Aug 22, 2019 in Viewpoint

The role localization in the smart office

The workplace has become more open and dynamic than ever before. And while we’re embracing activity-based working, finding colleagues can be a challenge, since there are no more fixed desks. With Mapiq technology you can find your colleagues anytime, anyplace. However, localization technology always evokes a lot of questions. How does it work? What do you need to install? How specific can it get? In the next two viewpoints, we will dive in a little deeper, and get even more technological by explaining beacons. In this one, we will walk you through two scenarios and the localization methods you can use. Let’s explore the technological field of localization!

Jasper Schuurmans
by Jasper Schuurmans
Before asking the question of how accurate the setup will be, the most important thing is that you know your goal for localization in the office

Localization technology

In our years of experience, we came across quite some situations where there were unrealistic expectations about the accuracy of localization technology. Before asking the question of how accurate the setup will be, the most important thing is that you know your goal. Do you want to give employees insights in who is at the office (in or out), give them location-based suggestions for nearby rooms and facilities, or give them the possibility to find a colleague up to the level of a single room? These goals can function as a guideline when you start looking at the method you need to be using and can help to decide whether your current Wi-Fi infrastructure is up to the task. So, let’s get practical…

I want to give employees insights in who is in the office

To answer this question, you only need to differentiate between two locations: are you at the office, or not. Although even a GPS-based geo-fence could suffice to answer this question, Wi-Fi is still a logical pick, as it is mostly available and can perfectly do the trick. As of course, there are more precise methods like Bluetooth, but almost every building has a Wi-Fi network installed, which makes this the most logical pick. In this scenario, we are not interested in the position – or exact place – a colleague is at. An employee can be on the fifth floor or in the restaurant, we just know he or she is in the building. In some cases, this is already very valuable. Think about having three offices on campus, knowing in which of the buildings' colleagues are will save you a good amount of time.

I want to give employees insights in who is in a specific area, meeting room or floor

In this case, we have higher expectations of the accuracy of localization technology. Therefore, we need more specific information, because we rely more on technology. You can use the same technology as mentioned before, however, the set-up of your office becomes more important. For example, you could set up Wi-Fi points in the hallways to make sure everybody has a strong signal and good internet. But then, you most likely don’t have a good set-up to differentiate between areas like meeting rooms. This means that the placement of Wi-Fi access points is really important, as it determines the level of accuracy for the localization of employees in the office. The following image shows a desirable set-up of Wi-Fi points in a room.

Left: less desirable set-up, right: good set-up

Getting more specific

At Mapiq we use positioning for knowing more precise where an employee is, so we can guide them towards the nearest available locker or let them control the closest light. But there is so much more to tell! In our next viewpoint, we will explain more about how we use positions and locations in these scenarios. Also, one of our developers Remco will get even more technological! Stay tuned.

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