Digital Wayfinding and Building Directories in Educational Environments

The popularity of digital directories and touchscreen wayfinding signage has been growing steadily over the last five years. With expected revenue from these types of deployments to be in the billions over the coming decade, it’s clear that the market is expected to increase exponentially. Our last blog covered how healthcare environments are incorporating interactive wayfinding solutions into their buildings and campuses to provide a better experience for patients, resulting in increased satisfaction with their care. Today, we’ll cover how colleges and universities are utilizing similar technologies to do the same for students.

Imagine you’re 18 again, on your own for the first time and just starting college. You’ve chosen a state school — one with more than 35,000 students. Those many-thousand students gather on campus daily in tens, if not hundreds, of buildings, including libraries, dormitories, student athletic centers and classrooms. You’ll need to navigate all of this, often with no more than 10 minutes between classes. With many college campuses spanning enough acreage to hold an entire small city, taking the intimidation factor out of the equation by giving students a digital map — one that can even be taken “on the go” — can go a long way toward easing new student anxiety. It also allows visitors and vendors to more easily maneuver through what often appears to be a confusing and ever-changing labyrinth.

Once students enter a building, they are faced with another set of hurdles — floors and entire wings of classrooms, lecture halls, performance areas, studios and labs. Some that may even move from week to week to accommodate different situations. Digital building directories simplify life by allowing updates to be easily made remotely via a central system and “pushed out” to the affected directories as needed. So if Biology 101 in room B-202 has been moved to a lab in B-303, everyone can get where they need to be on time without scurrying around like mice in a maze.

On-campus kiosks present additional interesting opportunities for educational institutions. While as demonstrated above, they are clearly a useful way to integrate digital wayfinding into college campuses, they are also an excellent communication vehicle for schools that desire to present information to many individuals at once. For instance, one of the most common kiosk deployments are in student centers or “unions.” With the huge number of people — students as well as faculty, staff and visitors — passing through each day, interactive kiosks (and digital signage as well) are a convenient way to “talk” to a large population, all at the same time. Additionally, interactive kiosks can be utilized to complete transactions by scanning student IDs, including loading virtual cash, paying for purchases ranging from textbooks to lattes, or to sign up for classes or other activities.

What other industries are successfully deploying digital wayfinding and building directories? We invite you to follow RedyRef as we continue to explore the future of these technologies over the coming weeks. Already know that you want to take the plunge into high-tech interactive kiosks? RedyRef’s experts are available to assist organizations of all sizes; just give us a call at (800) 628-3603 ext 525 or submit a request for proposal online and our team will be with you every step of the way.

Digital Wayfinding and Building Directories in Healthcare Environments

The popularity of digital directories and touchscreen wayfinding signage has been booming over the last five years, and there seems to be no end in sight. In fact, a recent MarketsandMarkets report has put the expected revenue for the global digital signage industry at $23.6 BILLION by the year 2020. While directories and wayfinding signage only comprise a piece of that spectacularly large pie, it does illustrate the importance of these products and the expectations that consumers will soon have for related devices. Over the next few weeks, we will take a close look at the different areas where interactive signage and building directories are having the greatest influence, starting today with the medical industry.

Imagine you’ve had a recent physical, and on a standard heart and lung scan, the doctor saw something — possibly fluid — that appeared atypical. She requested that you follow up with a CT scan so they can take a closer look. No one ever wants to hear that they need further testing for an abnormality — it’s frightening and stressful, and the days, if not weeks, between hearing the word “atypical” and the actual appointment date can feel like years. The healthcare sector has made massive strides in helping to alleviate patient stress in these types of anxiety provoking situations — within hospital or clinical environments — by demonstrating how digital wayfinding can be integrated to positively impact patient satisfaction and comfort during their time on site.

Two of the nation’s largest hospital systems provide excellent examples of how adopting a truly patient-centered wayfinding solution: the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic. Both campuses feature graphic- and content-rich interactive wayfinding kiosks, while Mayo takes it a step farther with the addition of a companion mobile app that allows patients to take the hospital footprint with them around the campus, so they are never without assistance. This easy access to both hospital and wayfinding information — in facilities, and even on the go — gives patients a sense of security and peace of mind in what is often already a stressful situation involving illness and its related discomforts.

What other industries are successfully deploying digital wayfinding and building directories? We invite you to follow RedyRef as we continue to explore the future of these technologies over the coming weeks. Already know that you want to take the plunge into high-tech interactive signage? RedyRef’s experts are available to assist organizations of all sizes; just give us a call at (800) 628-3603 ext 525 or submit a request for proposal online and our team will be with you every step of the way.

Interactive Kiosks and the Future of Retail: Part Four

So far in our series, we’ve covered the “endless aisle,” “omnichannel” and “virtual merchandising.” While all of these concepts are important when viewing the future of retail as it relates to interactive kiosks, we’ve saved the biggest and what we believe is likely to be the most important concept for last — Unified Commerce.

Many may perceive unified commerce as being very similar to omnichannel retail, and it’s true that there are some similarities. Both concepts look at all merchandising and marketing channels as a cohesive whole, whether it’s happening at an in-store kiosk, online or on a mobile device. However, where omnichannel stops, unified commerce continues by integrating not just the different channels, but also all of the underlying digital infrastructure, from POS to information systems.

Here’s an example of what an omnichannel experience would look like vs one rooted in unified commerce:

Company A is an omnichannel merchant, and has integrated their online, mobile and in-store merchandising and marketing so that customers can use their phones to scan QR codes to pull up information on specific essential oils and related products before making their selections and taking them to the cashwrap to be rung up. Customers can also use self-service kiosks to order items that may be out of stock in store and have them shipped directly to their homes.

Company B has invested in a unified commerce strategy. They have integrated all of their sales channels as well, but also utilize a single backend infrastructure to ensure they each channel works together to ensure a seamless user experience. Customers can not only use their phones to scan QR codes for information, but they can also add these products to their online shopping cart and pay for them right from their mobile device before walking out of the store with their merchandise, having never spoken a single word to a sales associate. They could also opt to browse the store, pick up their desired items, go to a kiosk and have out of stock items sent directly to their homes while paying for their in-store selections at the same time. Were they to have additional or more complicated questions about the products or their usage, they would have the option to be virtually connected to one of the five certified clinical aromatherapists employed by the company at its headquarters for a live video chat.

The above illustrations make it clear how unified commerce can result in a more personalized shopping experience, and therefore greater customer satisfaction. The biggest barrier to this type of integration is cost — most retailers have invested millions in backend technology. However, with a little bit of research, those companies with aging infrastructure and the cash available to make a big change may find that UC offers both a highly profitable and customer-centric opportunity to become or remain leaders in their retail categories.

Enjoyed our series on the future of retail? Convinced that making interactive kiosks a part of your unified commerce strategy is the right thing to do? RedyRef’s experienced professionals are here to help. With a wide range of fully-integrated manufacturing solutions available, we offer a one-stop kiosk solution from design to deployment, making it easy for companies of all sizes to take advantage of the latest and best interactive technologies. Give us a call at (800) 628-3603 ext 525 or submit a request for proposal online and our team will be with you every step of the way.