About SoleWay

SoleWay is a Software as a Service that offers simple indoor navigation and wayfinding capabilities mainly through textual instructions. By avoiding the need for expensive technologies, we can offer a business model that revolves around two key principles: ease of use for the end-users and low implementation cost for our customers. Adopting our product in schools, hospitals, business parks, etc. solves the known frustration of knowing where to be, but not how to get there. Our users can easily request routing instructions through this website, a custom page or one of the many potential integrations.

1. The problem

Have you ever used GPS to find your way to some unknown location? Chances are you’re among billions of people who have. Let’s assume you’ve used GPS to get to your destination: a large office complex. You’re at the entrance and need to find the office of the person you’re meeting. There’s one big problem though: it appears that said building facilitates several organizations and there is no information desk present near the entrance. What do you do?

Digital navigation and wayfinding have become increasingly popular these past two decades. The release of GPS to the public has allowed us to develop technology which renders physical maps obsolete. Nearly all smartphones now have GPS capabilities built in, and most vehicles also contain either an integrated GPS or a stand-alone device with identical capabilities. GPS, however, is only accurate in open spaces where the signals originating from satellites in geosynchronous orbit are not influenced by reflective or absorbing materials. A great example of where RF-signals fail to be accurate is in buildings: such radio waves often fail to penetrate several meters of concrete and isolating materials, especially in buildings containing several floors. Even with modern developments of GPS, this remains a big issue.

Several alternatives for indoor localization exist (acoustic, magnetically, graphical recognition, RF, …) but all of those methods are expensive and often require sensors, power sources, maintenance and redundancy. Deploying them in large buildings will quickly set you back several tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of Euros.

2. So, why SoleWay?

SoleWay solves the problem of not being able to find your way in a building without the need for expensive and sophisticated technology. It does not require any technology except for a device with network capabilities (such as a smartphone, tablet, computer or smartwatch). Our platform takes a step back from the highly-sophisticated and technological approach most organizations

SoleWay is a unique solution because:

  • free : the core platform can be used free of charge

  • extendible : premium functionality available on demand

  • user friendly : easy to create routes

  • efficient : a route can be created within seconds

  • mobile friendly : usable on any computer, smartphone or tablet

  • intuitive : only showing routes in your proximity

  • flexible : decide on how so structure your route descriptions according to self defined policies

  • simple : no (expensive) hardware needed

  • crowdsourced : the platform is powered by a vast community

3. History

The core concept behind SoleWay was generated by Prof. Dr. Nico Van de Weghe at Ghent University in 2015. Development started that same year under the name of ‘Ciao! : Crowdsourced Indoor Assistance’ using funding from the Geography department, but was later renamed to SoleWay back in January of 2016. This department has a strong reputation regarding navigation, including space-model algorithms to calculate routes, localization techniques, location based services and route instructions. SoleWay v1.0 was released in June of 2016.

4. Mission Statement

We strive to provide a simple and straightforward service to our clients which will help personnel and customers to easily find their way indoors.

5. Vision Statement

Using SoleWay, we want to conquer the world and provide simple indoor wayfinding everywhere on Earth. We strongly believe our business model is viable and accessible to nearly everyone. As SoleWay popularity increases, we would like to keep encouraging people to create and maintain routes. To do this, we will develop an alluring community programme and provide users with appropriate tools to efficiently manage these routes. In the end, it’s this community that will drive our success and should thus not neglect its significance. Furthermore, working toward global SoleWay integrations is a top priority. Since accessibility is one of our core values, the platform should be reachable from several origin points, both physical (through signs and human interaction) and digital (e.g. calendars, event pages, websites, …).

We are also convinced that technology will play a crucial role in the areas of mobility, navigation and wayfinding. We aim to constantly research and develop efficient methods to aid in that regard.

6. Cooperation

Please reach out to us at soleway.support@UGent.be for business related inquiries.