Using Self-Service Kiosks During the Corona Pandemic

August 9, 2020

The Corona epidemic has far reaching consequences in all sectors. Everything from the obvious health, economic to social issues are influenced. However there are also many smaller matters that aren’t immediately apparent. For instance, the role of touch screens and kiosks in the spread and stopping of the pandemic.

Use of kiosks can both help spread and stop the pandemic.
Use of kiosks can both help spread and stop the pandemic

Kiosks during the Corona Pandemic

The use of kiosks during the Corona pandemic is a double edged sword. Since SARS-CoV-2 can spread through direct contact with other people, social distancing is highly advisable. However life must go on and everything can not be done online. Many jobs can not be done from a home office. Sometimes seeing the doctor in person is unavoidable. Therefore we need new solutions that allow us to conduct certain transactions without human contact, for example paying for products and services, printing prescriptions, asking for directions. These are all things that kiosks can be utilized for. However using touch-screen kiosks could in fact help spread the virus, if not done properly.

One way to make the kiosks safer would be to sanitize them in regular intervals. That however would be redundant as popular locales will have people using kiosks constantly. Placing a hand sanitizer bottle also may not be enough as not everybody cares enough about their own and other’s health.

Making Kiosks Safe Again!

One ingenious solution comes from Freetouch. This solution allows users to access touchscreens without ever touching it. The user can click, drag, scroll throughout the display just as they would with a laptop. This means that companies don’t need to make any additional investments in an already uneasy time. Also, the solution is quite Eco-friendly as there are no hand sanitizers or personal protective equipment being used!

A novel solution like Freetouch might be a bit confusing for some people, who just want to carry on as they did before the pandemic. Thankfully there are ways to make the screens of kiosks themselves kill bacteria. Many companies now have come forth with anti-microbial coating for touch screens. This coating can be added to touch screens without installing a completely new kiosk.

Voice activated kiosks are also an option of course. This kind of solution also makes kiosks more accessible for people who may not be ale to use touch screens because of a disability.

Investing In the Future

These are just some examples of human ingenuity overcoming the difficulties created by the current pandemic. The thing to remember is that this will not be the last pandemic to hit our global community. The investments we make in our safety will pay dividends for generations to come. Making the world more accessible through wayfinding and self-service kiosks will help curb unnecessary costs for enterprises and help keep us safe.

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New features in 3D Wayfinder

January 15, 2016

With the end of 2015 and the beginning of this year there are many new features added to 3D Wayfinder. The goal of these changes was to add flexibility to customizing the behavior of the 3D map and wayfinding. Custom models for path, path types, POI options and many more.

In parallel with large customer projects, we have added many new features to 3D Wayfinder. Most of them were requested by our customers and we have added them as features/settings for all our users. Below are listed the most important ones.

Custom models for path visualizationcustom_path_models_wayfinding

It is now possible to choose your own custom models for path visualization. Path models can be different kind of arrows, footprints or simple tubes/lines. Changing path visualization models can be done under settings.

In near future we’ll add some sample path models also to our blog.

Path types and accessibility paths

It is now possible to add different kind of inaccessibility attributes to the path . This can be used for defining paths  that are also accessible with wheelchairs and/or baby strollers. This also enables defining other kinds of areas, like paths for service personnel etc.

Currently it has to be entered to the node attributes in json object format:

{

“inaccessibility”: [

 “wheelchair”

]

}

wheelchair_wayfinding_inaccessibility_Path_types_and_accessibility_paths

The nodes with these kind of restrictions cannot be used for path finding with “wheelchair” option. It is useful to set these restrictions for stairs or doors.

To use the inaccessibility in user interface, you have to change the accessibility option first:

this.wayfinder.accessibility = “wheelchair”;

Then it is possible to use the same show path method:

this.wayfinder.showPath(poi.node, poi);

And after showing path, just change the accessibility option back to blank:

this.wayfinder.accessibility = “”;

Also check out our blog post about how to set up time dependent navigation rules.

POI specific options

Advanced_POI_settings_specific_options

It is now possible to create special settings for each POI (location). These settings can be chosen from the list of all POI settings, like the size of the billboard image or billboard text size, highlight color, activation radius, billboard height etc.

This feature allows to customize the map by locations, for examples larger shops can have larger texts or text colors can be set by each shop. Also it makes easier to use logos or icons on the map, as the billboard images don’t have to be the same size anymore.

In the future it is possible to add new settings that can be used when developing your own template.

Top-down view for Path showing

path-top-down-view-for-path-showing

Now there is a simple option under settings to turn the map to top-down view when showing the path.

In general it is not a good idea to show the “You are here” location from top-down view, but rather  from certain angle (especially when it is possible with real 3D models as in 3D Wayfinder), which provides a better overview of the map and also makes the map look better.

Now when using the same angle, as displaying the “You are here” location, and visualizing the path, it may happen that the visualized path might not be visible. This is due to tall objects like walls that might block the view of the path. Using the top-down view during path visualization solves this problem.

Pause options between changing floors

According to valuable customer feedback, the transition of switching floors happens too quickly , which might be a bit confusing for the end-users. We solved this issue by adding the “pause-time” option to the settings. With this option it is possible to adjust the duration of the pause before switching to the next floor. The pause duration can be defined in seconds,  which makes it easiest to find  the proper delay that helps  all wayfinder users to understand, which floor they have to go to.

Kiosk view enhancements

In addition to being able to save the view angle, it is now possible to save the zoom factor for “kiosk view”. By clicking the “You are here” button, the map assumes the “kiosk view” saved in the editor.

In the future we will add this view option as a separate object so the view can be linked with any location or node.

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Towards rule-base wayfinding

September 25, 2015

Future in wayfinding includes definitely possibility to create complex rules for path finding. Now there are also node restrictions in 3D Wayfinder to specify working days etc.

One of the last addition to 3D Wayfinder was node weights for calculating optimal paths. This made possible to guide visitors in some recommended way. Now there is also possible to restrict some nodes based on time and day.node_restrictions_wayfinding_paths_by_date_and_time

In many public buildings, there are rules for locking doors, elevators or gates. There can be different areas open during working hours than weekends or night times. This is common for shopping malls, train stations, university campuses etc. Even large office buildings are keeping some doors open during the weekends as there might be service providers like dentists, children playrooms etc. When providing wayfinding to your visitors, it is important to follow the same rules.

With 3D Wayfinder, it is possible now to create path restrictions according to work-day and time. To create this kind of restrictions, just open node attributes under editor.
Under Node attributes in 3D Wayfinder Editor, there can be entered JSON. In future we will provide also special UI for that.

Here is the example that will allow to pass the navigation node from 10AM to wayfinding_paths_restriction_node_attributes9PM:

{
“allowedTimes”: [
[
10,
21
]
]
}

Adding other blocks, you can also specify by days.

We are currently developing also other rule types, like security or accessibility. These rules help to create adaptable and user-friendly way-finding applications which are useful and finally elementary for large buildings.

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