Browse Our Blogs

  • Announcing the Connexient Customer Portal

    The Start of a New Era Connexient started with a simple question and idea in the summer of 2012:  "Why can't we have indoor GPS?".   That question came from our

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  • UAB Medicine Rolls Out Marketing Launch for MediNav

    Finding your way to your doctor’s office at UAB Medicine just got easier - thanks to MediNavTM!   So did finding your way to the parking lot, the coffee shop and the restaurant

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  • What is Navigation-quality Positioning Anyways - and Why Does It Matter?

    A while back, we blogged about what are the key requirements and characteristics of Indoor Navigation in What Exactly is Indoor Navigation Matter Anyways - and Why Does It Matter? In

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  • Connexient, SNCF, Unibail Rodemco and Schneider Electric Discuss Indoor Navigation and Location Service at Pole Star Connect

    PoleStar Connect Day SNCF, Unibail Rodemco, Schneider Electric and Connexient discuss use cases and strategic value of indoor positioning and navigation Last week I had the opportunity to participate in

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  • Wayfinding Design for Understanding:  A Classic Position Paper

    I recently came across this position paper called: Wayfinding Design for Understanding published by the outstanding Center for Health Design. https://www.healthdesign.org/knowledge-repository/wayfinding-design-understanding https://www.healthdesign.org/sites/default/files/WayfindingPositionPaper.pdf While it was published in 1992 - and thus

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TAG Cloud

The Start of a New Era

Connexient started with a simple question and idea in the summer of 2012:  "Why can't we have indoor GPS?".   That question came from our co-founders long experience with hospital wayfinding systems, and a conviction that digital mapping and turn-by-turn indoor navigation could finally truly solve the pain point of wayfinding inside of large, complex hospitals that signage and kiosks could only partially address.

Innovation is hard!   When we asked this question, the technology to achieve navigation quality indoor positioning did not exist.  It took us until January, 2015 to get to our first commercial release of the Navigator Edition, leveraging the breakthrough of Bluetooth Low Energy beacons.   

Since then, we have deployed over 30 hospitals and 50 million square feet of indoor maps and navigation, at sites all over the country.   While it has been tremendously gratifying to see this, we realize that we are still just at the beginning.    The official launch of our customer portal this month marks an important milestone to start the next stage of our journey

Continual Improvement through Collaboration

The launch of our customer portal was driven by two fundamental principles and values that Connexient embraces.

1) Kaizen   

Kaizen, the Japanese word for "change for the good" encapsulates the principle of continual incremental improvement.  At Connexient, we are committed to that spirit and philosophy. 

At each new site, we have learned more about how to deliver a reliable, robust and intuitive solution at scale in facilities of enormous size and complexity.   Often we encountered and had to solve new technical and user experience challenges created by unique characteristics of a particular campus and facility.  

We put our learning back in to our product development, as well as tools and practices for improving our deployment and ability to support and maintain MediNav once deployed.   This portal and our new customer user group will be a place where we can communicate and share with our customers the challenges we are working on, or have identified and our studying.  Even more importantly, we can also get direct feedback on where and how we can improve.

2) Collaboration 

Connexient is a customer-driven company, and collaboration with our customers is a core goal.   We have always believed that in order for MediNav to be successful, we must work together with them.   That was true during the initial deployment stage of MediNav, and it is even more important after launch that we collaborate to achieve solution success.

Today, for most of our customers, this will be focused on sharing knowledge, ideas, insights and best practices on marketing and simple Web 2.0 integrations that will increase awareness and adoption by patients and visitors.  For some customers, we will do the same for more sophisticated integrations with EHR systems such as Epic.  The portal will then be place where the trailblazers can make the path easier for those that follow.   Some customers are even moving towards addressing other Enterprise use cases for Indoor Maps and Navigation Services through integrations with asset tracking, facility management, safety & security applications.

Whatever their goals, we will work to ensure that our customer portal will become a valuable tool and vehicle for helping our customers to achieve them.  

Getting Started

So, today is just the starting point.   While we have our ideas, the continued evolution of the portal will be driven by what we hear and learn from our customers,   We are eager to start this next stage of the journey to improve Patient Experience and drive innovation and efficiency with MediNav! 

Finding your way to your doctor’s office at UAB Medicine just got easier - thanks to MediNavTM!   So did finding your way to the parking lot, the coffee shop and the restaurant across the street.

UAB kicked off the marketing launch today for UAB Medicine Wayfinder, available on mobile devices and as a web version for desktop use.  UAB Medicine Wayfinder powered by MediNav™ Navigator Edition 2.0. This is one of our largest deployments to date, with 1,534 beacons arrayed across the UAB Medicine campus, and providing maps and navigation for 10.7 miles of routable pathways and over 5 million square feet of space with 135 points of interest or destinations covering seven buildings and three parking garages.

MediNav's ability to provide end-to-end indoor + outdoor wayfinding and navigation is particularly important at UAB, where people must navigate across multiple buildings on a huge campus and to outlying clinics and UAB Hospital-Highlands.

These capabilities also support our popular Parking Planner and My Car Saver features, which get users to the right parking garage based on their indoor appointment locatiion and even remembers where you parked your car to lead you straight back to it.

Today's launch is just the beginning of the first phase for MediNav at UAB Medicine, who have a strong vision for how indoor mapping and navigation services can be integrated with other Enterprise applications and platforms to:

  1. reduce missed and late appointments and further enhance patient experience; and
  2. improve Enterprise efficiency across operational workflow, asset tracking, facility management, safety & security response and more.

So today is an important milestone to celebrate - but just the first in a path driving realizing all of the value for users and Enterprise ROI that can be achieved with Medinav!

Links for UAB Medicine Wayfinder:

 

 

 

A while back, we blogged about what are the key requirements and characteristics of Indoor Navigation in What Exactly is Indoor Navigation Matter Anyways - and Why Does It Matter? In this blog, we will shift focus to the crucial foundation that must be in place for navigation to be possible at all: navigation-quality indoor positioning.

Exactly what is required for indoor positioning to be “navigation quality” is something we have learned, refined and perfected over the last 3 years in a rapidly growing footprint of over 50 million square feet of actual deployments at scale.

A Little Background on Indoor Location-based Services and RTLS

First, it is helpful to understand a little background - and therefore the distinction between navigation quality positioning and what is possible with the previous generation of location-based services developed by RTLS companies (Real Time Location Services) such as Centrak, Awarepoint, Stanley Aeroscout and Versus Technologies. Cisco has also become an important part of this space with Cisco CMX and Hyperlocation. These companies were all focused on solving a different set of problems: starting with asset tracking, but over time other needs such as workflow monitoring (e.g. Nurse Call), compliance (e.g. Hand Hygiene) and so on.

The requirements for positioning solutions for these needs were entirely different and most germane to this topic, did not require very rapid positioning updates, uniform coverage and, for some use cases, high accuracy. Where high accuracy is required - what is termed “room level” or “shelf level” accuracy, it is achieved by a hyper-locally placed monitor or “exciter” rather than any uniform and widespread positioning solution.

These technologies have proven to be very valuable and important to many hospitals and Enterprises, but what Connexient learned through hard experience is that they could not provide indoor positioning performance that meets the requirements for indoor navigation.

The Core Requirements for Indoor Navigation

So what are the core indoor positioning performance requirements for indoor navigation? These requirements are not obvious until you actually try to make navigation work at scale, as we have done. So here is our POV.

1. Dynamic Refresh

Indoor navigation requires the precise synchronization of information and prompts to the user based on their location. MediNav, for example, gives the user turn prompts exactly when needed and off route notification if they miss a turn or otherwise stray from their path. This is essential to avoiding confusion and frustration. In order to do this well, refresh rates of 1 second or less are required for true indoor navigation.

2. Reliability

Reliability is crucial. Once you give a user a blue dot, they expect it to be available and work in the same way at all times. It cannot disappear, or lag, or be available only when the user is connected to a wireless network.

3. Uniformity of Coverage

Blue dot coverage has to be continuous, end-to-end for the entire wayfinding journey. There cannot be dead spots, or places where coverage is not available. For Connexient, this challenge also extends to providing seamless transitions between outdoor GPS and indoor BLE-based positioning, and covering areas like large atriums, outdoor walkways and garages, etc. This enables us to power our popular My Car Saver and Parking Planner features that solve some of the most important real world problems of wayfinding at large medical centers.

Why Does It Matter?

At the end of the day, we have learned that MediNav is compared to and must meet the standards of dynamic refresh, reliability and uniformity that users have been conditioned to by Google, Apple and Waze. It is a challenge that we have embraced, but is a very high bar!

But we took it on because we understood two truths.

  1. Indoor Maps - and even location enhanced wayfinding - will not solve the problem.  In facilities of the size and complexity that we address - and generally indoors - users simply cannot cognitively relate maps to the complexity of the environment. Only true indoor navigation, which eliminates the intellectual process of map reading, actually works.
  2. Unless we meet the UX standards of outdoor navigation, users will become frustrated and abandon the solution. To achieve that, we must have navigation quality indoor positioning. Actually, what users don’t realize is that this positioning quality must greatly exceed anything that is achieved outdoors!

Interested readers can learn more about this in:

BLE is the Choice for Indoor Navigation Quality Positioning Today

Over the last 3 years, we have tried just about everything that is out there, and seen that the only indoor positioning technology that can meet the requirements of indoor navigation quality today is the combination of Handset Sensor Fusion together with BLE Beacons.

This this approach is similar to how your smartphone uses GPS satellites to “triangulate” your position for outdoor navigation and location-based services. In the case of BLE, the technique is called “tri-lateralization” - where we can read the signal of 2 or optimally 3 beacons at one time that have known location. This is then combined with other sensor inputs - such as WiFi and EMF “fingerprints”, accelerometer and compass - using sophisticated “Handset Sensor Fusion” and inertial navigation algorithms to produce dynamic, accurate and reliable indoor positioning.

BLE is Now a Part of the RTLS and WiFi Infrastructure

The good news is that BLE has been embraced by most leading RTLS platform and solution providers - as well as CTOs and CIOs as part of their broader "Internet of Things" strategy.  This is ushering in a new era where Connexient is also supporting and leveraging BLE Beacons installed and supported by companies such as Centrak and Awarepoint, as well as BLE Beacons embedded in APs in Cisco Hyperlocation and Mist Beaconpoints.  

There are 3 basic approaches to deploying BLE into the Enterprise today:

  1. Standalone battery powered BLE beacons.
  2. Powered BLE Beacon - either part of WiFi APs or as standalone units.
  3. USB or other “plug-ins” to existing APs.

This new landscape is enabling our clients to move toward a unified location services infrastructure, where Connexient can use the BLE beacons installed and maintained by RTLS and other vendors. Connexient can also flexibly deploy its own battery powered beacons as a bridging solution, or in many cases to supplement other BLE infrastructure to ensure uniformity and reliability of coverage.

Whatever the infrastructure choice our clients make, Connexient will leverage our Handset Sensor Fusion, proprietary calibration processes and expertise to deliver true navigation-quality indoor positioning and our indoor navigation user experience.


Want to Learn More About BLE and Unified Location Services Infrastructure Strategy?

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Connexient LLC

210 West 29th Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10001
(212) 763-6604 | (888) 850-4920
[email protected]