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Cork Independent

Business & Professional

Cork company lands Dubai Airport Free Zone contract

Thursday, 14th April, 2016 1:00am

A Cork company has won a contract to create an interactive 3D site model with a navigation system for a free zone site in the Middle East.

Dubai Airport Free Zone is located in one of the busiest airports in the world and plays host to more than 1,600 international businesses including Rolls Royce, Bentley, General Electric and Airbus.

ShowGuider, a technological innovation company based at CIT’s Nimbus Research Centre, is developing an interactive 3D site model, with a positioning and navigation system, for the Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority (DAFZA).

DAFZA is an organisation that deals with import and export trades and services. Since its launch in 1996, DAFZA remains the governing body that administers trade licenses and visas to international companies wanting to do business from Dubai within the free zone. It also offers companies a base within a modern and comprehensive environment to do business from.

ShowGuider is now developing a custom-built 3D model of the DAFZA complex with floor-by-floor modelling that will provide an intuitive user-friendly indoor navigation system for visitors.

The ShowGuider team is led by Dr Martin Klepal, an internationally recognised expert in opportunistic indoor tracking and software modelling.

He explains to the Cork Independent that “the free zone is where companies have their headquarters or their offices from which they operate from, or have offices for meeting people and making business and working with people.

“The DAFZA really try to make sure it is providing cutting edge technology to its clients and it’s not afraid of investing in new technology.

“It’s a huge business site. For visitors, and even a company based inside the site, to get their bearings of where they are initially, or where a warehouse is, it can be very difficult. Our system will help them to find their way around the free zone site.”

By tapping on location icons attached to buildings and facilities within the ShowGuider DAFZA 3D site model, visitors will be able to quickly navigate to their requested destination and to access detailed company product, personnel and marketing information.

A sensible user interface design ensures that users don’t need to look constantly at the screen while being guided to their destination. The system works when offline too and will incorporate sensor monitoring, user tracking and communication facilities.

But this is just one of the aspects of the contract awarded to ShowGuider. The DAFZA has many issues on site which ShowGuider will help to alleviate. Dr Klepal gives the example of traffic congestion.

A traffic monitoring feature will integrate high quality CCTV internet protocol cameras, which have been custom developed by ShowGuider for inclusion in the system. These will be key to solving the major traffic congestion problem for the Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority.

The ShowGuider system is designed to integrate seamlessly with the existing DAFZA app and will include a sophisticated back-end content management system (CMS) to facilitate instant onsite updating.

The system is being developed using ShowGuider’s MapUme positioning solution which can either run independently on mobile devices or be driven by ShowGuider’s own cloud-based platform.

Dr Klepal continues: “There is an issue with traffic at the site. It is a very a hot topic for the DAFZA. It is a big site and, let’s say, most people finish work at four o’clock in the afternoon - they have only two entrances! So one of the requirements in the contract was to make the app aware of the traffic situation and send this data back to the user.”

The CIT-based ShowGuider team achieved an international reputation for excellence when its MapUme system won first place in the ‘infrastructure-free’ category at the 2014 Microsoft International Indoor Positioning Competition in Berlin.

Dr Klepal says: “The advantage of ShowGuider is that we have developed everything in-house from the bottom-up. All the components we need for 3D modelling and for visualising the model on the phone is worked on in-house. We have a drawing tool which allows us to build the 3D model with ease. When we go to a site, we can take images with a camera of the site to get an impression. It’s not about making it look gimmicky, but making it look professional.”

“Logos can be placed around on the floors to make it very contextualised. If you are walking around the site with your phone, the app will show you where you are and these are the companies you have around you. The phone is giving you all this information in this contextualised way.

“Once you tap on the logo then it will tell you about the company, take you to the latest of its products, contact details, and other info. So all the info will be in one simple place. While the 3D modelling is one part of it, the important part is the data and info on the app,” he says. ShowGuider is another innovative Cork company making a splash abroad.

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