18
Oct

Enhancing Navigation through AR Wayfinding

With places and buildings expanding and becoming more difficult to navigate, there’s a clear need for more advanced navigation systems. This is especially true for large buildings since the lack of GPS signal indoors has always been a challenge.

While still relatively new, immersive navigation systems using technologies like augmented reality are slowly but surely finding their way into our everyday lives. In fact, innovative organizations and brands have already begun incorporating the technology to help the public navigate around notoriously complex places like airports, hospitals, and event venues. But what exactly is augmented reality wayfinding?

What is AR Wayfinding?

Before we get stuck into AR wayfinding, it’s worth taking a quick look at what augmented reality is. Augmented reality itself is basically a technology that leverages a device’s existing hardware, such as a smartphone’s sensors and cameras, to digitally augment and enhance the world around us by superimposing CG images onto our view of the real world.

Arguably one of the most popular and most recent examples of augmented reality is Nintendo’s ever-popular Pokémon Go. The 2016 game captivated millions thanks to its seemingly simple, yet technologically advanced gameplay style. Using interactive AR waypoints placed throughout the physical world to trigger in-game events, the game allows players to explore their surroundings using their phones to find and catch different Pokémon.

Fast forward to today, and in 2019 more augmented reality companies than ever before are constantly discovering new ways to use this life-changing technology – including AR wayfinding. Put simply, augmented reality wayfinding serves as a “digital guide” for users making their way around certain places.

Conventional wayfinding “systems” include the signs and maps we’re all used to. While these wayfinding systems have certainly been helpful over the last couple of centuries, they’re far from the most efficient way of getting around. GPS and the subsequent introduction of digital GPS-enabled maps was the next milestone in navigation’s history and is how most of us today get around – but it’s still not perfect. The most obvious disadvantage of GPS navigation is its inherent reliance on GPS signals, which naturally limits it to outdoor areas with signal coverage – enter AR wayfinding.

Just like in Pokémon Go, AR wayfinding systems and apps take advantage of existing device features and digital waypoints to help users efficiently navigate through confusing areas, rather than rely on GPS or other external signals. When used inside buildings, AR wayfinding even comes with the added bonus of streamlining foot traffic and customer flow, working in the same way traffic alerts do on our GPS navigation apps.

AR Wayfinding Today

Like we mentioned earlier, forward-thinking brands and organizations, including UK-based augmented reality companies, have already started rolling out augmented reality navigation solutions. A prime example of this the system currently installed in London’s Gatwick Airport.

Over 2,000 wayfinding beacons have been installed throughout the airport, allowing users to use a mobile app to navigate the airport. This lets them easily locate things like their check-in counter, where to pick up their luggage or find the restaurant they’re looking for without wasting hours wandering the airport. Travelers using this innovative app also benefit from up-to-date flight notifications, ensuring they’ll make their flight on time.

Conclusion 

There’s simply no denying that AR wayfinding is the way forward for navigation, and it’s about time we all got on board. Our augmented reality services have helped brands in the UK and beyond take their consumer experiences to new heights. Get in touch with Untitled Project today to find out how you too can benefit from this novel technology.