ArcGIS Indoors

5 Areas Where Location Sharing Makes Sense Indoors

Location sharing is not an entirely new concept. In fact, companies such as Whatsapp, Snapchat and others have been featuring this functionality in their apps for quite a while. It allows users to share their own real-time position on a map in outdoor locations. This substantially facilitates meeting up, particularly when the users are not familiar with the area they’re in.


So far, this technology has mostly been applied for private uses, although there is great potential for it to be applied to business use cases as well. In this blogpost we want to show you five examples where location sharing makes sense indoors.


Inside DIY or Furniture Stores

It’s a phenomenon that can often be observed at DIY, electronic, or furniture stores: customers seeking help, but being unable to locate a store associate. Service is an important part of the customer journey and can often make or break the deal. Lack of information or assistance in the purchasing process does therefore not only lead to a bad customer experience but may even drive them into the hands of a competitor.


Indoor positioning can help make the communication between customers and staff a lot easier. By enabling staff to share their location with customers via their company’s mobile app, businesses can significantly improve the in-store experience for their clients. Especially since this is such a common problem, providing this service can also encourage positive word-of-mouth, contribute to an improved company image and boost sales.

location sharing improving customer satisfaction inside DIY store
Store associates can share their location via app and readily provide assistance to customers

For Incident Management

How do emergency responders locate incidents? The first piece of information they get comes from the person reporting the emergency. However, accidents or other incidents often happen in places the person calling does not know well enough to pinpoint.


GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) and GPS assist in locating the caller’s smartphone. However, this only applies to outdoor locations and often only provides inaccurate results, especially in remote areas with poor signal reception .  


In case an emergency situation occurs inside a building, upon arrival, the emergency responders first have to orient themselves and find the actual incident site. This, however, may take away crucial time and could have a negative effect on how the whole situation turns out.


Using a location sharing functionality, the person reporting the incident can share their own position with security guards or the emergency crews to speed things up. Reaction time is critical and often determines the degree to which people involved in an emergency situation are injured.


Being able to locate the incident right upon arriving at the building and navigating there can help cut down the time until the injured get access to first aid.


At the Office

Nowadays, many companies entertain an open office/mobile desking approach. This allows for greater flexibility while also reducing costs of fixed work stations. However, there are some hidden pitfalls that should be avoided if you want to maintain a productive working environment.


By introducing mobile desking, also known as hot desking, employees are no longer assigned a specific work station. They have to find a new available seat every day and depending on the company and building size, this can be more or less of a hassle.


Another aspect that may be affected by the mobile desking is face-to-face communication and teamwork. When seating is random and not arranged according to departments, trying to find your colleagues within the building to discuss matters in person may get a bit burdensome.


While emails and internal chats are a convenient way to exchange information quickly, some things still demand personal interaction. Sharing their location with each other on the digital map via web or mobile app, can facilitate ad-hoc meetings for employees. A routing functionality further helps colleague A find their way directly to colleague B. This not only helps save time and trouble, but also encourages teamwork.


At Airports and Train Stations

Travelling with a group is fun, but can also be difficult to coordinate. Arranging a meeting point at a place (e.g. the airport) where thousands of other people are buzzing around, is challenging.


Instead of having individuals get into stressful situations where they cannot find their travel buddies, providing a location sharing opportunity helps travelers off to an easy start on their journey. All they have to do is to share their location with their group of friends and they should be able to meet up easily at any point inside the building.


Location sharing not only improves your customers’ travel experiences, it can also be a very valuable means to optimize workflow efficiencies among on-site staff. Similar to the office scenario, all employees empowered with indoor location services are able to connect with each other more easily and get things done faster.


location sharing helping travel groups meet up easily
Sharing one’s location with the whole travel group facilitates meeting up and saves time

At Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities

Just like incident management, healthcare is a time-critical industry and efficient workflows are essential. Like in any other business, clear communication is key to coordinate tasks and ensure everyone is on the same page.


To avoid any kind of miscommunication, it is always best to discuss matters face-to-face. Additionally, if a patient is in critical condition and needs immediate help, locating the attending physician instantly can be crucial to save their life.   


However, finding a specific person inside a huge hospital complex is not always easy. Instead of having employees going about it blind, trying to find a specific colleague or reaching them via pager, location sharing can be an effective tool to accelerate the process.  


The location sharing functionality also takes security and privacy concerns into account. This includes the choice for employees to share their location permanently with friends at work, but only temporarily with other colleagues, e.g. just for the time of a meeting. Furthermore, when the user is in a situation where they prefer their location not to be tracked, e.g. in the restroom, the functionality can be disabled.


Why are we telling you all this? Location sharing is coming to you soon in one of our upcoming releases! Stay tuned to get all the details or get in touch with an expert now!

About the author

Silvia is the Sr. Product Marketing Manager for ArcGIS Indoors, ArcGIS IPS and ArcGIS Data Reviewer at Esri. As such, her mission is to raise awareness for the ever growing opportunities of bringing GIS to the indoor space and the importance of data quality.

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