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Wayfinding 101

Dec 16, 2010 12:06 PM, By Maria Porco

Digital signage is more than just directions.

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There are several factors to take into consideration when selecting a digital wayfinding solution. One of the most important factors is how easy it is to create and update the wayfinding maps. There are digital signage platforms that allow users to import floor plans and create digital wayfinding maps easily inside familiar programs such as PowerPoint and publish them directly to the network. Such solutions save content managers considerable time in creating maps, and they also reduce the need to learn new tools and applications. If content managers find the tools easy to use, they’re more likely to keep working with the technology.

Management Software

Hotels also want to be able to provide visitors with the most up-to-date information on meeting schedules, without the need to constantly update the screens. This can be accomplished through integration with a facility’s third-party event-management software, such as Newmarket’s Delphi. For example, a visitor at a hotel that is hosting a conference could select a meeting on the interactive screen, and the screen would tell them where and when the meeting is taking place, as well as information on presenters and other relevant details. If a change in the conference schedule occurs, it will automatically be updated on the screens from the management software, allowing the important information to be quickly disseminated to visitors without the need to make any changes on the screens themselves. Additional smaller displays can be added outside each conference room to provide details on scheduled meetings.

Live Feeds

Another consideration to take into account is whether the facility will be doing more than just wayfinding with its digital displays. An HD screen is a terrible thing to waste, and there are many other features that can be integrated to provide a truly personalized experience for guests. For example, live data feeds can be integrated to display news, local traffic, and flight arrival/departure information all on the screen. This data can be updated automatically, providing guests with the most up-to-date information possible, while freeing staff from updating the content, saving time and operational expenses.

Platform Considerations

Yet another consideration is whether a facility currently has a digital signage network deployed and if its existing platform can also support interactive signage. Some facilities install a digital signage network and then decide to add interactive screens at a later date. If the facilities didn’t take that into account when selecting a digital signage content-management platform, then they could end up with two independent platforms that don’t work together. A hotel can minimize the cost of offering digital wayfinding, while minimizing the time and effort involved with learning and supporting two systems, by using only one provider. How important is it to extend wayfinding in a facility to mobile phones and other electronics? These are all important factors to keep in mind when selecting a digital wayfinding solution.

There are several types of wayfinding applications, from basic “you are here” maps to three-dimensional renderings of a facility. What they all have in common is they provide guests to convention centers, hospitals, and other buildings with a simple navigation experience, getting them exactly where they need to be, when they need to be there. Maps are just the beginning. Digital signage solutions are capable of so much more, providing a truly personalized, immersive experience for visitors. By keeping in mind a few considerations and asking a few questions about what they wish to achieve, any facility can easily find a solution that meets its needs and the needs of its guests.

Maria Porco is vice president of business development for X2O Media, a full-service provider of software, network management services, and content services for professional digital signage and corporate communications applications. She can be reached at

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