Stay Connected

Congrats! You’re subscribed

  • Facebook Classic
  • LinkedIn App Icon
  • Google+ App Icon
  • Twitter Classic

Where can indoor navigation take your business?

The continued interest in the Internet of Things leads (IoT) has paved the way for numerous developments including smart buildings. Indoor positioning systems are quickly gaining traction in shopping centers, hospitals, airports and other venues. Buildings challenge conventional GPS systems, since navigation applications have a tough time tracing GPS satellite signals indoors. Local technologies are needed to maintain high accuracy. Three technological solutions currently dominate this space: bluetooth (beacon), wifi, and geomagnetic, each with different strengths and weaknesses. As smartphones become ubiquitous, there is now a unique opportunity to provide users with indoor navigation tools along with business value.

Choosing an indoor navigation technology

As you set out to examine each technology’s costs, an important aspect to determine is the level of location accuracy you actually need for your business. For example, in settings such as shopping malls, manufacturing facilities, hospitals, and event venues, you may be satisfied with room-level accuracy rather than reaching centimeter level resolution.[1] Other helpful questions in assessing an indoor navigation system include what area needs to be covered, who will be using the technology, how user-friendly is it, and what location based information will you want to provide to name a few.

Utilizing indoor navigation to drive business


“ Beacon technology is already used by some of North America’s top retailers, including Macy’s, Target, Urban Outfitters, and CVS.”[2]

-Shopify ________________________________________________________________

Promotional campaigns and analytics tools are integral to utilizing indoor navigation in a new form of marketing called proximity marketing. Retail is blazing trails in this space. By collecting and analyzing data gathered during shopping visits including time spent at certain areas, retailers can reach insights about the best day and time a shopper is likely to download and use specific coupons. If you are using bluetooth (beacon-based) apps, some ways to encourage visitors to download include offering entry to a raffle for downloading as well as executing app-exclusive promotions.

Similar to the cost-per-click model in Google adwords, retail stores can utilize a cost-per-visit pricing model, allowing them to pay only when an in-store visit occurs. As indoor navigation use becomes more widespread, knowing the difference between providing a customized experience and annoying consumers means walking a fine line. For example, in Target’s opt-in program, consumer’s allow the retailer to use beacon technology to send them push notifications and Target promises to limit the alerts to two per shopping trip.[3]

Last Thought: In addition to navigation apps for businesses, there are a few apps users can try out to share information among themselves on how to get to a destination. For example, Path Guide[4] is a convenient navigation tool in which a user can record the path he or she takes to a destination with audio directions and share them with other users. They can then conveniently follow the highlighted path.

[1] How To Select Indoor Positioning Technology: 4 Things To Consider No Matter Your Industry/AirFinder

[2] Proximity Marketing: How to Attract More Shoppers With Beacon Technology/Shopify

[3] Proximity Marketing: How to Attract More Shoppers With Beacon Technology/Shopify Blogs

[4] Path Guide: A New Approach to Indoor Navigation