Tech tracks waiting times – as well as passengers themselves
Passengers are increasingly connected as they travel, empowered by smartphones. On average, air travellers carry more personal devices than the general population, and airports are responding to these trends.
Passengers at airports will soon have all the travel information they need via a mobile device, reducing the stress of travel. Airlines and other service providers will know passengers’ location and those not at the gate can be reminded on their phones, ensuring flights depart on time.
“The rise of self-service and the growing impact of trends like big data, business intelligence, analytics, cloud and, of course, mobility, are making the ‘always-connected’ traveller a reality,” says Francesco Violante, chief executive of SITA, which recently issued a report, The Intelligent Airport.
Some forward-looking airports have come up with innovative services such as real-time waiting times as Bluetooth technology measures the time passengers have to wait.
Mobile technology can improve service quality at Phoenix Sky Harbor and Dallas Fort Worth airports, where QR codes are posted in restrooms so customers to scan the codes to tell staff if they need extra cleaning or fixing.
London City Airport has started a project that uses communications to measure, monitor and manage passenger journeys through the airport, anticipating problems before they happen. Face recognition software tells staff where passengers are and predicts queues. Passengers can pre-order food and have it delivered when they arrive at the departure lounge.
Beacons – technology that senses passengers’ locations and movements via their phones, are being deployed at airports as a low-cost way to send notifications and guiding. SITA is working with Copenhagen Airport on a trial where beacons trigger the airport’s app on the passenger’s phone, to which the user can then subscribe.
[pictured: The Social Tree, Singapore’s Changi Airport]