-time navigation allows companies to coordinate complicated processes. Analytics and reports help to find out the location of a certain unit at a particular time or check the status of work. There are hundreds of scenarios.
Let's talk about basic use cases of indoor navigation for IIoT. Non-compliance to the framework on a walk-round check can cost your company about $10 million a year. This is just one of many examples of how enterprises “pay” for their negligence. It doesn’t matter, whether you’re a manufacturer or a transport company. Data-driven management is a must today.
The substation is an important element in the power supply chain of any city. Linemen inspect the most important equipment several times a day to ensure it operates well. The navigation system checks whether they follow regulations and notifies responsible persons of deviations from the route, therefore reducing the risk of failures.
The key employees of our client walked up to 15 km per day, which was damaging to their health. Our system helps to plan routes for staff and vehicles with the purpose of redistributing load between them, reducing harm to health and logistics costs.
In manufacturing, the prevention of incidents in hazardous areas is of particular importance. The navigation system helps to build heatmaps that show the movement of employees. This allows you to develop instructions for the staff aiming to reduce risks to life and health. In the event of an incident involving an employee, the system is able to immediately alert those responsible for assistance.
Navigine offers the solution for companies, that are concerned about the health of their staff, struggling with coronavirus pandemic. The monitoring system helps to check whether any infected person contacted with other staff. Medical examinations can take up to 4 hours a day resulting in downtime of the entire enterprise. But you have a chance to avoid it.
At Navigine we are focused on software development instead of producing components. Our deep hardware expertise allows us to help our partners improve their devices, delivering valuable insights. In that way, we can concentrate on what we do better, developing algorithms and platforms.
What we want from our clients
For implementing indoor navigation systems within factories, warehouses, logistics hubs, and other facilities, you don’t need to have your internal developers or experts in navigation. Your working group can consist even of IT managers. In this case, communications and budgeting are the core competencies.
We often start with a pilot project, that might cost less than 5% of the overall budget. Therefore, at minimum investments, we can discover critical aspects of a project at an early stage, avoid possible risks, optimize scheduling, reduce implementation and maintenance costs, evaluate ROI.