22 Nov Can Navigine Perfect the Indoor Navigation System Using Powerful Algorithms?
What will the train stations and hospitals of the future look like? Indoor Navigation System provider Navigine offers insights.
Traditional signage is failing today’s travelers. If you’ve ever tried to maneuver a new airport or train station, you know how much stress poor maps and signs can cause. Now, more and more major companies are turning to technology to fix this.
Navigine is one startup that has been making headlines in recent months. They use BLE beacons to communicate with users’ smartphones, guiding them around a location with extreme precision while also offering operational insight to managers.
The startup has completed highly successful pilot programs in train stations and airports, leveraging BLE, WiFi, and smartphone sensors. Most importantly, the solution has proven not just innovative but deeply practical.
We sat down with Navigine to see if we could figure out their secret.
“Companies say they can do precise navigation,” explains co-founder Oleg Demidov, “but when clients see a demonstration, it is often not very good, so when we did the installation with one of our clients, a major transport operator in Russia, several executives said they were surprised. They said they didn’t expect it to work so well. It was smooth, precise, and, in their words, worked like Google Maps.”
A Powerful Indoor Navigation System Doesn’t Happen Overnight
Given Navigine’s background, the positive feedback is not entirely surprising. Their indoor navigation system actually spun out of co-founders Oleg Demidov and Alexy Panyov’s doctorate studies. Completing PhD’s on indoor navigation, the two developed strong algorithms specifically for internal navigation. While sturdy hardware and pretty software are important, a strong algorithm is a core component to good navigation.
“There are up to ten tech teams in the world that can achieve very accurate navigation. We are one of them, and we have very strong algorithms based on our previous experience. We have know-how on navigation because we have worked and studied in the space for years.”
The team looked into a number of fields where they could apply this know-how. They quickly realized indoor navigation systems on mobile devices was a huge problem. Google Maps may be great for the outdoors, but what about inside of buildings? Navigine decided to combine beacons with algorithms and create their own solution.
[bctt tweet=”‘Hospitals have one major problem: navigation. Traditional signage just doesn’t work.’ Can beacons help?” username=”Kontakt_io”]
Unexpected Verticals Seek Indoor Solutions
The company quickly spread from Russia and into the US market, working as mentors in an accelerator for eastern European startups and pushing to get beacons integrated into the healthcare sector.
“From the moment we came to the US there was a lot of interest [from hospitals].
Hospitals have one major problem, and that is navigation. Patients often experience a lot of difficulty when trying to find their way. Traditional signage just doesn’t work. If you have billions of signs and hallways, people get lost.
With our system, you can track queues in order to improve experience. If a patient has an appointment in five minutes, you can alert them. If they have a lot of time, you can also make suggestions. The app can show the way to a cafeteria so the patient can be sure to get a healthy breakfast.”
Bringing Industry into the Future with Beacons
Navigine is certain that the future of beacons expands far beyond the indoor navigation system and into asset tracking, bringing transparency to workplace movements and insight to managers.
“For example, in hospitals we can talk about apps for employees. They can have access to schedules, navigation functions. They can see assets like beds or monitors. This would greatly increase productivity. The seamless combination of tracking and navigation will be key factors for decision makers.”
As demand for such solutions grows, there are also a number of other startups getting into the field. Though Navigine stands out because of their algorithms, Demidov had plenty of insight to share with newcomers:
“When we started, a lot of companies were trying to do indoor navigation by themselves. They thought it would be easy. So they tried it themselves and then realized they needed highly specific know-how and tools. My suggestion is that developers use proven tools.
It is also very important to understand the needs of your client. Many clients think they need accuracy of under one meter, but one to three is often more than enough. [Providers] need to understand their clients. They need to know how fast and easy it is to integrate tools. They need to understand the lifetime costs.”
Navigine also sees a need for developers to look forward and create scalable technologies that deliver better data and are easily integrated into ERP systems.
[bctt tweet=”‘The seamless combination of tracking and navigation will be key factors for decision makers.’ How can Bluetooth beacons transform business?” username=”Kontakt_io”]
The Beacon: One Tool, Many Uses
As businesses begin to recognize the affordability and flexibility of beacon-based solutions, there is no doubt startups like Navigine, and their algorithms, will be play a large role for many industries. Though end users and even managers may only see pretty, easy-to-use programs, the technology behind them is cutting edge. It is clear that beacons will play a role in future systems, what remains to be seen are all the creative and exciting use cases that have not yet been imagined.
Think your business could use beacons? Looking into an Indoor Navigation System? Shoot us an email and let’s see what we can do!
You can also come test out the Navigine app yourself in the Proximity Studio. We’re located right in the heart of Berlin.