Markets

World Market Center Las Vegas, Part 2

World Market Center Las Vegas, host of the semi-annual Las Vegas Market event and year-round home to the Las Vegas Design Center, opened its third building this summer and will continue expanding agg 10/28/2008 8:00 AM Eastern

World Market Center Las Vegas, Part 2

Oct 28, 2008 12:00 PM, By John W. DeWitt




CoSign developed a custom digital wayfinding kiosk system to handle the difficult task of navigating multiple buildings, floors, and paths through the burgeoning World Market Center Las Vegas building complex.

CoSign developed a custom digital wayfinding kiosk system to handle the difficult task of navigating multiple buildings, floors, and paths through the burgeoning World Market Center Las Vegas building complex.

World Market Center Las Vegas, host of the semi-annual Las Vegas Market event and year-round home to the Las Vegas Design Center, opened its third building this summer and will continue expanding aggressively over the next five years. To guide visitors and tenants through the rapidly growing, multi-building complex, a sophisticated, custom-developed wayfinding kiosk system was developed and piloted this past summer by Las Vegas-based CoSign, which also manages World Market Center’s digital signage network. Part 2 of SVC’s interview with Robert Garity, founding partner and vice president of sales and marketing for CoSign, discusses the challenges of automatically plotting routes through “multiple floors of multiple buildings with multiple possible paths.” (See part 1)

SVC: Describe the interactive wayfinding kiosks used in this past summer’s pilot. How long did it take to develop them and how many will be rolled out?

Garity: The kiosks operate on their own platform that we developed and have directory functionality, so anywhere you want to find an exhibitor or event in the center, interactive maps will direct you to the destination you want to go to. We developed the cabinets for the kiosks, and we’ve conceived, designed, and integrated that product.

We didn’t actually start coding software until January 2008, so it was a very compressed timeline. We were really programming right to the last day before the show to get everything just right. They have six kiosks so far, and we’re still deciding how many kiosks we’re going to roll out. We didn’t want too many in the pilot because the kiosks were something we were building from the ground up, and we wanted to make sure our clients and end users were happy with the software and the concept of wayfinding. So far, results are good.

How do the World Market Center’s wayfinding kiosks work? What’s the advantage of using them rather than a traditional building directory?

You know the static maps and directories often used for buildings? We’ve developed a way of digitizing all of that and integrating it with our kiosk wayfinding system. Digital wayfinding is very sophisticated and database-driven. We’ve created a virtual building and then drawn all of the hallways for every single building into the data structure. When we place a kiosk on the floor, and you walk up to it and touch the screen to find a space—perhaps you’re in building A on the main floor and trying to find a space on 15th floor of building C—the kiosk is not just showing you a map. The computer in the kiosk is looking through the database to find the best path—and if we move the kiosk to a new location, it has to reroute everything.

World Market Center is constantly changing exhibitors. It has temporary space used for the show and permanent spaces too, and there are name changes on a weekly basis. So trying to change static maps and legends behind the plastic is a very, very expensive prospect. Making it digital will allow them to go into one database, make one change, and propagate it to all the kiosks.


World Market Center Las Vegas, Part 2

Oct 28, 2008 12:00 PM, By John W. DeWitt




CoSign

Why did you have to develop this wayfinding system from the ground up?

One of the complications we found was that, upon completion of the building project in the next few years, there will be eight buildings at World Market Center, all with up to 16 floors, and potentially 5,000 exhibitors in more than 12 million square feet of small to large exhibit spaces. On top of that, many tenant spaces are temporary and constantly changing. Also they have skyways that go from building to building, and our system has to be able to direct people any one of those ways.

Finding your way around this expansive campus is challenging to say the least. It’s like a Google or a Mapquest for the inside of a building or building campus, and it needs to get you around multiple floors of multiple buildings with multiple possible paths. We searched for an existing product that could handle this sophisticated wayfinding challenge but could not find a solution that could “think” up, down, and sideways, so we developed our “digital wayfinding engine.” It finds the best way from here to there and shows the way using maps, routes and text, actively determining the best path for each search request. The kiosk considers all possible routes including elevators, escalators, skyways, and outdoor pathways. It can even give precedence to specific paths if the customer wants to route people past retail or other revenue centers. It’s very unique and exciting technology.

What other challenges did your firm face in developing the digital wayfinding system?

Another critical issue was uptime. We had seen far too many web-type kiosk systems fail due to connectivity problems. We decided early on that each kiosk must be able to run independently of the network if they lose connectivity, therefore the software and data reside on each kiosk and, if the network fails, they simply wait until connectivity is restored to load any updates or changes. Future functionality will include airline, weather and news information, which will require timely data updates, but we did not want to compromise the kiosk’s other functions should we lose connectivity. We have very high uptime and feel this is key to the success of our kiosk network.

Yet another challenge is that this is a multiyear building project, so it’s a long enough project that the technology will significantly change. We fully expect that by the time we get done, we will replace everything we’ve installed—for instance, we will be dealing with multitouch technology by then.

For more information, visit www.cosignllc.com.


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