In my article What is Indoor Positioning?, we looked at Indoor Positioning Systems (IPS) from a business perspective and identified the following four fundamental applications of indoor positioning:
In this article, we’ll be taking a deeper dive into tracking things and people, with a business explanation, key questions you should ask, and example IoT use cases that include measuring occupancy to ensure compliance with fire codes and covid social distancing and to optimize utilization of spaces with architectural design.
This series is focused on the business perspective for indoor positioning systems. If you’re interested in the different technical approaches and how they work for indoor positioning, check out this excellent Indoor Positioning eBook.
Designing, architecting, and constructing effective buildings is a difficult challenge. Architects have to please multiple stakeholders with varying needs. The funders may be focused on the upfront cost to build, ongoing costs to power and maintain, and/or overall function of the building. Users of the building may care about navigation, spaces for their personal uses, privacy, safety, and/or security. Local residents may care about the beauty of the building and/or its environmental impact. And those are just a few of the possible needs of different stakeholders.
To improve the design of new buildings, post occupancy evaluation (POE) surveys are conducted, but they’re manual, expensive, and limited in the data that can be collected. To improve the use and safety of existing buildings manual inspections are required. It doesn’t have to be this way!
Indoor positioning can enable your business to automatically measure how your building is being used. You can get insight into real-time occupational density to enforce current safety codes and look at occupational trends over time to inform future building design. For architects, instead of wondering and guessing at whether the building design was effective, you can truly know.
To help determine the right technological approach for your specific needs, ask yourself the following questions:
In the current pandemic environment, occupational density within buildings becomes even more important than usual. All buildings have a maximum capacity to comply with firecodes, but now that capacity may be temporarily decreased to enforce proper social distancing as places reopen. For stores and restaurants, compliance becomes a major challenge to stay on top of and enforce.
For measuring occupant density to comply with social distancing, ongoing measurement is needed. It won’t be an option to have people use dedicated tracking devices, so you’ll need a solution that doesn’t assume that. The granularity of the measurement depends on how you need to use it, if you need logs to prove your compliance then higher granularity might be needed.
Buildings last for decades so it’s critical that they’re well designed. To improve buildings and the overall quality of design, post occupancy evaluation (POE) is one of the most powerful tools available to architects. It’s estimated that for every dollar spent on POE, $77 can be saved in operating, maintenance, and renovation costs. However, POEs can be time consuming, expensive, and difficult to justify to clients.
For post occupancy evaluation to inform architectural design, discrete measurement is necessary. The building isn’t controlled by the architectural design firm and the client is unlikely to want an indoor positioning solution collecting data on an ongoing basis. For similar reasons, people won’t have dedicated tracking devices, so it’ll be necessary to use the signals from their smartphones as a proxy. High granularity isn’t critical because many design hypotheses can be validated or disproved even with high error margin.
We just covered one of the four applications for indoor positioning systems in this article, check out the others for business explanations, key questions you should ask, and example IoT use cases for each: