Oct 31, 2019 in Viewpoint

The technology behind suggestion-based facilities in the smart office

In the previous viewpoints, we’ve discussed the role of localization in the smart office as well as the differences between localization and positioning. We’ve learned that with smart technology you can find your colleagues within the office and a good setup is crucial. But smart offices have more to offer than just finding teammates. How about finding the nearest locker, desk or meeting room?

Remco de Vos
by Remco de Vos
Smart technology
What technology lies behind suggestion-based facilities in the smart office?

Finding the nearest locker, desk or meeting room

Imagine you’re in the smart office and want to put your gym clothes in a locker. Your next meeting starts in five minutes, so you don’t have time to wander around to find an empty one. Mapiq can suggest you a free locker nearby. But what kind of technology lies behind this suggestion? The answer is positioning. If we can determine your position in the office, we can suggest the locker closest by.

How to do positioning

Now we know that you need positioning to determine where the nearest locker, desk or meeting room is. But how to do positioning if you want to do-it-yourself? First, you need a couple of elements:

- A frame of reference – the office floor plan
- Reference points – WiFi access points or Bluetooth beacons in the office
- Observations between you and the reference points – measured by the device you’re carrying or yourself. 

All those elements together can define your position. And they can determine your position by, for example, measuring the strength or speed of the WiFi or Bluetooth signal at your position. A strong and fast WiFi signal means you’re closer to the reference point. So, closer towards that fixed position. If we can measure the distance to multiple reference points, we can estimate your position, with a little bit of math.

Step 1

So, we want to suggest an employee the nearest locker. The person is where you stand – your position that we want to determine. With one reference point, we can measure that your distance to it is, let’s say 5 meters. You can draw a circle of 5 meters around that reference point. With the single measurement, you could be at any position in that circle. They all are equally far away from the reference point.

Positioning
With one single measurement, you could be at any position in that circle

Step 2

But just one reference point won’t help us suggest you a locker nearby. We’ll add another reference point and measure your distance to it. Now we can draw another circle. This circle crosses the other circle at two points. In other words, you can only be at two possible positions based on these two measurements. Still not precise, but now we’re getting somewhere.

positioning
You can only be at two possible positions based on these two measurements

Step 3

Let’s introduce a third reference point, measure the distance and draw a circle again. Measuring the distance between you and reference points A, B and C leaves one position where all three circles cross. So, we have found your position and can now find the closest locker for you.

Now that we explained how important it is to have multiple reference points, you can imagine it is equally important to have them all set up at the right spot within the office. And with those three elements, you can help employees with suggestion-based facilities.

Positioning
Measuring the distance between you and reference points A, B and C leaves one position where all three circles cross

Mapiq helps employees navigate through the building easily

Hopefully, we have given you some background and insights on this type of complicated, but yet, very useful technology. Of course, there are other, more complex methods to determine a position, but they all follow the same strategy. Positions are related to some of the functionalities Mapiq provides: recommending the nearest workplace, locker or meeting room, controlling the closest lights, or even showing crowdedness of areas with heatmaps. Are you interested in helping your employees navigate easily through the office? Let’s get in touch!

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