Indoor navigation implementation as a success factor for exhibitions
The issues of indoor positioning in exhibition halls are becoming more and more vital. The reason is the common usage of smartphones that help people at any time to get information about their location. Users are used to the availability of GPS signals and mobile applications, such as “Google map” so they consider such possibilities as the sovereign right.
The question of outdoor location tracking can be considered solved but what about being inside in a closed space? Smartphones don’t allow orienting in the field and moving along big exposition halls can become an overwhelming task. How to find the necessary hall? How do get to the room before the presentation? Where is the meeting room? All these questions can be answered by indoor navigation that makes the interactive map of the exhibition space, manage visitor flows and help build routes.
Reasons for implementing indoor navigation at exhibitions
Navigine offers users a modern platform for indoor navigation based on the wireless IBeacon technology which is based on placing in the building special BLE-beacons that are connected with the users’ smartphones using Bluetooth Low Energy tracking technology.
IBeacon trackers emit Bluetooth signals on an ongoing basis; smartphones detect them at a distance of up to 50 m and define the exact user’s location. If necessary, the system sends the relevant push notifications which are tied to the person’s location. It helps users to get detailed information about the current event, its lecturers, exhibits, or participants.
iBeacon indoor navigation can significantly improve the user experience in many directions:
- reducing waiting time in queues;
- notifying about a big number of visitors in different event places;
- possibility to build optimal routes;
- getting interesting notifications about lecturers, halls;
- access to digital content;
- detailed and actual information about exhibits.
Advantages of indoor navigation at exhibitions for organizers
While monitoring exhibition visitors, one can understand the behavior of the participants and ensure closer business relations. Tracking assets, increasing participants’ safety, and controlled indoor navigation is becoming the key success factors in this issue.
Taking into account the global dynamics of spreading COVID-19, location tracking is a key aspect in ensuring the safety of exhibition participants. Thanks to the beacon signals, the organizers can control social distancing. As soon as the distance is violated (visitors appear at a distance of less than 1-2 m from each other), the alarm signals warn the organizers and people who are not observing the distance.
Equipping visitors with special smart badges at registration helps to establish the maximum occupancy rate of exhibition halls and monitor it in order to avoid overcrowding. Thanks to the badges, one can track the contacts of the participants with the other visitors of the exhibition. If in the future anybody faces the symptoms of COVID19, indoor navigation will allow searching potentially infected people quickly.
For many years exhibitors have relied only on manual inventories of assets before and after exhibitions. Sometimes participants were informed about losses of things, which led to additional expenses for the company. Thanks to indoor navigation, it had become easier to track exhibits, including details and elements of stands. One just has to attach BLE beacons to the assets in order to get current information about their location in real-time mode.
iBeacon technology helps to track both movable and immovable equipment before and after the event, contributing to asset management efficiency and minimizing losses during the exhibition.
Despite the presence of exhibition plans, participants can face difficulties in orienting in big and confusing corridors, while exhibitors can easily lose their employees and have problems with arranging staff owing to lack of time.
Indoor navigation with location-tracking technology is aimed at solving these questions. Radio beacons, placed on the whole territory of the exhibition space, are connected to the employees’ smartphones and let them quickly find a way to the stands of their company.
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Using indoor navigation, it’s possible to define the exact number of people who attended the exhibition and use this data while planning new events. The possibility of measuring visitor flows plays an important role for organizers since it allows evaluating:
- waiting time for registration and access to the venue;
- rush hours, i.e. visual presentation of the most intensive movement;
- maximum number of participants that can be fitted in halls without problems;
- general traffic (important for sponsors and companies that are ready to spend their marketing resources on organizing exhibitions).
Examples of indoor navigation for exhibitions
Technopark Skolkovo can be a good example of implementing indoor navigation for exhibitions from Navigine. The specialists had a task to equip with beacons a big space of 96,000 square meters where more than 400 companies-residents are located. The main aim was to help the residents and guests of the oncoming event to orient in the building – search the necessary offices and rooms, book meeting rooms, arrange a business meeting with partners or colleagues.
In two weeks the engineers from Navigine managed not only to set up the beacons and install navigation but also create mobile applications with wide functionality for visitors. Apart from searching the infrastructural facilities, they allow Skolkovo to attract new people to their ecosystem, inform about the life of the Technopark. In the future, the administration is planning to use the applications as a service for renting the property.
Thus, location-tracking technology for trade fairs and exhibitions opens unlimited opportunities for optimizing business processes. It helps to perform complex organization of various events, ensuring the best experience for visitors.