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Lagardere wanted to enter and build a mobile media business in North America, but had no branded content or leverage to gain the crucial positioning on the wireless carriers storefronts.  What to do?

Lagardere is a huge media business - 7th largest in the world at the time - and a successful direct-to-consumer mobile business with "Premium SMS".   But Premium SMS was unknown and generally discouraged by the wireless carriers in North America and Lagardere had no branded content that had recognition and appeal here.

So we had to get creative.


The Problem


Do you remember the the time before the iPhone?!   In 2004, we lived in a world of smartphones with restricted media capabilities and even more restricted storefronts for users from which users could browse and select content.   While it was possible to browse and get content from the Internet, it was a bad UX so nobody did.    But users loved to shop for things like ringtones, wallpapers and mobile games through their phones menu.

The Wireless Carrier Deck


These mobile storefronts - called "the Decks"  - were ruled by the wireless carriers, and unless you were at the top of these lists and featured to users, you could forget about having a mobile content business.​   Lagardere, however, did not have record labels, movie and game studios and the like with branded content that consumers in North America would recognize, nor the marketing dollars behind them.   

The wireless carriers also heavily discouraged Premium SMS, which enabled the creators of mobile content and entertainment products to market to and directly convert consumers without having to go though 'the Deck.'.   This was the bread and butter for Lagardere's mobile business in Europe.  

​So, we had to come up with something new . . .

The Solution:  Blingtones!


Since we did not have branded content relevant to North American consumers, we needed to create some.  The key to this was understanding that: 

  1. while the Carrier Decks where a niche media marketplace, they were a huge niche - reaching over 200 million users; and

  2. the most active segment of this market was young people looking for ways to personalize their mobile phones and express themselves.

So, with the right content strategy and packaging, successful new lifestyle brands could be created on-the-fly.  

Getting an Anchor Brand

We needed at least one 'anchor brand' we could build around.   We came up with Lil Jon, top selling Rap and Hip Hop artist who popularized "Crunk Rap" and was a brand unto himself.    Just as importantly, he owned his NIL (Name, Image & Likeness) rights and was also a music producer.   We were able to sell him on the vision of a mobile lifestyle brand with creative freedom and royalties, producing original ringtones - and sometimes associated singles for release as downloads - with talented but new and unknown artists. 


Bringing Blingtones to Life

We needed at least one 'anchor brand' we could build around.   We came up with Lil Jon, top selling Rap and Hip Hop artist who popularized "Crunk Rap" and was a brand unto himself.    Just as importantly, he owned his NIL (Name, Image & Likeness) rights and was also a music producer.   We were able to sell him on the vision of a mobile lifestyle brand with creative freedom and royalties, producing original ringtones - and sometimes associated singles for release as downloads - with talented but new and unknown artists. 


Building the Business


I designed and then developed both the product and Go-to-Market strategy for MediNav that enabled us to pioneer and create a new space for Indoor Mapping & Navigation.  The key was to leverage the value, priority - and budgets - that healthcare networks were just start to place on "Patient Experience" - encapsulated in the new role of "Chief Patient Experience Officer" that many were hiring.  Key capabilities & value propositions included the following.


1. Indoor Mapping

We evaluated over multiple approaches including building own own platform, using Google Maps with custom javascript,  and over a dozen indoor (or generalized) mapping platform companies.   We ultimately selected Visioglobe, an indoor mapping platform partner with whom we worked closely to push the technology, process and & UX forward to meet the requirements of not just mapping,, but also crucially indoor navigation - a very demanding and different experience.

2.  Indoor Positioning 

This was a particularly thorny challenge, as the state of the art in 2013 with Enterprsie WiFi was positioning accuracy of over 10 - 15 meters (30 - 45 feet)  and refresh rates of no less than 30 seconds (and often minutes).   We piloted and collaborated closely with Cisco in this area for several years as they worked to improve and enhance what could be done with WiFi.

With the arrival of new standards and equipment for Bluetooth Low Energy Beacons at the end of 2013, we immediately spotted the potential of this technology and started real world testing and evaluating vendors,.  This lead to the a long and productive partnership with Polestar to push this technology forward not just for accuracy and refresh rates, but also how to deploy and manage it in massively scaled and complex buildings.

3.  User Expectations for Navigation  

Inevitably, users would compare their indoor navigation UX to what they experienced with Google or Apple outdoor navigation to get around the world.   That's a very high bar - as these companies have hundreds of engineers, massive revenue bases, and decades of technology evolution and experience with both GPS (which they did not have to deploy and manage) and outdoor mapping & navigation to build upon. 

To make things even harder:

  1. there is no systematic structure equivalent to roads & highways, exit numbers, towns/city destinations, etc. which an indoor navigation UX can leverage; 

  2. clear visual cues that can be quickly and easily recognized by a user while walking are often absent; and

  3. many big facilities have very large open spaces - lobbies, atriums and the like - right at the starting point for most journeys which are particularly challenging environments in which to orient and navigate the user.

4.  Business Model and GTM

​The product design and GTM strategy enabled us to solve the puzzle of both capital constraints and selling an unproven new product into the very risk-averse large enterprises that are major hospitals and healthcare networks.   We were able to leverage existing budgets for facilities with a new focus on Patient Experience - encapsulated at many organizations by the new role of Chief Patient Experience Officer - to sell in an innovative product that addressed one of the most important pain points of every customer arriving for an appointment.

5.  Capital Constraints

Solving that also helped greatly with the capiital constraints, as we were able to sell in long term contracts with up-front moneys for deployment.   ​We built the company & business and took it to exit with less then $3M equity capital over 7 years.

The Results


By solving all of these challenges, we were able to deliver the first true turn-by-turn indoor navigation that could guide end users through enormous, complex, maze-like buildings & facilities.   The All-Screens, Indoor + Outdoor capabilities, along with our Enterprise vision and roadmap also crucially positioned us to work with our clients are partners on a longer term roadmap, buying us crucial time as we worked out the technology challenges and processes to do this at a scale and complexity never attempted before. 

  • We launched MediNav in 2014, and over the next 5 years continually improved the product while signing clients such as the National Institutes of Health, Hackensack Meridian Health, New York Presbyterian Health System, UAB Medicine, Northwestern Medicine, Rush Healthcare and Baycare Health.   

  • Starting in 2016, we forged a strong partnership with Epic and tight integrations with their MyChart application to deliver measurable ROI to our customers in reducing missed and lost appointments, and improving Patient Experience ratings.

  • By 2018, we had established ourselves as the clear market leader, with over 35 healthcare network clients and 100+ sites deployed.

  • In 2019, Connexient was acquired by Everbridge, to expand its reach as well as apply this technology to emergency response & other critical operational needs in very large and complex facilities.


Connexient in the News

Follow this link for a sampling of media coverage and  customer videos of MediNav

MediNav Spotlight

A showcase of the key features of MediNav and how they address customer and user needs

Connexient and MediNav are now part of Everbridge's Digital Wayfinding Division.  You can learn and see more on the Everbridge Web site.


True Turn-by-Turn Indoor Navigation

Provides reliable indoor positioning accuracy of 1 to 2 meters, navigation cues, visual landmark references, off-route notification and more, without tracking personal or identifiable information, as patients and visitors move throughout the hospital campus.

Zone-based Alerts

Send targeted alerts to staff, patients and visitors within a certain area, providing informa­tion based on the user’s location, whether within or outside the hospital.


Meet Me Feature

Provides location-sharing and location-based analytics, enabling patients and visitors to connect on the hospital campus.

Multi-channel, multi-modal approach

Accounts for a wide-range of demographics and is available in a mobile version for both iOS (iPhone/iPad) and Android devices as well as a web version for desktop use and digital kiosks.


Parking Planner

Helps patients and visitors easily find a garage closest to their destination within the hospital, automatically detecting arrival in the garage, saving the parking location, and directing the user to the correct entrance based on the parking location.

Compatibility with Leading Infrastructures

Integrates with EHR systems and appointment scheduling apps. The solution’s location engine is compatible with all leading location infrastructures (Cisco, Centrak, Mist/Juniper, Siemens/Enlighted, HP/Aruba, etc.).

Responsible for rendering map, POIs, Routes and Navigation UX/UI


Integrating device position, managing zones, proximity actions and other location-based services


Data integration with our CMS, or using data from client CMSI


Reporting & analytics on user traffic flows, dwell time, behaviors, etc

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