G20 Hamburg Summit Uses 250 Beacons: An Interview with Indoora
The 2017 G20 Summit in Hamburg was the first G20 event in history to employ indoor positioning technology. With over a thousand visitors trying to maneuver the space, indoor positioning from Indoora helped them make the most of the space. We spoke to Indoora to hear more about their very unique and historical experience.
Why did the G20 choose beacons?
G20 organizers wanted to provide ideal conditions for journalists during the summit. The venue layout designed for the event was unknown for almost all the attendees. That’s why indoor positioning and navigation was decided to be the central feature of the app.
The International Media Centre in Hamburg is spread across four halls, and a mobile app called G20 Compass was developed to specifically target the needs of attendees gathered from all over the world.
In the end, we installed 250 beacons to provide our services inside the G20 venue and more than thousand people actively used the map, search, and navigation features.
What kind of feedback did you receive?
Most users were new to the technology, but they found it to be very innovative and useful. We received very positive feedback. Users especially liked the high-accuracy of positioning as well as the extensive search and dynamic navigation features. Organizers particularly liked the fact that they can easily customize venue maps according to their own needs and the chance to use location-based services that allowed them to inform the users according to their location.
How are beacons useful in this setting?
G20 is a two-day organization where many time-critical events are happening simultaneously. Attendees have very intense schedules and time is a very important asset for everyone. Under these circumstances, people don’t want to waste their time searching for places in the venue. That’s why an accurate indoor positioning and navigation system is very important for visitors to save time and focus on their primary tasks.
In the complicated G20 environment, attendees easily searched for points of interest such as office spaces, video editing rooms, social media areas, broadcasting points, lounges, restrooms, snack corners, etc. They had turn-by-turn navigation to their desired destinations. They received location-based notifications about events happening in their vicinity. In a venue where all attendees were visiting for the first time, the technology created a huge convenience for everyone.
How was this different than an ordinary deployment?
Since G20 was no ordinary event, extreme security measures were in place. Unlike any installations we have done so far, every member of our team had to get security clearance two months before the start of the summit. When we arrived in the venue, we had to go through extra security screenings to be able to enter the site. Each beacon was carefully checked by security staff and technical experts. At the venue we were assigned two lifts and four technicians to assist during the beacon installation.
We laid out a concrete deployment plan in advance and agreed on the responsibilities of each party before the actual installation day. We got to work with very professional staff. As a result of the solid planning and disciplined work of all parties involved, we successfully completed the entire beacon deployment under 6 hours.
What are some further uses/capabilities we can expect to see in these settings?
Indoora actually offers more services as a part of its SDK besides the indoor positioning and navigation. Some of these services were not used for G20 2017, but we believe they could be useful for future events.
For example, the ability to track friends/colleagues on the map and get navigation to them can be very useful. This feature can be a great time saver especially in crowded environments where people spend so much time just to find one another.
We have seen cases where press members from two different countries were physically searching for each other to exchange information and insight after the meeting of their leaders. A press chat room would make the international collaboration process easier. Along with the location sharing feature, press members can conveniently find their person of interest and set up meetings with them.
Do you have any further technical details or tips for deployers and planners?
The number of beacons deployed in large venues for indoor positioning is relatively high. This makes the management of beacons critically important. For maintenance purposes, beacons’ locations should be logged during the deployment to provide ease of maintenance. We have developed a beacon deployment software tool to identify the beacon and mark its location during installation. Having such a tool makes the deployment faster and is beneficial for further maintenance.