Getting lost is a thing of the past for visitors in Nashville’s Music City Center (MCC) thanks to its new wayfinding app.
“This new technology will change the way visitors experience this building,” Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said. “It’s a big building, and getting turn-by-turn directions on a phone will make it easier for visitors to get where they need to go. This wayfinding app also highlights Nashville’s emergence as a tech city and a place where entrepreneurs and Web developers feel empowered to come up with tools to make life easier and better.”
The app uses beacons installed in the building’s walls to direct users from point A to point B in the venue. At 1.2 million square feet, the MCC is the largest building in the country with an indoor wayfinding system that uses beacon technology. It is available as a free app for iPhone and Android users.
The app was created by Jules White, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Vanderbilt University—along with a team of Vanderbilt students as a part of a class project. The public/private partnership between the MCC and Vanderbilt’s Institute for Software Integrated Systems led to the development of the wayfinding technology and the launch of White’s new Nashville-based startup company, Ziiio.
The MCC wayfinding system functions like indoor GPS and is the first of its kind to clearly show users turn-by-turn how to find where they want to go inside a building using 500 photos. The machine-learning approach that Ziiio uses allows the MCC to rely on fewer beacons. Currently, 62 beacons have been deployed in the convention center. These beacons were donated by BKON, a local manufacturer of the iBeacon hardware.
A video demonstration is at: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_HZ5vVmyi8kZ1ZIRjkxQl9WeEE/view?usp=sharing.