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U.S. Malls, Hospitals Use Senion's Beacon-based Solution

A California hospital and a mall have installed the Swedish company's StepInside technology to track and analyze traffic patterns at their facilities; the software also enables them to share location-based content with app users.
By Claire Swedberg

Although Senion makes beacons, which come with batteries that have five or more years of life, the company is focused on software, not hardware, Andersson says. That means the company can provide solutions with any other off-the-shelf beacon hardware.

The hospital version of the technology can start providing data to patients or visitors at the facility's parking lot. A user downloads the hospital's app prior to a visit. The individual's phone receives a transmission from beacons installed in the parking area, and can then view that data on his or her phone to identify where to park. In addition, the system enables a visitor or patient to store the vehicle's parking space location.

Senion's Marcus Andersson
A patient simply walks to the appointment desk, following the app's wayfinding function. The phone receives signals from multiple beacons and calculates the user's updated position several times per second. Virtual zones are used to determine, for instance, whether the patient entered the lobby or the parking lot. Once that person has reached the lobby, the software recognizes that the patient has arrived at his destination, and the app can check that patient in automatically.

The app and the StepInside software platform can also provide data to the patient regarding where a specific department is located, or where he or she could buy a drink or pick up a prescription. The San Luis Obispo hospital is utilizing some of these functions, Andersson says, but not all of them. Other hospitals are considering using a variety of the functions as well.

Because the technology is able to use the phone's own sensors and the software can predict movement, Andersson says, the Senion system provides "a smooth blue dot [visible by the user on his or her device] that displays where someone is going."

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