How Indoor Mapping Enhances the Security of Smart Buildings – DirectionsMag.com

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When you hear the words “workplace security,” what comes to mind? In today’s tech-driven world, you may immediately think of the cybersecurity tools and processes needed to secure sensitive company data and mitigate the risk of cyberattacks. But what about the security of the physical building where you work?

Although the post-pandemic world has shifted toward a greater acceptance of remote and hybrid work, almost 60% of U.S. employees still go into the office every day. However, the perception that fewer people currently work in office buildings can increase the facilities’ vulnerability to security threats.

 In 2022, 28% of organizations saw an uptick in physical security incidents. Beyond the potential threat to people’s safety, security incidents also impact business operations. From project delays to cash flow interruption, the negative effects of security incidents touch all levels of the business. 

 To strengthen the overall security and safety of their buildings, the most forward-thinking facility managers will turn to emerging technologies, such as indoor mapping.

 The role of indoor mapping technology

Though still a burgeoning technology, the popularity of indoor mapping is rising. In 2019, the market was valued at $1.28 billion, but with the numerous use cases across industries for indoor mapping, that number is expected to skyrocket $28.92 billion in only 11 years to $30.20 billion by 2030.

 Cutting-edge technologies have elevated indoor maps from mere wayfinding solutions to dynamic digital recreations using live data to replicate physical spaces. These digital facsimiles look and behave like their physical counterparts and are designed to seamlessly integrate with the technology infrastructure of the environments they reflect.

 Because of this frictionless integration, the smarter your building, the better your map. Smart buildings have interconnected systems that collect actionable data to improve operations. A smart building may have Internet of Things (IoT) sensors in its rooms, and an indoor map can pull live data from the sensors to inform map updates in real time. This information can also provide insights into safety optimization for your space.

 Indoor maps can integrate with disparate systems already in place (HVAC, door access, security alarms, lighting and more) and streamline their controls. That way, in an emergency, leaders can manage these systems immediately via one map rather than multiple apps. For example, if an unauthorized person enters a secure building, the facility manager could use the map to remotely lock specific doors to prevent access to those spaces.

 Indoor maps for enhancing emergency preparedness

Digital indoor maps are a valuable tool in developing your smart building’s security and safety plans. Because these maps provide access to so much data, you can make decisions informed by this information. For instance, the map can identify what areas of the building have the highest traffic so you can position your security personnel accordingly. If there is a security breach, the map’s integration with your facility’s camera systems allows you to monitor events in real time and rapidly respond to the situation.

 The most relevant use of an indoor map for security and safety purposes is, in fact, its most basic use: navigation. In an emergency, knowing the exact location of people and threats is critical for first responders in situations where seconds matter. This knowledge is especially important since about 80% of 911 calls come from mobile phones that fail to pinpoint caller locations. If someone calls 911 on their mobile phone from a large corporate office building, for example, and fails to specify where in the building they are, first responders will be left searching. Response times will be delayed, and the emergency situation could worsen.

 Situational awareness is mission-critical in emergency events, and maps can help provide necessary context. Situational awareness is more complex than simply noticing what is happening around you. An emergency responder must capture clues and cues in the emergency environment, make sense of the information and predict what will happen next. By offering accurate and detailed information about a building’s layout, features and occupants, indoor mapping plays a crucial role in supporting a swift response in a crisis, reducing response times, preventing injuries, and saving lives.

 Beyond assisting first responders, an indoor map can also benefit those in the building in an emergency by pointing current occupants to emergency equipment like fire extinguishers or AED locations for faster access. Further, the map will outline the most efficient and unobstructed path for people to reach the nearest exit in an emergency that requires building evacuation.

 Yes, these digital indoor maps still offer wayfinding solutions but thanks to smart building technology and continuous innovation, these maps can do so much more.

 Indoor maps are still an up-and-coming technology, but when elevated with existing smart systems, they can enhance emergency preparedness plans, fortify building security and, ultimately, provide peace of mind to keep physical property and people safe.

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