For years, Realcomm has brought together the most creative, forward-thinking, and insightful commercial and corporate real estate professionals from around the world. If a topic is on the tip of Realcomm tongues, then you know it’s important.

The 20th edition just wrapped up last week, and one of the hottest topics of this year’s show was location services and the impact they are having across a range of industries.

Bluetooth® based location solutions are driving these occupant engagement applications. Bluetooth beacons and sensors are increasingly deployed in smart buildings and smart venues around the world. According to this year’s Bluetooth Market Update, annual shipments of Bluetooth location services devices are forecasted to grow 10x by 2022, making it the fastest growing Bluetooth solution area over the forecast period.

Within this rapidly expanding smart building solution area, four core use cases have emerged.

Point of Interest

Retailers were among the first to adopt point-of-interest (PoI) beacons, using them to improve the customer shopping experience by enabling personalized promotions and way-finding services that help shoppers navigate their stores and locate items on shelves. Target is one of those retailers putting location services to work in their stores.

Museums are also adopting location services to offer visitors a more personalized and fulfilling experience. When recently swapping existing halogen lighting with Bluetooth® enabled LED modules, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam also installed Bluetooth beacons capable of feeding visitors point-of-interest information based on where they are, and what piece of art they’re viewing.

Smart cities are now discovering how PoI beacons can improve the quality of life for citizens and enhance the visitor experience. As Taipei Smart City Chief Officer Chenyu Lee recently explained at Bluetooth Asia 2018, Bluetooth smart city applications are now extending into people’s everyday lives.

Indoor Navigation

Indoor navigation is another application that’s enhancing visitor experience. Bluetooth® beacon-based indoor navigation and way-finding solutions have quickly become the standard for overcoming indoor coverage challenges that GPS can’t address. Last year, Gatwick airport installed around 2,000 beacons in two terminals, creating an indoor navigation system, and others are following Gatwick’s lead. Unacast Proxybook estimates that 84% of global airports will be using location services by 2019.

Asset Tracking and Item Finding

Alongside PoI and indoor navigation, Bluetooth® beacons are powering the rapidly growing asset tracking and item finding markets. From inexpensive personal item-tracking devices to large-scale asset-tracking solutions found in hospitals and factories, Bluetooth is helping individuals and facilities locate and monitor valuable resources.

In industrial settings, companies like ABB & Bosch are using Bluetooth to deploy sensors across factory floors to monitor the condition of the equipment and to feed that data into a BMS to predict maintenance requirements.

Space Utilization

Bluetooth® sensors are being used to gather data in real time to better understand how space in office buildings and exhibition centers is being used.

One panelist during a Realcomm session dedicated to a location services discussion estimated that 20-40% of conference room space goes unused. This shadow space is the bane of building owners, operators, and occupants alike. As corporations realize the need to minimize footprint and maximize space, space-utilization solutions are gaining more and more traction.

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company, is using Bluetooth to help transform modern offices into an integrated digital workplace. It’s a great example of how this technology is being leveraged in commercial office spaces to uncover cost-savings opportunities, bring efficiencies to conference room booking and hot desking, and create a work environment that boosts productivity and appeals to tech savvy talent.

As Scott Cochrane, CEO & President of Cochrane Supply & Engineering, explained during Realcomm’s Smart Building Integrator Summit, the ability to connect building automation systems (BAS), the Internet, and the ever-present mobile device has enabled occupant engagement applications that have rocketed smart building integrators into an occupant-experience revolution. The building focus has expanded to include occupant experience and wellness, not just productivity per square foot, and Bluetooth is proving to be an essential enabling technology for the indoor location solutions leading the way.

To learn more about the impact Bluetooth technology is having in the smart building, and to get full access to all 2018 Bluetooth technology trends, download the 2018 Bluetooth Market Update.

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