Wayfinding: Big Directory Or Little Screen?

May 12, 2015 by Dave Haynes


I sometimes wonder about the long-term prospects for companies that do touchscreen wayfinding directories but limit the solution to those big screens.

To me, and probably an awful lot of people, the real wayfinding tool is in the consumer’s hand – their smartphone.

The digital signs can be launchpads to get people using apps, but finding your way around big, confusing places like health care campuses is going to be a lot easier with a map that goes with you and gives you turn by turn directions just like the GPS in a car.

A company that does both would at least seem to have it together – which brings me to a release today from a NY-based company called Connexient, which does just that.

The company has announced that is putting its system into the sprawling 3.5 million square feet of the  National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, MD. The three congruent buildings on the NIH campus labs, patient beds, 15 outpatient clinics and more than 5,000 rooms.

The MediNav native app for iOS and Android use beacons and smartphone sensor tech to enable indoor mapping, walking directions, physician lookups, and location-based content. That’s complemented by an all-screens digital wayfinding solution for arriving visitors and patients that rolls in web, mobile, kiosks and digital signs.

The system is based around HTML5, which makes that cross-platform/device thing much more workable.

I assume there are other platforms out there that do similar things, and this is my way reminding companies that just do the directory bit that companies that do other things can also do your digital signage thing, where it might be quite difficult for the directory guy to do the mobile piece.

To be marketable these days, I think you need both that big screen and an app for ALL those little ones.

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