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24.01.2017

Ubilabs and MapsPeople Bring Indoor Wayfinding to the German Market

Whether university or shopping center: MapsIndoors helps visitors to find their way quickly (Source: MapsPeople) Navigation from your own location to your destination with the exact timing (Source: MapsPeople) MapsIndoors is designed for Android and iOS (Source: MapsPeople) MapsIndoors is designed for Android and iOS (Source: MapsPeople)

Ubilabs has partnered with Danish IT company MapsPeople to bring indoor wayfinding to customers across Germany. MapsPeople have created a market leading indoor mapping platform based on Google Maps called MapsIndoors. The strategic partnership between the two Google Maps for Work Premium Partners enables us to offer clients an extra key component as part of their expansive geo services portfolio. Read the interview with the Head of Partner Management from MapsPeople, Christian Frederiksen.

So Christian, what is MapsIndoors?
MapsIndoors is MapsPeople’s flagship product. It is an indoor wayfinding platform, which allows large venues to add digital indoor maps of their facilities and hereby unlock a series of benefits for both themselves,their visitors, and customers. MapsIndoors is built on top of Google Maps and can be integrated into apps, websites and info kiosks. It is available as both SDK’s and API’s which gives venue owners full control of the solution and allows for easy integration with thirdparty systems.

How does Indoor Wayfinding work?
Indoor wayfinding brings all the known benefits of outdoor navigation indoors. It provides users with a digital navigation tool, which helps them find their way around large indoor spaces using only their smartphones. Until a few years ago, travellers at the airport or students at a large university would use printed maps or info screens to find their way around inside a large building. With MapsIndoors, they will have the maps at the palm of their hands.

Where can MapsIndoors be used?
Digital indoor wayfinding with MapsIndoors is relevant for all types of large buildings. The most common use cases are airports, universities, convention centers, large supermarkets and hospitals but we are also seeing a lot of interest from large sports arenas, corporate headquarters and theme parks. The possibilities are endless and so are the user scenarios.

What can companies do with MapsIndoors?
The obvious answer is “Show people around inside large buildings”. But there are so many other benefits that I want to highlight. At the airport you can provide travellers with an accurate time to their gate and hereby allow them a less stressful journey with more time in the duty free area. At the university you can save resources by reducing the time employees spend showing people around. At the supermarket you can provide your customers with a route through the shop based on their in-app shopping list. You can also send them location based offers when they pass by a certain aisle in your shop. The list of benefits is long.They all  just require an indoor positioning system.

What is Indoor Positioning?
Indoor Positioning is the umbrella term for a number of technologies which use smartphones to determine a user’s physical location inside a building. Outside, we use GPS to get positions, but GPS does not work inside buildings, so when we want routing from A to B inside, we need to apply a different positioning technology. There are a range of indoor positioning options available such as iBeacons, WiFi Positioning, positioning via magnetic fields, and via lighting. MapsIndoors can be interfaced to any of the above. The most suitable indoor positioning technology depends on the venue type and on the solution requirements.

Why should a German company apply Indoor Positioning?
As I mentioned before, you unlock a range of benefits of your indoor wayfinding solution when you combine it with an indoor positioning technology. To name but a few, you can use the “Find nearest” functionality and get real time routing from A to B. You will also be able to gain insight into how people move around your venue and send visitors push notifications based on their current location.

What makes MapsIndoors different to other indoor wayfinding technologies in the market?
Indoor mapping and wayfinding is big business and there are a range of providers out there. What sets MapsIndoors apart from all the competitors is that it is built on Google Maps. Apart from the obvious benefit of design and usability recognition, it allows a seamless transition from outdoor to indoor navigation. In other words, this means that a user can get a route all the way from their home address and to a specific gate at the airport, a lecture room or even a product on the shelf at the supermarket. This feature saves the user’s time and makes it more likely that people will actually use the indoor wayfinding functionality in your app.

Things constantly change inside venues. How do you handle those changes with MapsIndoors?
We know that very few indoor spaces are static, so we have developed an Indoor Navigation Content Management System, which enables the venue management to add and edit all the information which is shown on the map. The MapsIndoors CMS is easy to use and does not require any programming skills.

How do you cooperate with Ubilabs?
We work with a range of strategic partners across the globe to be able to talk to customers in all corners of the world who know their markets and customers. Ubilabs have a very solid foundation in the German market and they know their existing and potential customers well. As we are both Google Cloud Premier Partners, we have a common foothold in the world of Google Geo and can use this to jointly offer customers in Germany the best possible solutions. 

Thank you for the interview!

Get a quick overview of MapsIndoors (Video)