Location sharing on personal devices can be a contentious topic and organizations planning on deploying location-aware apps with indoor location sharing capabilities must be cognisant of the landscape they’re entering. For example, when one searches for ‘location sharing’ on Google, amidst the first page results are frequent user queries for instructions on how to disable location sharing on their various smartphones.
Amidst privacy concerns and app fatigue, it’s imperative that users have the ability to easily opt in (and out) of location sharing, and the app must also provide enough value to overcome users’ mental barriers to the download and opt in. That said, there are many instances where the use case is truly compelling enough for users, but your app’s value proposition is key. From the very start, that value must come from solving a real problem or making the user’s life significantly easier. So what are the use cases that qualify as ‘worth it?’
Saving Time and Lives in Hospitals
Hospitals and other large healthcare facilities are easily the locations where friction can most quickly make the leap from frustrating to fatal. On the simply inconvenient side of the spectrum, patients and visitors often encounter overcrowded waiting rooms and maze-like facilities with insufficient wayfinding tools -- issues that can be addressed with the implementation of a location-aware Real-Time Health System. At the more troubling end of the spectrum, the ability to locate on-call physicians in real time could be the difference between life and death.
Using real-time location sharing to quickly visualize the precise location of emergency healthcare professionals, or to automatically check-in patients and manage queues using their hospital app, presents hospital organizations with opportunities to improve both care outcomes and patient experiences.
Making Work Easier and More Efficient
In large offices and on corporate campuses, sometimes you need to physically track a stakeholder down to get a signature ASAP, or locate your teammates quickly for an impromptu meeting. When offices occupy multiple floors or buildings, these simple tasks can cause unwarranted delays to critical projects.
Real-time opt-in location sharing for colleague tracking is a great workplace facilitator, as Desjardins discovered when they built their new employee app. Desjardins’ app allows users to, on an opt-in basis, connect with friends or establish a short term connection with their colleagues for a 30 minute window.
The key to the feature’s success is its opt-in nature. By separating the location-sharing functionality into two separate options, Desjardins gave the power of consent to their employees, providing valuable features to users, respecting the sensitivity of location-based data.
Keeping Track of Loved Ones
Think of all of the stressful places you’ve been separated from your loved ones. When you’re at large, complex, busy malls, recreational sites, or airports, no amount of map-enabled kiosks are going to help you find your family before your departure time - you’re going to try to phone them and hope their device is not set to silent. The same type of find-a-friend feature that corporate campuses employ can be used in these circumstances to stay connected with family members as they inevitably split up and roam through the shops and attractions.
With the ubiquity of personal devices and concerns around privacy, location sharing is an important topic at the center of public discourse. At the end of the day, location sharing in public buildings and facility apps should always aim to follow an opt-in process. Individuals should be able to make their own informed decisions about how, where, and with whom their location is shared, and they should be able to revoke that permission at any time. As such, the onus is on organizations to build an app experience worth opting into, and to be clear with their users about who can see their location and when, and where their data will live. When location sharing is leveraged to successfully reduce friction and save time for users, achieving user adoption for these features will follow closely.
Jibestream Indoor Location Sharing