Digital Wayfinding and Building Directories in Educational Environments

Posted On : Tuesday, February 23, 2016 By : Will Pymm

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.