For the past few years, new advancements in Bluetooth® technology have well positioned Bluetooth to be a significant contributor in the smart building. Recently, we've seen a number of real-world implementations — from airports to museums and retail facilities. Now, Mall of America is leveraging the power of Bluetooth beacons to empower customer navigation and improve the overall guest experience.
Mall of America encompasses 520 stores on five levels for more than 5.6 million square feet of coverage. Every year, the mall welcomes more than 40 million visitors from all over the world. "Guests have a certain level of expectation," said Janette Smrcka, information technology director for Mall of America. "People are used to having these wayfinding tools built in."
After having trouble implementing a Wi-Fi indoor navigation solution, Mall of America turned to Bluetooth enabled Cisco Halo Beacons to support their network of location services and help customers navigate one of the world's largest entertainment and shopping complexes. "Trying to meet outdoor navigation expectations indoors is difficult, especially at a high quality," said Smrcka.
With a Bluetooth beacon infrastructure in place, guests can select their destination on the Mall of America app and pinpoint where they are in the facility. From there, the app can get customers moving in the right direction while providing additional information, such as store hours, estimated time of arrival, and vertical transportation factors like escalators that impact accessibility for shoppers utilizing strollers or wheelchairs.
In addition to indoor navigation and way-finding applications, in the future Mall of America hopes to take advantage of Bluetooth asset tracking capabilities to monitor the location of key equipment, from strollers and wheelchairs to lifts and maintenance tools. Soon, their Bluetooth beacon infrastructure will even allow them to pinpoint inoperable equipment or assets in need of maintenance.
With 4.3 miles of storefront, Mall of America goes well beyond the traditional definition of a smart building. "We are truly a small city," said Smrcka. "Any logistical challenge you have in any city, we have. Being able to leverage those types of things to help our facility operate more efficiently could save us thousands if not millions of dollars. We're really excited about what Bluetooth could open up for us in the future."
Bluetooth beacons are connecting city-like venues all over the globe, creating rich, personalized experiences for shoppers, concert goers, museum lovers, sports fans, tourists, and more. Additionally, the recent release of the Bluetooth mesh specifications has paved the way for the emergence of connected lighting as the key use case in building automation, supporting a wider range of smart building services like asset tracking, point-of-interest solutions, and environmental sensing for environment and HVAC control.
Mall of America is a great real-world example of how Bluetooth technology can enhance the visitor experience for a building of any size. Watch this full video to see all the ways in which Mall of America is using Bluetooth beacons to power their smart facility infrastructure.