Untapped Potential in Mobile Apps – The “Intelligent” Airport
On the go travelers are among the most stressed out people in busy airports. They want nothing more than to stay connected at all times, and have travel information at their fingertips in a jiffy.
Thanks to the revolution brought about by Smartphones, passengers are better connected than ever. This presents a unique opportunity to airports everywhere to offer unique tech-based amenities to enhance the overall travel experience for today’s connected travelers.
A fully smart airport has the potential to be a complete game changer, and as far as mobile apps go, this is an industry where a lot of untapped potential lies.
Just imagine the possibilities with airport apps that let passengers:
- Get ALL travel-related info on their Smartphones from the time they arrive at the airport to the final moments as they board their planes. Stress and anxiety levels plummet as passengers would always be a few steps ahead in terms of flight arrival/departure time, confirmation of their luggage being safely loaded and unloaded on/off the flight, the most direct path to their gate etc.
- Instantly know if the window to arrive at the gate is getting narrower. If they happen to miss their boarding, advanced analytics can always let them know boarding is not possible, and they are automatically rebooked to another flight, along with their luggage.
- Enjoy significantly reduced wait times at checkpoints – real-time data that manages deployment of resources so that possible bottlenecks can be avoided.
What we can safely cross off our checklist is the fact that travelers really do want live information feeds to help them search for the best flights, look up baggage status and generally make the entire trip smoother as well as virtually stress-free. The majority of travelers crave technology that makes traveling quicker, safer, more efficient, fun and hassle-free.
Some Note-worthy Developments
Even though the whole “smart airport at your fingertips” concept is still relatively new, some airports have already taken notable strides to make traveling a truly tech-rich and innovative experience.
Some US airports are making use of Smartphones to improve the overall service experience. At the Dallas Fort Worth airports for instance, QR codes can be found in restrooms, which allows passengers to scan those codes and notify the airport maintenance staff if anything needs fixing.
The London City Airport is another example – a project utilizing M2M (machine to machine) communications is underway to manage travel patterns around the airport. This can help in foreseeing problems before they occur and providing passengers with several options in order to help them travel with little to no hiccups.
Long queues can be prevented through a facial recognition program, which can also be used to track passenger movements and their baggage. If passengers happen to miss their flight, their baggage won’t be loaded.
The possibilities don’t end here: passengers could order their pre-flight meal online from their favorite airport app and have it delivered to the waiting lounge area. Retailers could even track these ordering preferences and offer passengers personalized meals or ads.
Enter the Beacon
One of the latest and most talked about innovations in the industry is iBeacons. Introduced by Apple at the time iOS 7 was being rolled out, this technology uses low frequency Bluetooth signals along with geofencing to prompt location-relevant data on your Smartphone, only under an ideal set of circumstances.
Beacons have high potential to work with most communication technologies such as push notifications and Wi-Fi, and boast several beneficial characteristics. What does this spell out in terms of practical application? When used with mobile apps, deployment of these iBeacons at airports may very well lead to a highly cost-effective way of sending notifications to travelers and guiding them around the airport.
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