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World Market Center Las Vegas, Part 2

Oct 28, 2008 12:00 PM, By John W. DeWitt

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Why did you have to develop this wayfinding system from the ground up?

One of the complications we found was that, upon completion of the building project in the next few years, there will be eight buildings at World Market Center, all with up to 16 floors, and potentially 5,000 exhibitors in more than 12 million square feet of small to large exhibit spaces. On top of that, many tenant spaces are temporary and constantly changing. Also they have skyways that go from building to building, and our system has to be able to direct people any one of those ways.

Finding your way around this expansive campus is challenging to say the least. It’s like a Google or a Mapquest for the inside of a building or building campus, and it needs to get you around multiple floors of multiple buildings with multiple possible paths. We searched for an existing product that could handle this sophisticated wayfinding challenge but could not find a solution that could “think” up, down, and sideways, so we developed our “digital wayfinding engine.” It finds the best way from here to there and shows the way using maps, routes and text, actively determining the best path for each search request. The kiosk considers all possible routes including elevators, escalators, skyways, and outdoor pathways. It can even give precedence to specific paths if the customer wants to route people past retail or other revenue centers. It’s very unique and exciting technology.

What other challenges did your firm face in developing the digital wayfinding system?

Another critical issue was uptime. We had seen far too many web-type kiosk systems fail due to connectivity problems. We decided early on that each kiosk must be able to run independently of the network if they lose connectivity, therefore the software and data reside on each kiosk and, if the network fails, they simply wait until connectivity is restored to load any updates or changes. Future functionality will include airline, weather and news information, which will require timely data updates, but we did not want to compromise the kiosk’s other functions should we lose connectivity. We have very high uptime and feel this is key to the success of our kiosk network.

Yet another challenge is that this is a multiyear building project, so it’s a long enough project that the technology will significantly change. We fully expect that by the time we get done, we will replace everything we’ve installed—for instance, we will be dealing with multitouch technology by then.

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