What is Wayfinding?

By Jon Salisbury

People always ask me about what wayfinding is and how new technology is changing this space.

Wayfinding is the act of helping humans navigate first mile, middle mile, and last mile transport. This can be walking, driving, biking or running.

Wayfinding becoming more and more important in increasingly complex buildings, venues, and cityscapes such as urban centers, massive health care campuses, spawling universities, and transportation facilities. The value of urban strategy and planning is increasing by the day as smart and connected infrastructure is deployed giving new resources to the wayfinding applications. Humans need visual, audio, and digital cues such as maps, apps, signs, directions, and symbols to promote POI and intended destinations. The last mile has the most room for improvement as jumping on 2 elevators and walking across 2 skywalks then ending up back outside can be extremely stressful. Wayfinding solutions today are becoming more advanced and now allow the person options in the journey to make get to the destination easier, faster, and safer.

smartLINK helps in with wayfinding by providing the following:

Interactive Digital Signage - This helps to promote awareness, provide in world 3d wayfinding which includes navigation through any complexity which can be used right on the screen and sent directly to the phone for continued use.

App - The app solution is critical as it will allow a person to have the environment in 3d right on the phone. smartLINK believes that this is needed in conjunction with interactive digital signage as everyone will not have an app. We also believe that the day of the static map is long gone as environments are always changing as well as congestion loads.

Sensors - Sensors like Cameras, WIFI, LIDAR, Sonar, Environmental, and RF scanning can provide data back into digital systems providing a dynamic understanding of the environment. This allows people to know whats coming, changed and what the environment looks like on the other side.

What you talk about urban or city settings wayfinding experts develop interactive signage and static signage for both pedestrians and motorists. Both of these types of travelers unique challenges navigating streets and roadways. Over time these systems will help people develop “mental maps” of the environment and simplify their routes to the extent possible. They also promote exploration to new points of the internet that the person may not have been aware of.

smartLINK created a beautiful 3D wayfinding for the ICSC Recon show in Vegas which encompassed the entire Las Vegas convention center which included over 3500 booths across more than 2 miles difficult to travel walkway. During the show, more than 8 thousand uses of the wayfinding software were used in 1 day.

Conventions are extremely complex and involve the most stressful challenges you would face in any city street, mall, health care centers, malls, concerts or entertainment venue. This type of solution required planning technically, graphically, all centered around the human experience to ensure we provided the fastest route with awareness about other opportunities around the destination.

smartLINK also developed a comprehensive wayfinding solution for the Newport on the Levee lifestyle center which is roughly 500,000 sq ft including 4 floors with outdoor and indoor destinations. The facility includes a constantly changing environment with events, shopping, entertainment and aquarium next door. The facility is walkable from 2 states including bridge access from the river as well as street access, large parking and drives up valet.

Other facilities like airports, travelers need fast and reliable information to guide them from the roadway to the airport and through the increasingly complex terminals. Interactive wayfinding kiosks provide directional guidance through a carefully planned sequence that delivers information to users at key decision points in their journey and on the phone for convenience.

When starting your wayfinding journey the days of static are behind us. People want visual, easy to use, mobile technology that is easy to get ahold of. They dont have room for another app for every facility so a blend of app and interactive kiosk is a perfect solution providing convience to all your visitors.

For more information contact us today about your interactive kiosk wayfinding solutions.

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