New Gold. Unlock the Power of Your Wayfinding Data

”If AI is the wild west… does that make data the new gold?”
”If AI is the wild west… does that make data the new gold?”

”If AI is the wild west… does that make data the new gold?”

Matthew McConaughey poses this rhetorical question in a recent Salesforce commercial. While he has a much more famous catchphrase, the phrase "Data is the new gold" is a sentiment that's been gaining traction in business communities. The ad leaves us with the assertion: "Your data is your data. Your data is not our product."

Just as gold was a prized and coveted resource in bygone eras, data has taken centre stage in our information-centric society. Those who can effectively collect, analyze, and act on data enjoy significant advantages.

But what does this have to do with wayfinding and signage?

Wayfinding, by definition, is the process of navigating to a destination. As Maui says to Moana in the Disney film: “It’s called wayfinding, Princess… It’s seeing where you’re going in your mind. Knowing where you are by knowing where you’ve been.”

A vintage star map with constellations and zodiac signs, beautifully aged and detailed old scroll, displayed on a wooden surface

Since the dawn of civilization, wayfinding has been about data touch points: the position of the stars relative to the horizon, wind patterns, physical landmarks — often memorized and passed down through oral tradition. When we undertake to find our way, we are, as individuals, collecting, analyzing, and acting on data.

Modern organizational wayfinding is built on the same foundation: data points.

In the built environment, our destinations and the methods we use to get there are all human-influenced and engineered. Our navigation methods have been intentionally planned and designed by experts; this is all driven by data.

Wayfinding design firms are commissioned to plan navigational strategies for indoor and outdoor environments. They consider the information that needs to be shared and decide on the best delivery mechanisms, methods, and locations — usually signs. Sign fabricators are hired to convert that information into manufactured and installed signs. Those processes and activities, too, are data-driven.

”SignAgent is a B2B software platform that sign designers and builders increasingly use to deliver their services. The key question is: “What happens to the data when all the work is done?”

In the past, a wayfinding design firm might provide a printed sign standards manual. This was a physical book containing the specifications for all the sign types that might be used in the project. When signs needed to be replaced or repaired, the facility owner could consult the manual and then relay the information to the maintenance team. But this was time-consuming and prone to errors. Information in a printed book is not easily accessible. There's power in the information, but trapped inside the pages of a book, it's dead data.

This is why we encourage our design and build clients to introduce their clients to SignAgent and encourage them to take ownership of it. Their sign database contains comprehensive information about their signs:

  • Where each sign is located
  • What each sign says
  • Production files
  • Manufacturing and installation specifications
  • Braille translations (where applicable)
  • Sign costs
  • Colour schemes, fonts, and layouts

When maintenance and upkeep are needed, the facility operator doesn’t need to contact the designer or the builder to access the sign information. When budgeting for maintenance or capital expenditures related to signage, they have the details they need at their fingertips to make informed decisions. Most importantly, when new projects are launched, they don’t need to start from scratch. They can use the information in their database to get started, without the need to reinvent the wheel.

Organizations that want to effectively utilize their “new gold” need to invest in good data wayfinding practices. Doing so ensures that their employees and decision-makers can quickly and easily find the data they need to propel their organization forward.

If you manage a large facility, don't let your data become "dead data." Unlock the power of your wayfinding data. Contact us today to learn more about how SignAgent can help you maximize your data potential!