Digital signage and wayfinding are changing rapidly as people are trying to solve the problem of indoor wayfinding. We at smartLINK are constantly evaluating products and when doing so we put them through the gauntlet to find strengths, weaknesses, and flat-out freakish innovations as you will see. Navigating a large interior environment can be daunting and time-consuming. People have tried to solve this with what they call static signage “Non-Digital Maps”. This has proved inefficient and seems ancient. The world is changing fast and smartLINK is at the forefront of this push to make life easier in the city streets, at events, city centers, or in the campus environment. smartLINK “The worlds smartest kiosk” is designed to sit outdoors and provides key components, experience, and insight. Our kiosks are IoT central with over 10 sensors ranging from security, environmental, video, wireless, audio and coming soon “LIDAR” with point clouds! What this allows us to do is accurately understand any environment we are installed in and maximize the positive experience for the people who interact with it based on all the data we gather.
Digital signage has evolved into an intelligent device much like an ALEXA from Amazon. In this day and age, people want experience coupled with intuitive service which equates to convenience. How do you properly tackle touch? Well, in the outdoor space it can be difficult and time-consuming to find just the right product. We have tested just about every variation on the market and came up with our personal favorite, which we think is top of the food chain. When implementing digital signage with wayfinding, you need to implement a touch interface for people to come up and navigate the environment that will provide the best experience.
Infrared touchscreens are based on light-beam interruption technology. Instead of an overlay on the surface, a frame surrounds the display. The frame has light sources, or light emitting diodes (LEDs) on one side and light detectors on the opposite side, creating an optical grid across the screen. When an object touches the screen, the invisible light beam is interrupted, causing a drop in the signal received by the photosensors. Many types of infrared touch are low cost, but have problems in direct sunlight, especially slow response to touch. Capacitive touchscreens are composed of a sheet of glass. When a finger comes into contact you get a very rapid response along with multi-touch capabilities. This is what you will find on your iPhone. Most capacitive touchscreens are higher cost, and while there can be potential damage due to hard hits on the glass, they have an extremely fast response. Wayfinding is truly a problem that the entire industry is trying to tackle on the inside of buildings. We are seeing all sorts of things come out from the likes of Google, Microsoft, and much more.
Traditionally you have 2 types of navigation.
Type One: Outdoor navigation – Smartphones or what I call mobile computers now include GPS, and Google has all but solved outdoor navigation with Google Earth, Google Maps, and Waze.
Type 2: Indoor Mapping / Indoor wayfinding : To start, smartLINK utilizes a lot of these software packages and each one has a multitude of benefits. For example, take a look at Four Winds. Four Winds is great software. It comes with a player so you must use the player to utilize the wayfinding. The wayfinding works by taking a CAD drawing and vectoring the lines as step 1. Step 2 is to import the vector image and add attributes to grow the walls inside the software. Step 3 is to add all the attributes for items inside the environment, and step 4 is to create your waypoints. Limited API use is had inside the wayfinding environment. This process can take some time. The player supports 4k quality. The quality of the wayfinding depends on the artist’s ability to add detail to the environment. Acquire Digital comes from the UK and is showcased at Caesars Palace with some absolutely stunning displays which are synced and un-synced in a massive orchestration. This player/wayfinding combo has very nice code with lots of integrations. The wayfinding software is very hard to build but the quality is second to none!
Type 3: New Breed: Now its time to talk about something new. We are talking full world 3D mapping with indoor and outdoor capabilities. Welcome to WRLD3D with smartLINK enhancements using the Unity game engine. Go ahead and check out Cincinnati here: https://wrld.mp/e021d99
What you get with this new system
* Indoor and outdoor mapping. New, detailed wayfinding for the entire planet.
* Integrated IoT Services.
* Responsive design meaning on the big screen and small.
* Games and other community projects.
* Data ingest capabilities to track traffic congestion and more.
* Works incredibly with digital signage.
* Advanced Open architecture with JSON, GEOJSON, SDK and much more.
smartLINK uses this technology along with a robust analytics engine and sensors on steroids to take your environment into the future! Welcome to the future and I hope this article was helpful. Digital signage, wayfinding / indoor mapping is a passion for smartLINK and we are proud thought leaders in this space!