Automation is a game changer in many industries, speeding up processes and pushing the boundaries for what can be done without human intervention. But it is also becoming a buzzword used at random to make things sound innovative. In this blog post we deep-dive into automation within the indoor mapping industry to show you what it is, how it is used, and why it is important.
Automation and indoor mapping in short
Automation describes a wide range of technologies that reduce human intervention in processes. There are different types of automation ranging from basic to very complex. Basic automation is about digitizing work to automate simple and rudimentary tasks. Complex automation is when machine learning is used to automate processes. By teaching machines what a door looks like in a CAD drawing, they will be able to analyze CAD drawings and detect doors without manual intervention. It sounds like a simple task, but it is not.
Machines do not process data the same way humans do (surprise). Humans are extremely good at processing and understanding visual data. This means that we are able to recognize doors in a CAD drawing no matter if they are 45 degrees or 90 degrees or if they open to the left or to the right. Machines process data differently. They analyze data input and make a decision based on the sample data, the so-called training data, you feed into them. This means that if you teach the machine that a door is 90 degrees, opening to the right, it will not recognize an 89 degree door opening to the left. As you continue to train the machine it will learn to detect different door types and gradually improve its accuracy.
The benefits of using automation
Automation and machine learning are key focus areas at MapsPeople. We have a dedicated automation team that works exclusively with machine learning and deep learning to automate our map creation process and we are now able to handle complex layouts and detect hundreds of doors, walls, rooms, connectors (stairs, escalators etc.), and furniture as well as create route networks with ai-based automation.
Automation empowers us to minimize our time to delivery and it helps us achieve our goal of ‘maps in minutes’. Can we create maps in minutes? Not yet, but we are now creating maps six times faster than we did before, so we are well on our way.
This leads us to the key benefit of using automation: short delivery time. As facilities get more connected, the need for indoor maps to visualize location data increases. Our partners and clients rely on MapsPeople to quickly and efficiently provide maps whether it is for a new customer or for an existing customer who needs to add more buildings to their solution.
Automated map updates
When talking about automation and indoor mapping, automated map updates are often the topic. However, while these updates are an automated process, they do not necessarily require AI or machine learning.
Automated maps updates are enabled by integrating the MapsIndoors platform with an integrated workspace management system (IWMS). By using integrations that parse the CAD files in the IWMS, MapsIndoors will automatically detect the changes and synchronize and update its own data to match the IWMS’ at regular intervals. This means that facility management won’t need to worry about updating multiple systems when wanting to make changes to building maps and floor plans in the IWMS.
While this is a very important integration, ensuring that venues can quickly and easily update their maps as often as they need to, it is an integration that enables an automated workflow rather than “real” automation.
If you want to know more about MapsIndoors and how it can help you leverage your solution, reach out to us and we will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have.