The ROI of lowering queue times

Have you ever wondered what the ROI would be if queues were shortened and your clients’ queuing times were lowered?Queue Of Abstract People On White

Queues are everywhere.  At checkout lines in stores.  At the airport, to check in to your flight; for security screening; and waiting to board.  At ticket office windows.  To pick up your keys at the car rental desk.  To check in and out at hotels.  To find an empty spot at parking lots and parking garages.

Most people, hurried and short of time, regard queuing or standing in lines as an unwelcome waste of time.  This perception has clear business implications, as potential customers simply leave, and potential business transactions evaporate.  This is the fundamental reason why, reducing or eliminating queues should be a top concern for any customer-centric business.

Granted, in some cases savvy merchants take advantage of people spending time in lines, and feed information to captive audiences hungry for any meaningful distraction.  That’s why we are tempted with impulse-shopping items like chewing gum and tabloid magazines at the supermarket checkout lines.  But, for the most part, spending time in lines is a downer.   Let’s see some examples.

Crowds at the checkout lines

We all know that the customer volumes at supermarkets vary greatly throughout the day and on different days of the week.  People come in waves: early morning on weekdays may see an influx of customers stopping by for a coffee and breakfast items on their way to work. There is the lunch crowd, coming in for a sandwich, salad or soup at the delicatessen counter.

The largest tide of customers arrives when people leave work and stop for provisions and dinner items on their way home.  Well aware of these trends, and knowing full well that most of these customers are in a rush, retailers lay out their stores to facilitate finding the desired items quickly; they locate coffee shops and ready-to-go food counters close to the doors, and pay special attention to checkout lines.  Additional lines open up.  Self-checkout lines are introduced. Ordering online (with or without home-delivery) has steadily risen.  Pretty soon self-checkout anywhere in the store, using mobile devices will be commonplace.

Retail industry insiders like Envirosell have long reported an occurrence that was not possible to capture by simply tallying sales, or eyeballing the length of the open checkout lines.  A significant number of potential customers were walking into the store, quickly gauging line lengths, then making a U-turn out of the store when anticipating a very long wait at the cash-wrap.  Or they were limiting their purchase to a few, essential items, so they could be admitted through the fast checkout lanes (10 items or less).

The financial impact to a store of these behaviors may be estimated by measuring its frequency. And that requires measuring people flow through that environment.

Airport crowds

Sometimes it seems that going through airports is a series of exercises in waiting.  You wait to check in.  You wait for the security screening.  You wait for your flight to begin boarding.  You wait to board.  You wait to get off your flight. You wait for your bags.  People In Queue Photo

Airport business managers are frequently assessing whether it is possible to drive more passengers through retail areas to generate additional revenues.  Should more resources be deployed to reduce passenger wait times at checkpoints?

The rationale is clear: wait times, though inconvenient to customers, may be beneficial to businesses if these customers spend time shopping at businesses located in the airport terminals.   Note that not all waits are equal.  Waiting for a flight departure with the freedom to browse and shop is a plus, while waiting at a seemingly never-ending security line is not.

A study by SITA found that the average passenger retail spend at airports declines by 30% when they were tied up for an additional 10 minutes in security lines.  Delays are a function of the number of passengers present, check-in technologies in use, and the level of staffing available to assist customers.  Measuring the varying parameters clearly makes sense from a purely financial standpoint.

SITA’s study also found that real-time information about disruptions and passenger flows is needed for proactive decision making by operations.  In other words, timely passenger flow data is essential.

Just as important: passengers’ frustration levels rise when they are stuck in lines and have no idea about expected wait times.  Unsurprisingly, passenger satisfaction goes up as data becomes available.   A March 2015 article chronicled the experience at the regional Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in Cincinnati, OH, which deployed a system to track and display average wait times by counting passengers’ active Wi-Fi devices per line.  The system was able to give passengers vital information to decide which line to join and seize some level of control over their wait time. Bloomberg Business reports that similar systems have been successfully deployed at other airports around the world.   In those experiences, when provided with information, passengers act much calmer, and find the overall experience of standing up in queues much less daunting.

The back story

Managing lines to minimize queue times has important financial implications and is achievable.  Managing queues requires data to measure passengers’ flow in real time, help pinpoint problem areas and gauge the effectiveness of any solution, operational or technical, deployed to address them.

Navizon I.T.S.  and Navizon Analytics provide basic building blocks for sizing crowds and collecting real-time data that enables pedestrian flow analysis through public and private spaces.

Affordable while easy to deploy and integrate, these solutions become essential tools for learning and monitoring queues and shared space utilization with direct ROI implications for your business.

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Big Brother Brasil is back!

Good news!  On January 20th begins the 2015 season of Big Brother Brasil, or BBB15.BigBrotherBrasil2

Devoted fans know the plot well: a group of complete strangers is brought together to share the Big Brother House for about three months, without any contact with the outside world during that time, while being relentlessly followed by TV cameras.  Participants compete with each other, and are slowly dropped from the competition until only one is left standing.

Produced by Rede Globo, the show has been a running success for many years, becoming the most popular reality TV show and the most talked-about reality-based program in Brazilian TV history.  BBB15 Brothers & SistersThis year’s contestants were chosen through a series of regional contests taking place between May and November.  The new brothers and sisters are now ready to start the new season.

It is clear that the BBB franchise has plucked the right chords with its devoted audience. The Brazilian edition of BBB has not changed much its format over time, continuing to captivate and entertain.  After a successful 2014 season, very few changes were introduced to enhance the winning formula.  Mostly, this year’s task is bringing the audience together to interact as they do in social media.

Keeping an eye on brothers and sisters

Once again, BBB has a Control Room that keeps statistics of each and every contestant: BBB 15 Control Room

The Central de Controle e Monitoramento keeps detailed statistics such as actual weight, calories spent over time and steps taken, in addition to each contestant’s whereabouts.

Where is everybody?

Fans will remember last year’s season, Big Brother Brasil 2014 (BBB14). That was when BBB, introduced indoor location technology to follow, in real time, contestants’ movements throughout the Big Brother House, displaying their location on a large online dashboard.  That way, in addition to the ever-present cameras following brothers and sisters everywhere, indoor location tracking gave audiences real-time information about the House and the whereabouts of its denizens.  Who spends time with whom?  Where are they this very minute?

Again, in 2015 all contestants will carry a small electronic tracking device to enable passive, unobtrusive tracking of everyone’s movements over time.  This time, rather than a map of the house, the Control Room displays percentage of time that each brother and sister spends in the various rooms of the house:Control Room - Brothers and rooms where they spend time

Who will be the winner this season?  We’ll have to wait and see. The clock is ticking.

The behind-the-scenes story

As before, brothers and sisters carry a RF (Radio frequency) device, a Wi-Fi tag, that enables locating them in real time and tracking their movement over time.

Navizon’s real-time locating system (RTLS), Navizon I.T.S. (Indoor Triangulation System) provides location data which is displayed on TV Globo’s website. By combining a RTLS and Navizon Wi-Fi tags, locating and tracking people and resources for entertainment or commerce through a physical space is now possible. Another ingredient of TV Globo’s winning formula.Compact Wi-Fi tag

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Looking for the silver bullet?

Are you looking for the silver bullet in indoor location technologies? © Feverpitched | - Silver Bullet Just Ahead Green Road Sign And Clouds

Many people are.  Unfortunately, the range of indoor location technologies varies widely and there is no silver bullet when it comes to an effective solution for the implementation of all applications in any venue.   It depends.

We often hear from individuals who just learned about one trendy technology and want to use it to do just about everything.   Others doubt these technologies because of a disappointing experience in their past.   Typically, this disappointment is either result of incorrect expectations or the use of inappropriate technology for a specific implementation.

A few things to consider: the venue, the specific application and the technology options.


The size, structure, density and stability of a venue can have considerable impact on the accuracy and specificity of any location-aware application you deploy.


Large venues, such as office buildings, hospitals, malls, airports or open-air spaces present their own challenges in that they truly are a patchwork of individual spaces, each possibly requiring a different approach.Bricks-and-mortar retail store

Each separate space, its shape, height and building materials complicate matters.  Large atriums are notoriously harder for many location technologies to deliver good accuracy, as are garden areas or warehouses with very high ceilings.   Let alone areas filled with large metal structures, clad in marble, or made of concrete reinforced with steel.

Narrow hallways and doors are best suited for technologies that require choke points.  Having lots of solid walls is best for those technologies that require radio signal dampening for optimal performance, while glass walls may be a serious hindrance for them.


Venues rich in ambient radio signals are the best environment for technologies that take advantage of them, and the worst possibly place to deploy even more hardware that broadcasts in the same spectrum.© Sculpies | - Shopping Crowd Topshot Photo   For instance, in places packed with Wi-Fi systems, it might not be advisable to deploy too many devices that compete on the same frequencies, such as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons.

There is also the unavoidable fact that people are part of the scenery, moving about the space.  Human bodies in motion interfere with ambient radio signals, impacting the effectiveness of some location technologies.  For instance, fingerprinting ambient signals at night, when no one is present, will almost certainly produce different results from locating during daytime hours, when the building is crowded.


If the dynamics of the venue change frequently, this is very likely  to impact location results over time.  For example, it may be harder to maintain a locating system that relies on ambient radio signals in environments where Wi-Fi access points and Bluetooth beacons are moved around or are set up and removed frequently, such as at special events that are torn down within a few days.  Also,  spaces where large metal displays are frequently repositioned or bulky inventory is repeatedly rearranged may present challenges.

Pedestrian traffic levels are one more variable likely to skew results.  Therefore, the right technology must be deployed in each space to adequately deal with the expected level of pedestrian traffic in it.

Note that these factors will not prevent implementation, but will demand greater care and more maintenance, such as more frequent recalibration to maintain the desired levels of accuracy.


As expected, implementations are likely to vary based on the required applications.  Here are a few examples.

  • Wayfinding throughout a large venue is a basic convenience that can be easily addressed by providing turn-by-turn navigation via a mobile app. © Ldprod | - Woman using mobile phone while shopping in supermarket
  • Branded mobile apps can provide a range of convenience features for shoppers:  users may create shopping lists at home and be assisted at the store to find those items, take advantage of promotions, and be reminded of related products located nearby.
  • Branded apps may enable speed-buying or leisurely exploration with opportunities for impulse purchases.  In addition, apps can contribute to building richer customer profiles.
  • Learning about in-store customer behavior can be a source of insights into the effectiveness of store layouts, marketing programs for stores and brands, and staffing plans.  Tracking mobile devices’ whereabouts  provides the raw data for understanding performance of a single store or an entire chain.
  • Delivering coupons and promotions when customers enter a store or a specific aisle can be an effective tool for contextual marketing, with the potential to delight customers with relevant  information delivered at the right time and place.

Each one of these applications can be implemented using various technologies.


The choice of location technology will impact accuracy, user experience, performance, mobile platforms supported (iOS, Android), installation and maintenance costs.  Here are some examples:

  • Locating systems that rely on fingerprinting of ambient signals (Wi-Fi and Bluetooth) support all OS platforms with accuracy ranging from 2 to 5 meters, depending on signal density, physical environment and quality of the initial site survey.  Deployment costs are low on hardware (if any).  Bluetooth and Wi-Fi logosUsers must install and activate an app.  Periodic maintenance is needed in dynamic environments.  Best for people and asset tracking in large, busy areas; can also support navigation.
  • Fingerprinting plus sensor fusion can deliver accuracy as high as one meter.  All other factors remain the same as above. Best for turn-by-turn navigation and geofencing.
  • Proximity-based applications using BLE hardware, such as iBeacons, provide great user experiences.  They require app installation in the user’s mobile device.  Location accuracy close to the beacon is good.  Deployment and configuration are simple.  Reconfiguration and maintenance can be problematic for large installations without centralized control. Applications such as navigation in large venues, which benefit from higher accuracy may require a large number of beacons, increasing cost substantially.  Best for proximity-based content delivery.
  • Proximity-based applications using Wi-Fi hardware can deliver excellent performance when used with Wi-Fi tags and Android phones.  Likely to work inconsistently with iOS devices. Required hardware deployment is simple and inexpensive.  Unaffected in dynamic environments.  Best for safety applications, and for people and asset tracking with room-level accuracy.
  • Wi-Fi-based real-time locating systems are simple to install and manage, delivering accuracy ranging from 2 meters and up.  Does not require app installation. Unaffected in dynamic environments, performs best in spaces with lots of solid walls and physical obstacles.  Low accuracy in large open spaces with high ceilings.  Hardware costs increase with venue size. Best for anonymous pedestrian traffic analysis, people and asset tracking using Wi-Fi tags.

It is easy to appreciate that no single technology can deliver optimal performance at a reasonable cost for all applications in every environment.  Beyond differences in the underlying technologies (Wi-Fi, BLE, RFID), there are behavioral differences in the dominant platforms in the market, iOS and Android, that complicate matters.  Here are a few examples:

  • We are well aware that iOS and Android systems behave differently, but also different versions of those operating systems can perform quite differently as well.  An example: the frequency at which Android phones from different manufacturers scan for Wi-Fi networks.
  • iOS discourages using Wi-Fi MAC addresses for device identification, making device detection and tracking difficult, though not impossible.
  • iOS 7 and higher support BLE beacon detection at the OS level, enabling implementation of iBeacons -based applications with minimal impact on battery life, while on Android, BLE support is (currently) available at the application level, which makes performance quite different.
  • Android devices automatically scan for available Wi-Fi networks every few seconds, even when actively connected to one of them.  iOS devices scan less frequently while not connected to any network.
  • iOS natively supports iBeacon detection in the background, while Android devices require a custom app or service.

In brief: location-based applications meant to deploy on all platforms require careful balance of functional requirements with the most appropriate technology for the lowest total cost.

Our recommendation

Treat your implementation of location technologies as you would the installation of other infrastructure.   Because you are likely to have a variety of use cases and requirements, it is best to evaluate all potential use cases up front instead of one at a time, and deploy a platform that supports your ongoing needs.  Much like installing plumbing or electricity: when you purchase a product that uses electricity, you don’t buy that product and the electricity together, but rely instead on the electrical system already installed.

Similarly, a location awareness platform can be installed and maintained such that developers need only access the APIs, and deploy hardware only if and where needed.   Creativity and innovation thrive when they no longer have to concern themselves with procuring the right technology for the new application at hand.   The key is finding a partner whose sole focus is location awareness.

Back to the original question: if you have been looking for that elusive silver bullet, consider that it will be more practical and much safer to have at hand more than one to choose from.

Navizon I.T.S. (Indoor Triangulation System)

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Location-awareness in Hospitality

If you have recently attended HITECH 2014 in Los Angeles, or you are just planning ahead to enhance customer experiences at your properties, technology should be front and center in your plans.  And surely, location-aware mobile apps are in your short list.© Styleuneed | - Hotel Sign With Five Stars

The new paradigm for operators is inter-connectivity of all systems and services.  The Holy Grail is delivering superior experiences to earn customers’ repeat business.

Inter-connectivity touches almost everything, from the phone systems, to the point of sales (POS) across the property, including guestroom keys, safe locks and TV service.  All of these systems feed their data into property management systems (PMS) to compile detailed profiles about guests’ habits and behavior.

Mobile devices already play a starring role, substituting for room and safe keys, managing checkout, serving as virtual concierges to provide guidance and connect with various services, from car rental to laundry.  Some operators are taking things one step further by automating the check in process: as soon as guests set foot in the lobby, their assigned room number is provided, as are directions to the room, the mobile device is enabled to unlock the room and access a range of services.

Naturally, these will be BYOD mobiles, which include not just smart phones, but also tablets.  In the near future, these devices will enable ordering room service, booking local attractions, reading newspapers, managing checkout, tuning the TV, closing the drapes and turning the lights on and off.  The whole world at the guest’s fingertips, and all dutifully remembered by the PMS.

With the proliferation of guests’ mobile devices moving around the property, it is a certainty that many of these services will be location-aware.  From guests managing services in their rooms to operators tracking their guests’ whereabouts, there are many opportunities.  Here’s a peek at some examples of what location awareness can do for guests and property management.

Guest Experience

It is worth noting that location-awareness is a key ingredient of contextualization, that is, the quest to create touch points with guests (customers) in their current context. Satisfaction GuaranteedThat context includes their current location, maybe time-of-day, perhaps weather conditions, past and recent history, sometimes demographics, and perhaps the current stage of the transaction with the provider.  The goal is to deliver personalized and relevant information just-in-time, at the right place.

A branded mobile app is essential.  Guests could use this app to make a reservation, reschedule, cancel or confirm.  Naturally, these activities would take place before arrival.  At arrival time, location-based services kick in.  Some examples:

Automated Check in

Many seasoned travelers would like to dispense with lines and unnecessary hassles before getting to their room.  © Kadmy | - Hotel Reception With BellSo, their mobile devices would automatically check in as soon as entering the lobby, would receive an assigned room number and provide turn-by-turn navigation all the way to the room.

Upon approaching the room, the door would unlock upon request (e.g. maybe entering a PIN, for security), and the room would be lit and ready for the arriving guest.

Solution: a proximity-based system at the lobby would detect the mobile device, triggering the automated check in.  An accurate indoor positioning system would provide turn-by-turn navigation.  An indoor tracking system would detect the device approaching the room, unlocking the door.

In-room Guest Services

Guests will have access to in-room services via a branded mobile app installed on their devices (smart phone, tablet).  © Diego.cervo | - Businessman Using Digital Tablet Pc In Hotel RoomThe app would provide control over the operation of the air conditioning, drapes, lighting, TV tuning, safe locking and unlocking, and so on.  Some of these would require entering a PIN number (e.g. safe operation) for extra security.  These local controls would be enabled while the user is in the room.  Some, such as air conditioning setting, may be enabled remotely.

Solution:  a proximity-based system would enable the guest’s mobile devices to manage all room systems while physically inside it.  For instance, Navizon Proximity Engine.

Venue-wide Guest Services

The branded mobile app that enables guests to choose a restaurant and make reservations, check the amenities at the business center, or the pool and spa schedule, will also provide wayfinding.  © Soleilc | - Hotel And Hospitality IconsTurn-by-turn indoor navigation from anywhere to anywhere throughout the venue is a basic convenience no guest will do without.

When approaching the receptionist at the restaurant, the guest’s name, and any pertinent information including picture, if available, will be automatically displayed for the maitre d’ to deliver a cordial greeting by name.

Purchases at bars and restaurants, at the souvenir shop or convenience store could be invoiced to the device and charged directly to the room upon guest approval.

Concierge services personnel will be able to address guests by name when they approach their desk.  Information requested by guests, such as programs or schedules of attractions in town, could be delivered directly to their devices.

In cases when guests await the delivery of an order while away somewhere in the venue, it may be convenient for service personnel to be able to locate them.  For instance, a guest orders a drink or snack and then steps outside to take a phone call on their mobile, and sits at a table on the terrace.  Or is focused playing at a casino table.  In these and similar situations, it might be desirable to be able to track the guest’s whereabouts, so that the order can be quietly delivered, in person, right where they are at.

Solutions: an indoor positioning system such as I4N would provide turn-by-turn navigation with sub-meter accuracy. Proximity-based systems or an indoor tracking system such as I.T.S. would enable media delivery to the device, and would enable charge approvals for guests physically present in the premises. An indoor tracking system can follow a device’s movements indoors and help locate them with accuracy.


Staff tracking

As we well know, it is hard to manage what we don’t measure.  © Annsunnyday | - Hotel And Restaurant Staff IconsIt is important to know where staff members are throughout the day.  Are there service personnel shortages at critical times during the day?  Is everybody stretched too thin?  Should there be additional personnel called in to assist at peak times?  Are staff members available at all key posts throughout the day? Staff tracking can provide the raw information for informed decision making.

Solution: A tracking system like Navizon I.T.S. used with Wi-Fi tags or Navizon Indoors for Tracking using Smart Tags can provide the data for detailed analysis.

Asset Management

Managing valuable mobile assets can be challenging in large properties.  There may be dozens or even hundreds of assets in continuous motion, from golf carts to forklifts, from projection and sound systems to large flat screens.  Keeping track of their whereabouts and being able to locate them quickly is essential to delivering excellent service, performing preventive maintenance, preventing theft, finding missing assets, increasing staff efficiency and optimizing asset utilization.  In all cases, managing assets requires knowing their actual location in real time and historically over time.

Solutions: a tracking system like Navizon I.T.S. used with Wi-Fi tags or I2T with Smart Tags can deliver real-time location and historical usage information.

Guest Flow Analysis

How do guests use the venue?  Where do they spend most of their time?  At what times during the day, week and month?  Which are the best attended facilities in the venue?  Which the most popular activities and amenities?  Did high attendance at some event correlate with any uptick in interest on additional services?  What truly happened?

Solution: a tracking system like Navizon I.T.S. can monitor in real time the movement of active devices through an area.   Alternatively, mobile apps integrated with Navizon Indoors to Track can deliver real-time tracking in environments rich in ambient signals.  Time-stamped data collected about guests’ whereabouts can provide insights into visitors’ movements, and be turned into time-based heat maps that depict the ebbs and flows of crowds.

Behind the scenes

Navizon products provide the location-based platform to enable all this functionality.

Navizon I.T.S. (Indoor Triangulation System) is a real-time locating system (RTLS) designed to track the location of active Wi-Fi devices, including smartphones, tablets, Wi-Fi tags and custom Wi-Fi devices anywhere inside a building or throughout a campus, with accuracy down to the floor and room level.

Navizon Indoors for Navigation (I4N)  and Navizon Indoors to Track (I2T) a software-based system designed for mobile apps to obtain their current position using ambient radio signals.

Navizon Proximity Engine enables location-based actions, such as delivering media, triggered by the presence of registered Wi-Fi mobile devices at specific locations of interest.

Navizon Analytics measures, logs and displays visitor traffic in real-time and historically over time by counting the number of active Wi-Fi devices nearby.

Navizon Wi-Fi Tags to be used with Navizon I.T.S. and Smart Tags, to be used with Navizon I2T enable tracking the whereabouts of personnel and valuable mobile assets.

Used singly, or in combination, these products enable cutting-edge applications that deliver tangible business value.

Navizon I.T.S. (Indoor Triangulation System)

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Location-awareness in Museums

If you are a creative director, a curator, an innovator at a cultural organization, how do you envision harnessing technology, and specifically location-based technologies to engage your audiences?De Young Museum, San Francisco, California USA

By cultural organization we refer to learning settings such as museums, zoos, aquariums, science centers, historical sites, national parks, visitors attractions, botanical gardens and arboretums.  As Interactive’s Forrest Regan eloquently states, “. . . pretty much anywhere that has a story to tell and visitors to tell it to.”

Different audiences, variety of needs

Learning institutions share common objectives: engaging visitors through pleasurableMusical Instrument Museum, Phoenix, Arizona, USA experiences that meet their interests and entice them to come back again and again.  For most of these organizations, the goal is to deliver social value by enabling learning opportunities and building audiences, particularly families, school groups and youth.

In response, many institutions strive to allocate their resources wisely to create environments that address visitors’ expectations.  But, what are these expectations?  An effective audience segmentation is key to answering this question, as is the deployment of information and infrastructure in support of a variety of needs.Museum of History, Cordoba, Argentina

For instance, from Dr. John H Folk’s study, visitors’ motivations may include personal curiosity, experiencing the venue and its surroundings, acquiring knowledge, performing research, or simply facilitating a cultural experience for friends and family, especially children.  Catering to such different needs is made possible through a blend of structured activities like curated tours, supporting the design of visitors’ personalized tours, and enabling structure-free experiences for contemplation or discovery.

The role of technology

Interpretive technologies can play a large role in helping visitors engage in greater depth, sparking a variety of experiences from closer appreciation to actively exploring and sharing.  The widespread use of mobile devices, either personal ones brought in, or rented at the venue, has further fueled change.  Audio tours and paper brochures give way to smartphone or tablet-based digital tours of varying sophistication and structure.Cleveland Museum of Art's Artlens

At the structured end of this spectrum, curators can plan interpretive guided tours and immersive journeys through their venues, blending digital technology with the exhibits.  If sharing is encouraged, visitors may share their experience using social media, choose from a variety of tours recommended by other visitors(often annotated), take part in audience surveys, and more.  For the unstructured experience, content search and discovery, wayfinding, and varying degrees of in-depth interaction are now possible.

Branded mobile apps, such as Cleveland Museum of Art’s Artlens, give learning institutions the ideal vehicle for connecting with their audiences. Most institutions have developed online content describing their collections, exhibitions, events, and research resources available.  They also highlight access to their facilities, including parking, shopping and dining.   Digitized materials housed in content management systems (CMS) can deliver curated content via multiple channels, supporting searches and exploration by audiences located anywhere.  At their venues, Wi-Fi has become the content delivery backbone that also provides access to search and social media.   The stage is set for a powerful delivery platform.

What about location-awareness?

Location-aware interpretive technologies

There are numerous applications of location-based services at cultural institutions that enable mobile apps to deliver highly contextual information.  Here are some examples, grouped by category.



Wayfinding through a venue using turn-by-turn navigation instructions is the basic functionality. Cleveland Museum of Art's Artlens take-a-tourAccurate real-time device positioning within the venue is the starting point.

Giving users the ability to select a curated tour or build a personalized one requires telling users where they are and how to move along successive steps in their journey.

Discovery along any route requires letting visitors know accurately where they are and what is around them that could be of interest to them.

Location-aware content delivery

Location-based content  can be delivered as visitors stand in front of exhibits and views, Cleveland Museum of Art's Artlens - near-you-nowproviding highly relevant contextual information on demand.

Content delivery may be triggered by proximity or actual physical location, as the intended content may be different.  For instance, proximity-based content may be appropriate for a small vase on a pedestal, while location-based content may be most appropriate when approaching a locomotive at a railroad museum.  In the latter case, every section in the perimeter of the exhibit may deliver different content.

Blending augmented reality and location enables delivery of synthesized, Cleveland Museum of Art's Artlens - Augmented Reality location-dependent contextual information, such as pointers to available on-demand information about an exhibit, as CMA’s Artlens illustrates.  At the extreme end, picture, for instance, walking through a large room while viewing on your tablet information about a historical event that took place in that very space, content and perspective changing as you move around or rotate 360 degrees, like stepping into the scene.  Now, that’s an experience you won’t easily forget.


Participatory activities such as interactive games can draw audiences into deeper engagement and understanding of the material presented.  Complexity and sophistication may vary.

For example, high-tech treasure hunts can be very effective at deepening visitors’ engagement with the exhibits.  Mobile apps may deliver location-based clues as visitors move through the space, solving riddles, finding answers to questions, uncovering hidden clues, interacting with the works, possibly interacting with others while learning.

This form of guided exploration focusing on details may be particularly suitable in many cases, such as, when comparing techniques, colors and composition among artists of a given period across an exhibit, or analyzing and contrasting large fossil specimens at a natural history museum.

Visitor Services

A mobile app that delivers turn-by-turn navigation and wayfinding provides basic Cleveland Museum of Art's Artlens find-mevisitor comfort at sprawling venues.  The needs are many and well known: knowing where you are in a large complex is helpful; finding one’s way to the restaurant, the shop, the restrooms, the meeting point for the guided tour that starts in 15 minutes, where specific exhibits are, or where the elevator to the observation tower is located.  Last, but not least, can you find your way back to where you parked your car in the parking garage?

Solution: Navizon Indoors for Navigation can deliver positioning for mobile apps with 1-2 meters of accuracy, enabling navigation throughout multi-story venues.


Visitor flow analysis: measuring success

It is essential to measure the results of planning and investing in interpretive technologies.Heat Map  Did targeted audience members follow the designated path through the information delivered?  Where did visitors spend most of their time?  At what times during the day, week or month?  Which were the best attended exhibits, presentations, interactive activities and lectures?  Did high attendance at some exhibits correlate with any uptick in interest on any specific information?  How many people walked in, and then made a U-turn and left because of long-lines at the special exhibits, lack of docents to assist them, or other issues?Navizon Analytics - Unique visitors chart    What truly happened?

Solution: Navizon I.T.S. can track in real time any active Wi-Fi device moving through a monitored area.   Time-stamped data collected about visitors’ whereabouts can be used for detailed analysis of visitors’ movements, and turned into time-based heat maps that depict the ebbs and flows of crowds.

Staff tracking: where is everybody?

We know that it’s hard to manage what we can’t measure.User's locations on the dashboard  It may be important to know where staff members are throughout the day.  Are there personnel shortages at critical times during an event? Is everybody stretched too thin? Should there be additional personnel called in to assist at peak times? Are staff members available at all key posts throughout the day? Staff tracking can provide the raw information for informed decision making.

Solution: Either Navizon I.T.S. used with Wi-Fi tags or Navizon Indoors for Tracking using Smart Tags provide the building blocks.

Behind the scenes

Navizon can make all these venues location-aware to enable the required functionality.  Here are products and services available to make it happen.

Navizon I.T.S. (Indoor Triangulation System) is a real-time locating system (RTLS) designed to track the location of active Wi-Fi devices, including smartphones, tablets, Wi-Fi tags and custom Wi-Fi devices anywhere inside a building or throughout a campus, with accuracy down to the floor and room level.

Navizon Indoors  for Navigation is a system designed for mobile apps to obtain their current position using ambient radio signals, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy beacons such as iBeacons.  Both iOS and Android apps are supported.

Navizon Indoors  to Track enables iOS and Android mobile apps to obtain their current position using ambient Wi-Fi and/or iBeacons signals, also enabling external applications to track the mobile devices’ whereabouts.

Navizon Proximity Engine enables location-based actions, such as delivering media, triggered by the presence of registered Wi-Fi mobile devices at specific locations of interest.

Navizon Analytics measures, logs and displays visitor traffic in real-time and historically over time by counting the number of active Wi-Fi devices nearby.

Navizon Wi-Fi Tags are used with Navizon I.T.S. to track the whereabouts of personnel and valuable mobile assets.

Navizon Smart Tags are used with Navizon Indoors To Track to follow the movements of staff or assets.

Used singly, or in concert, these products and services enable cutting edge applications that deliver real value.Navizon I.T.S. (Indoor Triangulation System)

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Location-based In-store Analytics in Retail

Location-based analytics in physical retail environments provide business insights valuable to stores and brands by analyzing in-store customer behavior.Father and daughter at the supermarket

All retail environments, both physical and online, are concerned with understanding what customers do inside their stores.  For bricks-and-mortar stores the questions may include: at what time do customers come in? Do they rapidly dart in and out seeking specific items? (E.g.  milk or bread.)   Do they linger, exploring different sections?  (E.g. shoes, lingerie, cosmetics and the latest jeans.)  Do they notice and stand in front of new displays?  Do they pay attention to endcaps?  Women's clothing store windowDo they appear to scan various sections in search of something?  What percentage of them go through the checkout (a conversion)?  Or simply exit the store without buying anything?  Are visitors’ paths through the store similar?  Are “shallow” visits prevalent?  And if so, why?  Does it happen that potential customers walking in the store take a peek at the length of the checkout lines and leave because they are too long?   What times during the day/week does this happen?  And by the way, are these new or repeat customers?  How often do they return? At what times?  Do they come on Saturdays? Or right after work throughout the week?  It’s a long list.

Data analysis enables physical store managers to

  • segment their customers according to buying behavior, such as time of day or items basketSupermarket laundry products section
  • learn where customers spend their time: they enter the store, visit specific departments, given aisles seeking product categories, then looking at specific items before purchasing (or not)
  • understand what sections of the store are less visited, to inform layout changes
  • learn the effectiveness of their cash/wrap section at busy times by measuring queue lengths
  • assess the success of in-store promotions and marketing efforts
  • measure the impact on sales of long lines at the registers during the busiest times of day.

Brands also benefit greatly from this data.  Every brand tries to stand out.  The best placement is often off-the-shelf, on a dedicated display or an endcap where the brand and its products are showcased.  Fashion clothing store windowHow many customers actually seek it? How many stop by?  How many others looking for other products in the same category pay attention to it?  Is there correlation between the number of interested visitors and increased sales?  Most definitely a brand will avoid being displayed in a section with few visitors, or with plenty of visitors at the wrong time of day (e.g. dinner foodstuff when visitors come in for breakfast items).  Clearly, analytics based on measuring visitors behavior can be very relevant for product placement, promotions and marketing campaigns, most of which often command large budgets.

How is data collected?

Achieving the greatest insights requires following the average customers at deeper levels of granularity, from the store, down to section, aisle, category and specific products within it.  Woman using smartphone at supermarketThe traditional way to do this relies on trained observers (people) deployed through the store, discreetly observing customers’ behavior, recording their observations, often aided by video cameras.

Enter location technology-based analytics, enabled by the proliferation of smart phones: we can track people’s whereabouts by determining the location of their mobile devices over time.

Collecting device location data for retail analytics depends on several key factors:

  1. the ability to track visitors unobtrusively, without requiring people to connect to any system or activate mobile apps on their devices
  2. the ability to track all device brands
  3. obtaining location accuracy with granularity down to the aisle level, covering multiple floors and buildings, if necessary

Why location accuracy matters

Detecting and triangulating a device’s position by sensing the signals emitted by its Wi-Fi radio is a very practical approach, given the widespread availability and use of Wi-Fi services inside buildings.  Also, many people never turn off their phones’ Wi-Fi radio.  A location accuracy of about 2 or 3 meters is possible, enabling aisle-level  granularity.

The question is often asked as to whether it is possible to use a store’s existing Wi-Fi infrastructure to collect the data.  Clearly, it is possible to collect some data, but unfortunately, location accuracy will drop down to 10-12 meters of worse, making aisle-level granularity impossible.  The reason why is that existing Wi-Fi systems are deployed for connectivity, not for location. Access points located in the center of rooms or sparsely distributed through a space make it nearly impossible to triangulate devices’ location with acceptable accuracy.  Collecting section-level visitor counts is possible, but aisle-level location is not.

In-store analytics

Collecting the right data is only the beginning.  It must be aggregated, processed and presented to deliver the desired insights.   Navizon customers provide several great examples.

They deliver real-time in-store shopper behavior analytics, enabling stores to get to know their customers by providing store and brand managers with actionable insights. Supermarket produce sectionThe systems being deployed at some of the largest retailers in North America, South America, Europe and Asia leverage Wi-Fi technology to deliver deeper analytics to retailers, helping them improve their store execution performance and merchandizing effectiveness.

They provide real-time, in-store shopper behavior analytics with aisle-level accuracy and seamless POS integration. This lets retailers follow their customers through their in-store experience: where they went inside the store, how much time they spent in different areas of the store, observe what captured their interest and ultimately what they puchased.  This type of analytics, which has been available for online shopping, is now being brought to the bricks-and-mortar world powered by Wi-Fi technology.

Behind the scenes

Navizon’s hardware-based products enable automatically compiling the raw data to deliver all these insights.  Navizon I.T.S. (Indoor Triangulation System) detects the Wi-Fi signals emitted by devices like smart phones and tablets, determining their location as they move about, or their proximity to a desired spot, or just counting their numbers.

Privacy is always a concern.  However, note that it is impossible to identify who the people are or obtain their phone numbers.  No personally identifiable information is ever collected. Only device’s unique identifiers, their MAC addresses, which can be easily hashed or scrambled for greater privacy protection.

To collect location data, sensors are placed throughout a store (e.g. in every corner), to detect mobile phones whose Wi-Fi radios are active.  The system estimates in real time the sequence of locations as mobile devices move through the site.  Average location accuracy of about 2 or 3 meters is sufficient to know whether the device is on a specific aisle, standing in front of an endcap or queuing at the checkout line.  A new era of retail analytics is now possible.Navizon I.T.S. (Indoor Triangulation System)

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Indoor Location at Big Brother Brasil (BBB14) by Navizon

The new season of Big Brother Brasil  began on January 14, 2014.

Big Brother Brasil, also known as Big Brother, Brazilian Edition, is the biggest and most popular reality TV show in Brazil, and one of the most talked-about in Brazilian TV history.  The current season is BBB14.

Produced by Rede Globo, or simply TV Globo, the show is about a group of complete strangers that share a house for up to three months, relentlessly followed by TV cameras, without any contact to the outside world: no access to TV, radio, computer, phones, newspapers or outside people.  Housemates, referred to as “brothers“, compete with each other, the object being to be the last remaining contestant in the House.

The TV audience follows the brothers’ every move via live video through various websites. They also comment and vote.

BBB14 brings a new dimension to the show: the location of all brothers is monitored in real time with one-meter accuracy.  The audience can now follow everybody’s location throughout the House via a live feed from SALA DE CONTROLE (the Control Room).

Who will be the winner of BBB14?  We’ll just have to keep an eye on everyone, wait for three months and see.  It will be exciting.

Behind the Scenes

How are brothers tracked? Each of them carries an RF (Radio frequency) device, a Wi-Fi tag, that enables locating them in real time and tracking their movement throughout the House over time.

Navizon’s real-time locating system (RTLS), Navizon I.T.S. (Indoor Triangulation System) provides location data which is displayed on TV Globo’s website. Viewers can now tell who is by the pool right this minute.  By combining a RTLS and Navizon Wi-Fi tags, locating and tracking people and resources for entertainment or commerce through a physical space is now possible. Another first for TV Globo!

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Gallery Analytics: visitors at an exhibition

Amsterdam-based artist Jonas Lund creates pieces that combine software, video, photography, installation and performance.

In his own words, “his practice explores the mechanisms that constitute our shared online experiences“. His body of work has examined spaces in contemporary life that are impacted by the digital world, like privacy, collaborative art or the anxieties motivated by being awash in information through digital channels.

He uses custom software and digital technologies to open up spaces and explore connections people are often unaware of.

Gallery Analytics

One of his latest pieces, Gallery Analytics, looks at the dynamics of visitors at a physical space: the Momentum exhibit at the Rewire festival.

The audience is shown metrics (statistics) about visitors walking by and through a physical art gallery, plus a real-time depiction of these visitors’ whereabouts through the space.  This information is made available in a format familiar to online denizens: as Google Analytics charts and graphs.  As a result, viewers are confronted with the realization that their presence at a physical space can be automatically detected and measured, much the same way their online presence can be at any website.  The parallel blurs an often-assumed distinction between the online and physical worlds.

Gallery Analytics will remain at this URL, Gallery Analytics, for the duration of the Momentum exhibit.

The piece includes two views, the Audience Overview:Audience Overview

and the Real-Time view:Real Time View

Using custom software and a system that tracks mobile devices in real-time, Gallery Analytics follows people movements and compiles information about their visit.

Audience Overview

What was the number of visitors per day since the exhibit opened?  How many people walked by?  How many came into the exhibit?  What percentage of them were first-time visitors? What was the average visit duration?  How many works in the exhibit were looked at?

Real-Time View

Visitors move around the gallery throughout the day, standing in front of an exhibit for awhile, then moving on to the next one. Their numbers ebb and flow, as people concentrate in specific areas at given times, then depart.  The overhead view shows dots moving about, capturing movement in real time.Real Time View

Real time data collected includes information about visitors not easily obtainable.Real Time View

Behind the scenes

Gallery Analytics was implemented as a custom Google Analytics dashboard displaying data provided by a real-time locating system and statistics derived from this data.

Navizon I.T.S. (Indoor Triangulation System) is a hardware-based real-time locating system (RTLS) designed to track the location of active Wi-Fi devices with accuracy down to the floor and room level.

Navizon I.T.S. detects active Wi-Fi devices, such as smart phones and tablets, enabling their locations to be displayed as dots on the floor plan.  Neither direct connectivity to Navizon I.T.S. nor installation of mobile apps are required.  Notably, no personally identifiable information is collected from anyone.

Easy-to-deploy and integrate products such as this, provide flexible building blocks for implementing innovative applications in many realms.

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Indoor Location at EventTech 2013

Sponsored by Event Marketer, EventTech is the premier conference and exposition focused on technology for events and trade shows.  EventTech 2013

The third annual conference, held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas from November 4th through 6th, 2013, brought together “the world’s top event marketers and technologists”.  At its booth, Navizon demonstrated indoor location technology.

The venue

Bellagio’s Tower Ballroom was laid out as shown in the floor plan, with a large theatre at the center and smaller ones at each corner; EventTech floor planthe Guru Bar to the left gathered those interested in technology discussions.  Two lounges set up as phone charging stations were popular destinations throughout the day.Navizon I.T.S Dashboard

Navizon was granted permission to place hardware sensors (nodes) throughout the space, to passively monitor attendees’ whereabouts, in a live demonstration of device tracking indoors.  This is what happened:

Attendee Tracking 

Navizon I.T.S. (Indoor Triangulation System) detected all active Wi-Fi devices: about 1600 smart phones, tablets and laptops were displayed as dots on the system dashboard, on a large flat screen.  Neither direct connection to Navizon I.T.S. nor installation of any mobile apps were needed.  Most notably, no personally identifiable information was collected from anyone.Navizon ITS dashboard detail

Conference attendees moved around the venue during the day, attending presentations at the various stages, visiting booths, getting coffee or congregating at the charging stations. Their numbers ebbed and flowed, as people concentrated in specific areas at given times, then moved on in search of the next event or activity.  The Navizon I.T.S. dashboard showed the moving dots, capturing their movements in real time.

Detailed logs were available for download at the end of each day.  The time-stamped log entries include device identifier and geographic coordinates, providing a snapshot of each device’s whereabouts as input for further analysis.  For example: heat maps.

Monitoring attendees’ concentrations

A new Navizon I.T.S. feature, Navizon Heat Maps, was premiered at this show. Heat Map at EventTech Heat Maps aggregate individual device positions to create a visual representation of the changing density of attendees over time, at various locations throughout the venue.  Higher densities are represented in darker, reddish hues;  lower densities in light green; lowest in yellow fading into black.

It was easy to spot well attended presentations, as they shone in dark red.  And it was easy to see those dark areas fading into light greens and then black, as presentations ended and people moved on in search of other activities. Varying densities reflected movement and concentration of attendees in specific areas, like those sitting at the charging stations late in the afternoon.

As expected, all collected heat map data can be “played back” later to quickly visualize the changing concentrations of attendees that took place at different time periods throughout the day.

Positioning and Way-finding

On Wednesday, there was a private screening of Navizon Indoors, the latest technology in indoor positioning and navigation, designed to provide way-finding for mobile apps with sub-meter accuracy.  Navizon Indoors Demo

Navizon Indoors does not require hardware sensors for positioning. It relies instead on the ambient Wi-Fi signals available through a space to generate a library of “fingerprints” that can then be used by authorized devices to determine their location.

Augmented by data from a device’s sensors, such as accelerometer, magnetometer and gyroscope, Navizon Indoors (Alpha version) provided smooth location tracking, as shown in this video:

Behind the scenes

Navizon is a provider of indoor location platforms that enable implementation of location-aware solutions for many applications in event marketing.  The products demonstrated at EventTech were:

Navizon I.T.S. (Indoor Triangulation System), a hardware-based real-time locating system (RTLS) designed to track the location of active Wi-Fi devices, including smartphones, tablets, Wi-Fi tags and custom Wi-Fi devices anywhere inside a building or throughout a campus, with accuracy down to the floor and room level.

Navizon Heat Maps is a Navizon I.T.S. feature that aggregates data from individual devices detected through a monitored space, and graphically represents their varying concentration over time.

Navizon Indoors for Navigation  is a software-based system designed for mobile apps to obtain their current position using ambient radio signals.

Singly or in combination, these products are easy to deploy tools for implementation of many innovative applications in event marketing and other industries.

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Internetix shines with Quirk’s innovation

Sponsored by Internet Solutions, Internetix is one of the most important high-technology events in Africa.  Internetix 2013This annual conference is Internet Solutions’ flagship event to discuss topics in tech and innovation within the digital environment.  The 14th annual gathering, held in July 2013, brought together over 1,500 delegates from local and global tech companies in two events: at the Cape Town Convention Centre (July 18th), and at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg (July 23rd).

The theme this year was Living in exponential times, connoting the disruption and opportunities ushered in by today’s technical innovation: anything is possible; digital is ever evolving and changing. As befits such a theme, Internet Solutions wanted to wow attendees with a feat of technical innovation.

Quirk, the largest independently-owned marketing agency in Africa was commissioned to come up with digital campaign ideas for this conference.  Quirk chose to showcase indoor location technology by tracking, in real time, delegates’ whereabouts within the conference venues via their mobiles. Here is their story.

Over a thousand people registered with Quirk. They checked in with their smart phones at a registration desk, providing their names.  Quirk tracking Internetix delegates whereabouts

During the event, everyone’s current location in the venue was displayed, in real time, on large flat screens.  No mobile app was required.  No need to connect to any system.

Registration data also enabled the Quirk team to display playful statistics, such as announcing that “Delegates around you are mostQuirk tracking Internetix delegates by name likely named Craig”, the count of devices present in the room, grouped by manufacturer, the number of female delegates being tracked, and males vs. female delegates flow throughout the space.

Quirk made two key points about the future of location-based marketing.  For users who opt in, it may enable, not just identification, but also content “push” precisely when users are present at a location of interest.  Think promotions for loyalty customers, or receiving relevant information in front of an exhibit.  Internetix 2013 eventFor all visitors, raw data is now readily available to analyze their flow and behavior over time:  At what time did they come in?  Which entrance did the use?  How long did they stay?  Where did they linger?  What path did they follow through the venue?  Did they come back multiple times?  What sections of the site did they visit?  Where and when were the highest visitor concentrations? What brand of mobile devices did they carry?  You get the idea.

Once again, Quirk lived up to its motto: Brave Curious Minds.  It was a success. People were really excited to see themselves on screen. Betting on this emerging technology enabled Quirk’s team to be one of the first in their industry to explore the possibilities that rapidly evolving location-based technologies are bringing.   And there is much more to come.

Behind the scenes

The Quirk team deployed Navizon I.T.S. (Indoor Triangulation System) to monitor the venue. This hardware-based real-time locating system (RTLS) locates and tracks active Wi-Fi devices by their MAC (Media Access Control) address.  MAC addresses are unique 12-digit identifiers that convey no personally identifiable information about the device’s owner–e.g. no relation to name or phone number.  Their first 6 digits identify the device’s manufacturer (e.g. Apple, Motorola or Samsung).

Navizon I.T.S. provides an online dashboard that displays a top view of the facility, typically with a custom floor plan overlaid on it.  Quirk tracks attendees by name at Internetix 2013Devices tracked appear as dots moving over the floor plan. The dots can be labeled; for example, with the devices’ user names, as in this case.

To shorten development time, the Quirk team chose to display Navizon I.T.S.’ dashboard at the event.  Registered users were able to watch their movements on large flat screens as they walked about.

Associating users’ names with their smart phones was done using Navizon Magic Touch.  Users simply place their phones in contact with the Magic Touch hardware. An API enables the registration system to read the MAC address and complete the user’s profile.

A daily log could provide data essential for creating time-based heat maps and analyzing attendees’ flow. Navizon I.T.S. automatically generates an event log containing the list of time-stamped MAC addresses sampled throughout the day, including latitude, longitude and the identity of the sensors throughout the venue that detected them.

Clearly, Quirk’s technical sophistication made all this possible in a very short time.  Which made them want to pursue even more ambitious goals next time.  We can’t wait.Quirk: As us about the magic

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Location-based technologies in Event Marketing

Face-to-face marketing, as conducted in events, trade shows and conferences, is a major component of b-to-b marketing strategies. The current trend involves the creation of end-to-end experiences across multiple channels that begin well before the event starts and continue long after it has finished.  The goal is to go beyond engagement, creating immersive branded experiences that influence buyers and win sales, moving targeted audiences from brand consideration to adoption to, ultimately, advocacy.

Booths at the trade showIntegrated marketing programs developed around strategic themes enable creation of a highly relevant, compelling experience for each attendee.  Audience segmentation is key, as marketing should be different for different groups.  For instance, each attendee’s path through the experience can be laid out to include different demos, invitations to different activities, presentations and meetings.

As expected, technology plays a key role in the marketer’s plans.  Pre-event engagement begins online and via branded mobile apps.  The live event leverages users’ bring-your-own-device trend with mobile apps for smartphones and tablets, as well as an array of digital tools that range from electronic signage to augmented reality.  Post event, social media and mobile apps prolong the engagement via access to relevant information and personal interactions. At the trade show

Blending digital technology with face-to-face interactions, event marketers can plan immersive journeys through trade show environments, corporate events and live experiences.  Participatory activities such as interactive games or treasure hunts can draw audiences into deeper discovery and understanding of brand and product, as do immersive product demos.  Here is where location-awareness comes into play.

High-tech treasure hunts deliver location-based clues. As users solve riddles, they move through the space finding answers to questions, uncovering hidden clues, operating devices, running demos, possibly interacting with others while learning about the brand and its products.

Location-aware augmented reality demos can be particularly effective, for example, for visualizing how a proposed design or product would fit in a physical space. Tablets and other devices capable of determining orientation, coupled with location can deliver a complete experience by synthesizing a large range of environments.

Face-to-face events must deliver business value to the sponsoring organizations and their prospects. Business seminar

For event producers, it is often essential to measure the results of their planning.  Did targeted audience members follow the designated path through the information delivered?  Where did attendees spend their time?  At what times during the day?  Which were the best attended demos, presentations, interactive activities and panels?  Did high attendance at some attractions correlate with any uptick in interest on any specific information?  How many people walked in, and then made a U-turn because of long-lines at the demos, lack of booth personnel to assist them, lackluster demos, or other issues?    What truly happened?

For attendees, was it easy to find the booth?  And the desired presentations and panels?  To connect with the right vendor/expert resources to answer burning questions and provide much needed information?  To locate conference rooms, facilities, amenities and each other?  Was the journey relevant to their needs?

Behind the scenes

Navizon products provide the location-based platform to enable all this functionality.

Navizon I.T.S. (Indoor Triangulation System) is a real-time locating system (RTLS) designed to track the location of active Wi-Fi devices, including smartphones, tablets, Wi-Fi tags and custom Wi-Fi devices anywhere inside a building or throughout a campus, with accuracy down to the floor and room level.

Navizon Indoors  is a software-based system designed for mobile apps to obtain their current position using ambient radio signals.

Navizon Proximity Engine enables location-based actions, such as delivering media, triggered by the presence of registered Wi-Fi mobile devices at specific locations of interest.

Navizon Analytics measures, logs and displays visitor traffic in real-time and historically over time by counting the number of active Wi-Fi devices nearby.

Navizon Wi-Fi Tags to be used with Navizon location products to enable tracking the whereabouts of people and assets.

Used singly or in combination, these products enable cutting edge applications that deliver real business value.

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Navizon at RFID Live 2013 Conference

Join us at the 2013 RFID Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, Florida, April 30 through May 2, booth #138!

RFID Live 2013 ConferenceWe will be available to answer your questions about how to harness location technology for global and indoor mobile device positioning, measuring foot traffic flows, and real-time locating system implementation.

Our Specialties

Global Positioning for mobile devices: Our global database of cellular towers and Wi-Fi access point locations provides the tools for businesses to create location-aware mobile apps.  Our popular crowdsourcing and rewards program has attracted a global community of over a million users.

Indoor Positioning: Our products provide accurate indoor positioning for mobile devices, real-time device tracking with floor and room-level accuracy, proximity-triggered actions and tools for analyzing visitor traffic in venues spanning indoors and outdoors.

Our Products

An industry first, Navizon One makes it possible for mobile device users to determine their geographic position by using the location of cell phone base stations and Wi-Fi access points in addition to GPS.

Navizon I.T.S. (Indoor Triangulation System) is a hardware-based real-time locating system (RTLS) designed to track the location of active Wi-Fi devices, including smartphones, tablets, Wi-Fi tags and custom Wi-Fi devices anywhere inside a building or throughout a campus, with accuracy down to the floor and room level.

Navizon Indoors  is a software-based system designed for mobile apps to obtain their current position using ambient radio signals.

Navizon Proximity Engine enables location-based actions, such as delivering media, triggered by the presence of registered Wi-Fi mobile devices at specific locations of interest.

Navizon Analytics measures, logs and displays visitor traffic in real-time and historically over time by counting the number of active Wi-Fi devices nearby.

Navizon Wi-Fi Tags to be used with Navizon location products to enable tracking the whereabouts of people and assets.

Our Company

Navizon, a pioneer and leading provider of location-based services, brings over 10 years of experience to the mobile location market. Come see us in booth #138.

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Cleveland Museum of Art: Gallery One

On January 21, 2013, the Cleveland Museum of Art unveiled Gallery One, a new interactive gallery that blends art and cutting-edge technology to provide museum goers with a completely new experience. Emphasizing engagement, curiosity and creativity through a dynamic interaction with the museum’s collection is enabled by the Collection Wall and Artlens, a mobile app for iPads, as well as by digital interactive works.

The Collection Wall, a 40-foot interactive MicroTile wall features works of art from the permanent collection. Being the largest multi-touch screen in the United States, it is one of the most unique and innovative aspects of Gallery One. Art objects “float by” on the wall, slowly rotating by theme and type, such as time period, materials and techniques, as well as curated views of the collection.  Visitors can interact with the Wall, viewing, exploring and selecting art objects of their interest, to build a personal tour.

iPad docked at the Collection WallThe Collection Wall includes a half-dozen docking stations for iPads, allowing visitors to download existing tours, build personalized tours of the collection or self-curate a route through the museum.

The gallery tour is designed around ArtLens, a multi-dimensional app for the Apple iPad, available free from iTunes. ArtLens’ innovative user-interface design provides indoor gallery maps, enables scanning objects in the gallery and provide visitors with extensive information about the art objects they look at.  There are nearly nine hours of educational audio and video that can be enjoyed in a personalized way.

ArtLens helps visitors locate specific artworks and navigate through tours. As soon as visitors enter the gallery,  ArtLens can show them exactly where they are and which notable objects are nearby.

The Find-me function orients visitors, helps them find works of art and the objects in their personalized tour, including on which floor they are in.

Artlens Find-me functionThe Near-you-now function enables discovering artworks in the collection and browsing along a fully personalized route. Objects of interest near the user become available for additional exploration, turning Artlens into a proximity-based recommender.

Many art museums have used interactive digital technology on websites for years. What is truly new and innovative about Gallery One is the opening up of the entire museum’s collection to exploration, the support for personal discovery, and the emphasis on visitors experiencing deeper layers of learning in a fully personalized way.  State-of-the-art technology makes it all come to life.

Behind the scenes

Gallery One blends art and technology to support visitors’ engagement with the collection. It was Navizon’s privilege to be selected as the provider of indoor location services, enabling navigation and artwork-locating throughout the museum.

Navizon’s real-time locating system, Navizon I.T.S. (Indoor Triangulation System) was deployed at the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA): over a hundred Navizon I.T.S. nodes were placed throughout the site to locate, in real time, the ubiquitous iPads.

Navizon I.T.S. tracks active Wi-Fi devices including Android, iPad, iPhone,  laptops, and Wi-Fi tags with an accuracy of 2 or 3 meters, pinpointing floor and room.  Though no application is actually required on the devices tracked by I.T.S., mobile apps like Artlens can leverage Navizon’s API and be aware of the device’s position anywhere throughout the monitored area.

In addition, Navizon I.T.S. will enable CMA to measure Gallery One’s success via indicators such as dwell time –i.e. how long visitors spend looking at artworks, and how long they spend looking at art versus interacting with iPad screens.

The results already speak for themselves: a seamless integration of ground-breaking applications in museum experience with Navizon’s pioneering locating technology.

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Location-based technologies in health care: Assets Management

The management of mobile medical equipment is a significant challenge for many hospitals.  An average mid-size hospital has thousands of mobile devices in continuous motion.  Keeping track of their whereabouts and being able to locate them quickly is essential to delivering quality care, performing preventive maintenance, handling recalls, preventing theft, finding missing assets, increasing staff efficiency and optimizing asset utilization.  In all cases, managing hospital assets requires knowing their actual location in real time and historically over time.

Equipment Utilization

Hospitals must manage their assets to ensure that resources are deployed effectively to deliver the best possible outcomes for their patients.  However, managing thousands of assets in constant daily motion is very difficult.  Just about every piece of valuable equipment in a hospital is mobile or on wheels. Activities such as finding a piece of equipment may consume a large portion of a caregiver’s shift, increasing costs, slowing patient flow and impacting patient care.

Complexity increases with product recalls, mandatory maintenance schedules, equipment rentals, asset misplacement and outright theft.  Some organizations manage the challenge by over-purchasing the most needed and hard-to-find equipment, negatively impacting the bottom line.

Understanding equipment utilization, which includes knowing where the equipment is located at all times, who uses it and for how long, is essential for maintaining optimal inventory levels, planning purchases and managing rentals.

Solution: Affixing Wi-Fi tags to all equipment, owned and rented, enables Navizon I.T.S. to pinpoint the whereabouts of all equipment at all times.

Preventive Maintenance

Medical equipmentPreventive maintenance of medical equipment used for patient care is subject to procedures and guidelines recommended by numerous bodies, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and in the US, The Joint Commission (  The goal of these procedures is to reduce the risk of equipment malfunction that may lead to life-threatening mistakes in patient care.  Compliance with maintenance requirements to ensure equipment availability relies on the ability to locate the equipment in a timely manner for cleaning and re calibration.

Solution:  Wi-Fi tags affixed to all equipment enables Navizon I.T.S. to track its location.  Both real time location and historical location over time are available.  Business Intelligence applications can reconstruct the equipment whereabouts, identify who used it, for how long and estimate the idle time.

Preventing Theft, Misplacement and Hoarding

Shrinkage in equipment stock may be a result of misplacement, theft or even hoarding for future  use.  Having the ability to determine when valuable equipment is removed from the premises is an obvious plus.  Determining where all equipment is located at any time reduces the incentive to hoard it, while increasing confidence that it will be found when needed.

Solution:  Wi-Fi tags affixed to all equipment enables Navizon I.T.S.  to rapidly find it when needed.

Handling Recalls

When recalls take place, effected equipment must be tracked down and removed from use until it is repaired or replaced.  Rapidly locating the effected equipment is essential to reducing liability and risk while avoiding  wasted valuable staff time.

Solution:  Wi-Fi tags affixed to all equipment, both owned and rented, enables  Navizon I.T.S.  to rapidly find its location

Reducing Unnecessary Rentals

When are equipment rentals necessary?  For how long?  Is there any rental equipment sitting idle?  Are rentals addressing peak utilization or just a quick substitute for needed capital expenditures?  Those questions are easily answered once the owned and rental equipment utilization is understood.

Solution:  Wi-Fi tags affixed to all rental equipment enables Navizon I.T.S. to provide their location in real time and historically over time.  This enables Business Intelligence applications to determine who uses them, where and for how long.  Idle times are quickly identified from this data, informing the optimal rental strategy for each equipment category.

Automating Work orders

Health Care Workers in the HospitalWhen equipment breaks down, it is often simply pushed to a corner because it takes too long to complete a repair work order.  As a result, equipment may be left unused and unattended for extended periods of time, reducing service and triggering additional costs, and maybe rentals to cover the need.  On the other hand, increased asset utilization, maintenance compliance, and increased staff efficiency are all within reach though automation.

Solution: Buttons in the Wi-Fi tags affixed to the equipment may be programmed to request service, generating an automated work order at the push of a button. Further, if certain classes of equipment sit idle for some time, a monitoring application could automatically request an inspection and possibly service at its current location.

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Location-based technologies in health care: Safety

Ensuring patients and staff safety is a primary concern in many health care facilities. Risks are plentiful, including the spread of infections, elopement of patients unable to care for themselves, and physical violence on the staff at emergency departments. Fortunately, location-based technologies can provide solutions to some of these problems.

Patient Safety

Healthcare Patch: WheelchairAmbulatory patients under care at hospitals and  healthcare institutions sometimes present special challenges for caregivers.  For example, patients with cognitive disorders, dementia or under special medication may be at risk of walking away unnoticed or enter a location where they are not easily spotted, such as a service closet.   As a result, time and resources are spent searching for patients that put themselves and others at risk.

Another critical group of patients whose whereabouts must be tracked are newborn infants.  Preventing abduction by detecting unauthorized movement of infants is essential in hospital settings.

Solution:  Providing patients with Wi-Fi tags in a hospital bracelet, clipped to  their clothes, or on a lanyard is an effective tool for tracking every patients’ location.  Navizon I.T.S. can locate and track all active Wi-Fi tags everywhere, enabling the implementation of geo-fencing rules.  For example, if there is a need to confine a patient to a specific floor or area, alarms can be triggered upon rule violation.

Emergency Response

Another common problem occurs when patients who need immediate assistance are unable to be heard, ring a bell or use a phone.  For example, a patient could  fall down, unable to get up, in an area that is not visible to staff members.

Solution:  Providing patients with Wi-Fi tags in a hospital bracelet, clipped to  their clothes, or on a lanyard is an effective tool for tracking the patients’ locations.  Wi-Fi tags with push-buttons can be used to implement a “wireless nurse call” function to summon help.  Navizon I.T.S. locates and tracks active Wi-Fi tags, and provides the functionality to generate alarms at the push of a button.

Infection Control

Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI), a.k.a. Healthcare Associated Infections, is one of the leading causes of death for hospitalized patients worldwide.

Infection Prevention and Control is concerned with preventing and managing infections spread in healthcare facilities.  Infection Control is a practical sub-discipline of epidemiology that is part of the health care infrastructure.  It addresses the factors that contribute to the spread of infections within the health care delivery system: patient to patient, patient to caregiver, caregiver to patient and amongst caregivers.

Infection control includes prevention (hand hygiene, vaccination and surveillance), outbreak investigation of actual or suspected spread, and management (handling of outbreaks). The business impact is clear: potential legal liability, risk of non-compliance with healthcare standards and exposure to high HAI treatment costs.

Solution:  Navizon I.T.S.’ ability to historically track with high resolution the whereabouts of staff, patients and equipment can provide the information necessary to investigate an outbreak and determine its spread.  Rapidly identifying who has been in contact with an infected person is readily available from historical data.  Alerts and escalations built on evolving data can assist in early detection and containment.  Compliance reports can also be generated using this data.

Staff Duress / Panic

Ensuring staff members’ safety is very challenging for any hospital or healthcare facility, as episodes of physical violence are a real problem for them.  This is especially true of emergency departments (ED), which have long been considered high-risk areas.

For example, findings from a surveillance study on ED violence from 2009 through 2011 by the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) says that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “46% of all non-fatal assaults and violent acts requiring days away from work were committed against registered nurses”.  In addition, “The emergency department is one of the most dangerous work settings in health care for nurses due to violence from patients and visitors”.  Both physical (11%) and verbal (54%) abuse incidents were reported in the 7-day period prior to the survey.  Perpetrators were patients (97+%) under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or were psychiatric patients.

Solution:  Hospital staff can be provided with Wi-Fi tags with push-buttons.   Each tag can be associated with a specific staff member.  In case of emergency, a simple button push can be delivered to summon assistance, automatically providing the staff member location anywhere in the facility.  In addition, the alert can be used to record the event and trigger the appropriate escalation procedures .

Positive Patient Identification

Positive patient identification (PPID) is a challenge in hospitals and healthcare facilities that can be overcome by tight procedures supported by the right technologies.  Medicine pills

PPID’s benefits are speed, efficiency and the elimination of errors.  PPID is particularly important for activities such as the collection of specimens, delivery of treatment (e.g. anesthesia and surgery) and administration of medication.  The most important features of a good PPID solution are simplicity and ease of use.

Solution:  Providing patients with a Wi-Fi tag uniquely associated with the patient at the point of registration can provide, not only the patient’s location at all times, but also the mechanism to deliver simple and effective patient identification.  Navizon Magic Touch provides the functionality needed at the patient registration desk, and later on, to effect the positive identification everywhere.

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