Skip to Content

Mayor, Music City Center Unveil Wayfinding App

11/12/2014

New Technology Will Help Navigate Through 1.2 Million-Square-Foot Building

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Mayor Karl Dean and the Music City Center unveiled the Music City Center wayfinding app today. This new technology automatically locates where someone is in the convention center and directs them to a destination, whether it's a meeting room, restroom or the parking garage.

"This new technology will change the way visitors experience this building," Mayor Dean said. "It's a big building and getting turn-by-turn directions on a phone will make it easier for visitors to get where they need to go. This wayfinding app also highlights Nashville's emergence as a tech city and a place where entrepreneurs and web developers feel empowered to come up with tools to make life easier and better."

The app uses beacons installed in the building's walls to direct users from point A to point B in the building. At 1.2 million square feet, the Music City Center is the largest building in the country with an indoor wayfinding system that uses beacon technology. It is available as a free app for iPhone and Android users. A video demonstration is at: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_HZ5vVmyi8kZ1ZIRjkxQl9WeEE/view?usp=sharing.

Last year, Mayor Dean opened an Office of Innovation that works to make Metro Government more transparent, efficient and responsive. Earlier this year, he signed an Open Data executive order to increase public access to Metro Government data to make it easier for entrepreneurs and others to use that data to build new technologies. The wayfinding app is an example of what can come out of collaborations fostered by the Office of Innovation and information made public through the Open Data initiative.

The app was created by Jules White, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Vanderbilt University, along with a team of Vanderbilt students as a part of a class project. The unique public/private partnership between the MCC and Vanderbilt's Institute for Software Integrated Systems led to the development of the wayfinding technology and the launch of White's new Nashville-based startup company, Ziiio.

The Music City Center wayfinding system functions like indoor GPS and is the first of its kind to clearly show users turn-by-turn how to find where they want to go inside a building using 500 photos. The machine-learning approach that Ziiio uses allows the Music City Center to rely on fewer beacons. Currently, 62 beacons have been deployed in the convention center. These beacons were donated by BKON, a local manufacturer of the iBeacon hardware.

Photos credit: Metro Photographic Services

Music City Center wayfinding app
The Music City Center wayfinding app uses photos and turn-by-turn directions to help users navigate their way through the 1.2 million-square-foot convention center.

Jules White and Myor Karl Dean using wayfinding app
Jules White, an assistant professor at Vanderbilt and developer of the Music City Center wayfinding app, and Mayor Karl Dean use the Music City Center wayfinding app to locate a meeting room.

Mayor Karl Dean app developer Jules White, and Music City Center president and CEO Charles Starks use the Music City Center wayfinding  app
Mayor Karl Dean; Jules White, an assistant professor at Vanderbilt and developer of the Music City Center wayfinding app; and Charles Starks, president and CEO of the Music City Center use the Music City Center wayfinding app.

###