It’s tough to see the world through anything other than Coronavirus-tinted glasses right now. And whilst we continue to battle this ambiguous disease, we’re also seeing a new way of life emerging because of it – especially when it comes to wayfinding technology.

 

Wayfinding technology is digital information that assists with guiding people through a physical environment and the navigation of indoor spaces.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, wayfinding tech has already been leveraged in three different areas to help with our “new normal.”

Hospitals

As cases of Coronavirus rose and hospitals started to near capacity, as in the USA and Europe, hospitals started having to designate certain areas and facilities solely focused on COVID-19 patients. Due to the mayhem that can be caused by over-capacity, directing patients and visitors to the best-suited locations can be challenging. In an effort to effectively manage this, as well as the overall experience of patients, wayfinding technology has been offered as a solution.

An example of such tech being used is Everbridges’s indoor GPS mapping and navigation app, which has been helping hospitals in the US manage the anticipated influx of patients.

“The more people who use the app to navigate, the better off hospitals will be in managing COVID-19-related surge events.” – Mark Green General Manager of Connexient

Wayfinding solutions can also be used to make sure patients are kept up to date with the most accurate information, this tech can also be target to alert people in certain areas and based on the user’s location.

Shops

As much as we have been able to return to stores physically, it’s also true that most consumers are concerned about safety. Shops will also want to ensure that people are limiting contact and exposure. A recent global study by Ipsos found that 61% of consumers that they would not shop at a store that they felt was not taking the necessary COVID-19 health and safety precautions. Another study found that consumer habits have changed with an increase in delivery and pick up options.

“In Australia digital and omnichannel adoption for grocery shopping continues. This shift is likely to stay post-crisis, with more consumers shopping online and adopting many digital replacements for everyday activities. – Mckinsey 2020

Apart from increasing safety measures, such as limiting numbers of people in stores and mask requirements, there are may stores who are looking at adopting wayfinding applications and in-store technologies to help. An example of this is two grocery stores in Manhattan who have upgraded their in-store apps to help shoppers find products faster, without having to ask an employee which means less chance of social interaction. Both stores have used technology by SIRL, an indoor GPS system that makes stores searchable with step-by-step route guidance.

Key features of the solution include, navigating consumers within 30 cm of a product and sharing improved routes so consumers can find products following the quickest path through the store. It also includes advanced routing UX, including multi-floor map handling. 

It doesn’t have to be an app or necessarily driven by technology. There are many ways to support navigation in the store. The future offers us a new opportunity.” – Shelley Kohan, founder and CEO of Shelmark Consulting.

Aiports

As Mobi covered in a blogpost long before COVID-19, airport wayfinding has faced similarly radical changes as a result of new technologies and changing expectations. Delta Airlines are using different technologies to improve wayfinding. They recently announced plans to launch a ‘Parrallel Reality’ experience for travellers at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

The technology allows different passengers to simultaneously visualise tailored content about their journey from one screen.

The pandemic has already made a huge impact with airports around the globe now introducing both digital and static signage, to direct travellers towards areas for testing or for sharing health messages. Wayfinding in airports has already proven crucial to helping passengers navigate their way when travelling and it’s clear this type of tech will remain necessary, even when things return to normal.

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