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Four Features of a Safe Self-Service Wayfinding Solution

Chuck Rinker
2020-07-21 17:26:30

If you’ve ever visited a large campus, blundered your way through the local mall in search of that one shop located in that one place, or tried to navigate your way through the maze of labyrinthine corridors and levels that make up a large medical facility, then you’ve experienced the stress of trying to locate your destination, not to mention getting to an appointment on time. Wayfinding technologies coupled with an intelligent digital assistant are the solution and the future of indoor navigation. 


So, what is digital wayfinding? Digital wayfinding is the act of navigating within a single location or between separate locations via digital means, and chances are good that you already use this technology in your everyday life. Anytime you use Google Maps or Waze to guide you from where you are to where you want to be, you’re engaging in digital wayfinding. This same technology is being adapted for use in indoor navigation as well, offering up an efficient, accurate means of getting from point A to point B within a given structure. This technology, harnessed with an intelligent virtual digital assistant, creates the perfect blend of touch-less self-service wayfinding with an engaging personality and a smile.



Here are a few reasons why this approach is the best way to deploy an indoor wayfinding solution: 


  1. Accurate, up to date information. One of the most important benefits of a digital wayfinding system is that it’s able to provide information in real time. Change can be fast and furious, easily rendering printed maps and directions useless. Digital wayfinding systems provide accurate and timely updates to changes in floor plans, personnel, or wait times.  Customers, guests, visitors of all shapes and sizes, can search for information on the fly, trusting that the information they’ve been given is accurate and up to date. Need the shortest route to the nearest bathroom (we’ve all been there)? No problem, thanks to the digital wayfinding app or kiosk. And thank goodness for that, am I right? 
  2. Save time and money. Wayfinding systems help create more organized, efficient environments that utilize less manpower. Interactivity creates opportunity for customer self-service, which allows them to engage directly with the wayfinding system at their own pace and leisure, freeing up essential staff to focus on more urgent tasks, including assisting individuals who require more in-depth help.  This can result in greater operational efficiencies, cost savings, and increased customer satisfaction. The digital nature of the wayfinding system also requires zero paper, which means zero waste. And anytime we can reduce the impact on mother nature can be chalked up as a good thing.
  3. Healthier and safer than existing solutions. In today’s social environment, specifically as it pertains to public health and safety, conversational digital interaction is no longer a “nice to have” and has become a “must have”Conversational AI, coupled with touchscreens, can minimize unnecessary physical interactions, ensuring that your guests and clients can navigate their surroundings with ease while maintaining a health-minded environment.  
  4. Trusted Communication. The human mind is powerful and often misunderstood. Countless studies and research show that we trust and believe human avatars far more than some cold mindless box of silicon and electricity (I’m referring to non-intelligent digital signage and other current kiosk-based wayfinding solutions). We respond to and crave the trust that comes from subtle human gestures, that reassuring smile and a friendly face. However, the human avatar has to carefully steer clear of the uncanny valley”, a term more common these days, that happens when you try to make your artificial humans too realistic and quickly go from “cool” to “creepy”. A properly executed digital assistant has to strike a subtle balance to be perceived as an emphatic, trustworthy digital assistant.  

Digital wayfinding systems are quickly becoming a part of the fabric of consumer culture. Whether they are assisting with navigation on college campuses, within shopping malls, or in airports, digital wayfinding kiosks and apps can make it easy for everyone to find exactly what they need, and where they need to go. Enhancing these systems with thoughtfully integrated digital virtual assistant, creates more than just a useful way to find your way around. It creates an experience sure to increase visitor satisfaction while providing the near touch-less experience mandated for safe and healthier user engagements. 

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