Welcome Visitors with a Mobile Wayfinding App

In another post, we talked about ways to let people download your maps and other information using QR codes, SMS and HTML5. You can take it to the next step by using a mobile wayfinding app with beacons and a geofence.

Pair your app with touchscreens to let your visitors walk away with the entire experience they found on your screen, right on their smartphone or tablet. Since the app is a separate design, you can also adjust the content by adding more options than on screen, or include only the most popular items.

For example, you might have an interactive design on your touchscreen that includes advertising or social media, but your app can stick to just wayfinding maps, directories and schedules. The key is to streamline the app to give your visitors exactly what they need when they aren’t near touchscreens.

Or, you don’t have to pair the app with interactive kiosks. It can be a completely separate tool for your audience, and a great one to consider if you don’t have the budget for a lot of touchscreens.

One of the great advantages of a mobile wayfinding app is the ability to provide turn-by-turn directions along with photos of your facility. By using beacons placed at major transit points and landmarks, you can give your audience a foolproof way to get to their destination.

A beacon is a small piece of wireless, battery-operated hardware that you can mount at entrances, elevators, meeting points and other landmarks. It uses Bluetooth to talk to smartphones – sensing when an app user approaches and feeding them directions from that beacon to the next beacon on their journey. The app user gets a photo of where they’re going and simple directions like “take the elevator to the fourth floor”. When they exit the elevator on the fourth floor, the next beacon guides them down the hall in the right direction with another photo.

You can take your app to the next level by creating a geofence. This is a virtual barrier that you can set up in your parking lot, at an entrance, or around a specific building or area. It senses when a smartphone crosses the barrier and sends a notification to that phone prompting the person to use your app.

Geofences are a great way to garner participation and build your app user base. It’s self-advertising since it engages every device with GPS turned on, so your visitors are automatically reminded that they have a wayfinding resource available to them. Also, by offering the app outside the building, you can guide them all the way from the parking lot to their destination.