In Part 1 of this blog, we talked about how indoor positioning infrastructure and solutions will converge over time. Today, we will talk about how navigation and navigation quality mapping are fundamentally different than and complementary to indoor positioning and location tracking.
The quick summary is that navigation quality mapping and navigation itself is hard, and requires a complex mastery and synchronization of many different technologies, skills and processes.
These are the things that we wrestle with every day:
1. Navigation-quality maps. This it the most overlooked requirement. Our mantra is The Map Really Matters - because it does. Apple found that out the hard way. There are an entire set of processes, technology enabled services and tools that are required to implement and then maintain navigation quality maps at the required level of accuracy, reliability and currency.
2. Location-related Data. The map and navigation could be perfect, but, if it takes you down a half mile of hallways to a doctor (or department, or whatever) that is no longer there, it is worse than useless. This data is scattered around the Enterprise in general today, and coalescing and then maintaining it is a critical task.
3. Navigation UX. Again often overlooked but critical. There is a synchronized, complex dance of all the above - along with the user interface itself - that all must come together for a navigation user experience to be intuitive and useful. If it is not, it will fail. There is only one standard the user will measure us against: Google (or Apple). So a fanatical focus on that is one of our key drivers.
4. QA. Each and every one of these components - and the system as a whole - must have QA embedded throughout in monitoring, tools and processes. With navigation, the user expectation of reliability is extremely high - and as we move toward the high value use cases in safety & security, the bar gets even higher.
So, we believe that indoor navigation and navigation-based services requires laser focus and constant effort to be successful.
Navigation-Enabling the Enterprise: the Connexient SDK
When it comes to integrating navigation and navigation-based services into other Enterprise applications - whether a Patient Engagement application, RTLS application or otherwise - there is a different but equally large set of tasks and requirements that the application developer and integrator must address.
That’s why the Connexient Mobile Application SDK has been so well received. It eliminates all of the complex issues and effort required to deliver indoor navigation from the task list of a developer or integrator and replaces this with a few simple calls to add maps, navigation and navigation-based services wherever they are needed in the application.
All Screens, Multi-modal Support
It is also important to remember all of the other uses and needs for navigation-quality maps without “blue dot” navigation. That’s why Connexient has always provided All Screens Support. Whether patient, visitor, staff, security or otherwise, there is a universal need for high quality maps, routing and visualization that can be accessed on any screen at any time.
That's what we at Connexient do, and can justify that effort and cost because navigation services and navigation quality maps are then consumed in many different ways across the Enterprise. We have plenty to chew on in solving that problem!
We definitely do not have any plans in our roadmap to be an asset tracking solution. What we are focused on what our clients need: integration and collaboration.
Indoor Navigation + RTLS: The Low Hanging Fruit
Based on our discussions over the last year with clients and partner alike, these are the client-driven use cases that stand out when we look at how Indoor Navigation and RTLS can be integrated.
1. The ability to show the location of assets on navigation quality maps within our app, and navigate that user to them.
2. The ability for an RTLS system to call our maps via an API and get directions or maps back to their own application (i.e. without blue dot).
Over the longer term, as Enterprises standardize on their location services and navigation mapping and services solutions, in many cases the RTLS mobile or other applications might also use our indoor maps and navigation with our mobile application SDK and Web APIs.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that these technologies and solutions are complimentary today, and will become more so over time.
At Connexient, we will stay focused Navigation-enabling the Enterprise:
1. Delivering and maintaining Enterprise grade navigation quality maps, navigation and navigation-based services; and
2. Making those easy to consume in any way that benefits the Enterprise and the end users.
This will fit together in different ways with different RTLS vendors depending on their own strategies, but we definitely see these to be two complementary disciplines and solutions that can and should be integrated to maximize the benefits and value of each.