A new app called Inside may mean you never have to ask where the toilet is again
Have you ever been inside a casino in Las Vegas? They remind me of the time I got lost in the Hanmer Springs forest. I was pruning pine trees high above a blanket of gorse and broom and missed the smoko call. Everyone had gone for some food and drink and I couldn’t find a soul. It took me about 6 hours to find my way to a forest road and back to the camp.
The experience in casinos in Vegas is different because you can ask directions, but ultimately malls are more interested in you finding your way in to help you buy things, not in getting out. They want foot traffic and to expose you to all the different in-store displays, because their success is proportional to the success of the retailer.
Now if you’re an average male like me, there are particular stores you want to visit, either for a purpose or because you are interested, for me it is books (although because of price and convenience, 90% of my reading is now Kindle based), musical instruments and tech gadgets.
Indoor navigation is the holy grail and I was watching this short video of an industry segment I am passionate about and have been ever since a couple of visits to Arthur Anderson in Chicago and some great retail conferences like the awesome NRF Conference in New York.
Retail indoor navigation exists now within chains. For example my local supermarket Countdown has a shopping list app that then guides me up and down the aisles for those items (along with trying to promote specials and companion items to me) so that I don’t have to go up and down again for things I have missed. It knows the layout of every store in their chain.
What I don’t like about proprietary apps is that they will always be focused on one brand of retail, or one shopping location. So where I got interested was when they started talking about crowd sourced data. Now I’m still not totally sold on the quality of traffic data and mapping in Waze as compared to my TomTom car nav, but they do serve different purposes and they both embrace the concept of crowd sourced data, after all we are out there and I don’t have a problem with an app that gives me value, getting better value because of my contribution to it’s source data. I am due to start reviewing car nav devices and apps soon, but if you want to know my opinions on the best GPS nav last year?
There are of course many very important places where indoor location would save masses of time and money. Top on my list are airports and hospitals (also University and college campuses especially for first year’s). They are complex and busy. You are usually in a hurry and under a degree of stress. The might paint the walls a nice calming color like quarter tea, but you would need a lot less calming if you had your mobile telling you how to not miss the plane (and how long till they shut the door) and of course where is your luggage and is it going to the same location as you.
So this is a technology we will all be using before too long. I have no doubt that Google will want to own this because the commercial search listings will go up a massive notch in value. It will probably get embedded as part of Waze and of course it will tie in nicely to features like where to park, how to find your car when you come our of the mall laden with new guitar pedals and a new video drone robot lawnmower, with the app having told you that you only have 10 minutes before the time on your park expires, which was extended by an hour for every $100 you spent and paid for through the navigation app.
If you know what I’m on about you don’t need to watch the video, it is similar to those we have watched for many years. The difference is that these apps now do exist, We just don’t know yet which app will become king and kingmaker.