The Emergence of Indoor Mapping for the Enterprise

You’re new to a city or location for the first time, so there’s this looming and scary prospect that you might get lost. Maybe you’ll miss a meeting because you’re stuck in traffic you didn’t expect? Maybe you won’t be able to find your way back to your hotel or the place where you’re staying? There are tons of possibilities.

Luckily, thanks to modern technology, this almost never happens. When visiting a new city or place, you can rely on mobile GPS apps and tools. Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze, for example, provide real-time directions right to the front steps of your destination. And lots of people are using this to their advantage.

The mobile mapping market size is estimated to grow to $26.60 billion by 2020; all at a CAGR of 20.9% from ‘15 to ‘20. That’s a testament to how quickly this technology is taking hold.

There is one limitation of most GPS navigation systems, however. They are only usable or valid outdoors. What if you’re visiting a new property like a sprawling tech campus, or a bustling event or conference center? How do you know which rooms to go to and which events to attend?

Queue indoor mapping. Indoor mapping is exactly what you’d expect, location service for the indoors.

Imagine going to a new mall or shopping center, and instead of tracking down a local directory or map you can simply open your phone and see a layout with directions right there. At any given time you can look up the closest bathrooms, stores, food stalls and restaurants, and much more. You can also get real-time directions right to a particular destination.

Apple is already hard at work developing a new system for this sort of thing, going so far as to purchase multiple indoor mapping companies. So, it’s not out of the question, and should be here real soon, at least in the consumer space.

Sounds fantastic, right? Now imagine that technology on an enterprise scale. For example, indoor mapping used at business conferences and events to direct the flow of traffic, making sure visitors hit all the different stops, stalls, and touchpoints.

What Is Indoor Mapping?

Indoor mapping and GPS, sometimes referred to as 'blue dot' technology is nothing more than a real-time monitoring system that provides navigable updates about the interior of a location. It goes both ways, just as standard GPS. The brand or business can get an overview of where their visitors and customers are at an event. The customers or visitors can see where they are, where they need to go, and how to get there.

Naturally, as humans, we tend to wonder how to get from here to there along the fastest route possible. And so, GPS navigation was born, allowing us to see more accurate directions and location info. But until recently, it’s only been a viable platform for use outdoors. As explained, indoor mapping takes that concept and makes it possible for the interior of various locations, presumably large and or expansive or in need of easy navigation.

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How Does It Apply to Enterprise?

For customers and event attendees, indoor mapping is an efficient way to remain informed and aware of their current surroundings. It can help them get to conferences, meetings, and events on time. It can help them find local facilities and or stopping points. It can even help them track down a particular user or visitor they’ve wanted to meet up with.

Things are a little different on the enterprise side of the equation, however. What it can do, is provide real-time updates and or customer positioning for various event attendees. For example, you could see how a particular touchpoint or stall is packed to the brim with visitors, while another has very little attention.

Provided you set up the various locations or stops at the event appropriately, you can also keep track of where your attendees are along the customer experience or journey. This is referred to as customer journey wayfinding and allows you to pinpoint who is where during a particular event or timeline.

It can be used this way not just at events, but seemingly everywhere. Imagine being able to track where customers and visitors are when they come to your tech campus or company property? Imagine being able to see where your customers spend most of their time in your brick and mortar store - similar to a web page heat map? 

Building a More Robust Customer Experience Journey

For the customer, indoor mapping has the potential to create a much more seamless and enjoyable experience. At any given time, they can open a mobile app or look at their device and see where they are in relation to where they want to be. This allows them to engage, explore, and even shop on their own terms, more than they ever have before. Using the technology they can navigate to and or visit exactly the department where they want to be, bypassing anything that stands in their way. For example, maybe they don’t want to hit every touchpoint along the journey, instead making a bee line right for the place they’d like to be?

Adversely, it allows enterprise and business teams to build a more robust customer experience journey. You can track your audience, yes, but you can also tailor the experience through digital means. Provide your visitors with a little extra information or behind-the-scenes video of a particular area or location when they’re nearby.

There are truly some amazing things you can do with indoor mapping technology, and when paired with a mobile-first customer experience program, you’re serving it all up in the palm of their hand.