Those of us not blessed with a keen sense of direction and a solid mental map are deeply grateful for the now ubiquitous addition of GPS navigation to our lives. Long car trips have been shortened as we’ve avoided getting lost. “Marriages,” Lance Rütimann asserts, “have been saved.” Unfortunately, that saving grace deserts us when we go inside.
In yesterday’s SUPDET 2016 “Indoor Positioning Systems Enhance Safety and Security in Buildings” presentation authored by Oliver Zechlin and Lance Rütimann, Siemens Switzerland Ltd., Rütimann outlined the possibilities inherent in creating in indoor positioning system. Buildings would be thoroughly mapped and users could be triangulated through beacons, Wi-Fi, RFID, or a number of other technologies. A phone app, smart glasses, or other output device could receive directions from a central server based on your current location and desired destination and guide you there just as your car navigation currently does. Imagine being guided to the correct spot in a large warehouse or to the room you need in a sprawling hospital complex.
The applications for emergency systems are even more exciting. With additional sensors and algorithms, you might be able to receive personized emergency evacuation procedures that take into account current hazards, blocked escape routes, and your own abilities to guide you to the closest and safest exit. Audible guides could also be provided to account for those with poor eyesight or for situations with poor visibility. Emergency responders could be guided to or away from hazards, directed to people needing rescue, or even guided to emergency equipment. The possibilities are endless!