Why finding people in big buildings is big business

Many navigation apps have a giant indoor blind spot.

January 16, 2020

If you’ve ever gotten lost in a mall, don’t fret. People will apparently pay giant sums to power the tech that’ll find you.

Case in point: A company called NextNav just raised $120m to roll out a system that will pinpoint a device’s location inside a tall building.

Think of it like GPS, but with an indoor voice

Popular navigation apps like Google Maps and Waze cover the world, but many of them have a blind spot: Once you get inside, you’re usually on your own.

Startups like NextNav, the Israel-based Navin, and others are banking on the idea that lots of people could benefit from this technology. Think emergency responders, doctors, and tourists.

Turn left at the watercooler

Some companies are even getting in the game. The Wall Street Journal reported that Exxon Mobil plans to offer a wayfinding app for workers at its sprawling Houston campus, which covers 4.5m square feet.

No wonder they have trouble finding the coffee pot.

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