By Doug O’Neill
There was a time, half a decade or more ago, that the Toronto-based start-up Jibestream was mostly known for helping people navigate large indoor spaces, such as mammoth airports and sprawling shopping complexes. The company’s mapping technology excelled at helping people get from Point A to Point B in such places. Today, however, the Toronto company’s leading indoor mapping and location platform is changing the way consumers and large companies engage with – not merely navigate – large indoor spaces such as corporate headquarters, hospitals, education centres and army bases.
Says CEO and co-founder Chris Wiegand, “Jibestream helps enterprise organizations develop IoT-driven, indoor maps that can support increasingly advanced capabilities from indoor navigation to asset tracking, spatial business intelligence and beyond.”
As Wiegand explains, “Consider the potential of Jibestream’s mapping platform in a hospital situation. It’s not just about helping a visitor find their way from reception to a relative’s room in a wing on the other side of a sprawling hospital complex. Our technology also helps hospitals improve their asset tracking. Take the case of infusion pumps or wheelchairs. It’s not enough for us to just set up a system that pinpoints the locations of vital medical equipment within a hospital. To provide the hospital client with the best return-on-investment solution, our mapping platform syncs up with their own databases to enable staff, in a situation of need, to not only locate an infusion pump or wheelchair for instance, but to provide additional vital information: is that piece of equipment in good working condition? Is it available at that given moment? Is someone else waiting to use that piece of equipment? Where else in that huge hospital can a staff person find a specific piece of equipment?”
“Our world is waking up to the fact that 80 per cent of data has some spatial context in terms of organization,” explains Wiegand. “Maps, because they can provide a visualization layer of any data, are at the centre of solving critical challenges to many different kinds of organizations. With Jibestream, you have the flexibility and control to create tailored solutions that integrate with any third party systems and data. We break maps down into objects and layers which can display all kinds of assets, whether they’re parking spots, hardware, software or personnel. That kind of instant big-picture view helps large organizations reduce wasted time and energies – and sometimes save millions of dollars.”
While many of Jibestream’s clients are outside Canada, Wiegand says Toronto’s pool of high-quality expertise is one of the main benefits of setting up business here. He’s also quick to acknowledge the access to peer networks for entrepreneurs, innovators – and especially for CEOs: “When you first start a company, you sometimes think you don’t have time to join peer groups. But that’s actually where you can share your mistakes and learn from other executives in the same situation. It’s a little like CEO therapy – in which you learn you’re not alone. I was in my senior role for about three years before I carved out time to join one of these peer groups – something I wished I’d done much sooner.”
Wiegand has learned many other valuable lessons which he’s always eager to share with budding entrepreneurs and start-up innovators: “Choose your partners on all levels very carefully. You want team-members you can trust and with whom you work well. Imagine yourself as the head of a huge company and ask yourself a number of questions: Who are the partners? What are the processes? Who are the people you want to be working with in five or ten years? Then work backward from that scenario. Identify what kind of organization you want to create and head in that direction.” Fitting advice from someone who’s an expert at navigating!
Photo credit Zlatko Cetinic, Images Made Real