Special Olympics World Games gets wayfinder service

Published: 14 March 2019 - 2:05 p.m.
By: Mark Sutton

Spectators and athletes attending the Special Olympics World Games 2019 in Abu Dhabi will be able to access a set of smart navigation tools for venues.

The navigation and information service, which is part of the World Games App, has been developed using a suite of Geographic Information System (GIS) wayfinding tools from consultancy Khatib & Alami (K&A).

These tools include indoor navigation, augmented reality and chatbot features which can be accessed from the World Games App. In addition, K&A is providing the technology behind wayfinding kiosks that can be found at Games venues, and which also include chatbot functionality through which users can perform searches or view information about the venue, timings and activities.

Dr Najib Khatib, chairman and CEO of K&A, said: “We’re delighted to be playing our part in the delivery of the first Special Olympics World Games to be held in the MENA region. The key to the success of any smart technology is that it should be easily accessible and user-friendly – these are the measures that our experts are applying to ensure that the tools we’re providing add to the experience of everyone at the event, whether they are participants, organizers or spectators.

“The Games are bringing together tens of thousands of people from across the world, so it provides an exciting opportunity to draw on the full potential of smart wayfinding technologies to help people get the most out of their visit, both at the event and elsewhere in Abu Dhabi.”

The tools being provided by Khatib & Alami include a ‘story-telling’ feature which allows people to record their trip routes, save memories and share their experiences with friends via social media. Users can also continuously view their current location on the displayed map, along with all trip statistics.

Manal Sayed, senior director of K&A’s Geospatial Systems Integration team, says the smart tools that have been developed for the Special Olympics World Games 2019 showcase some of the latest wayfinding technologies.

“The app is incredibly easy to use because it includes an augmented reality feature, which is a significant step up from most of the pedestrian wayfinding applications that people are familiar with,” added Manal. “It can directly tell you which way to turn while looking at your surroundings, instead of at a map, which can be more reassuring and helpful. The inclusion of a chatbot is also important because it provides an intuitive experience for users, thanks to advanced artificial intelligence technology.”

Khatib & Alami is a world leader in providing geographic information system (GIS) expertise, and is a Platinum Partner of US software specialist Esri. The company’s GIS experts are supporting the development of geo-empowered smart cities across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

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