Executive Briefings

London Airport Enables Proximity Apps With BLE Beacons

London's Gatwick Airport has installed 2,000 Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons across its two terminals to help passengers navigate their way to flights, as well as receive push notifications. The beacon system, known as the "indoor blue dot," was provided by Pointr Labs.

The solution is live now, but it is likely to be a few months before any apps deploy functionality that employees and passengers can use. The goal is for numerous apps to be built to use the proximity-based data, including by the airport, airlines and stores.

Gatwick Airport is one of four major international airports serving the London area. In 2016, 43.2 million passengers traveled through the facility — a number up by 7.1 percent compared to the year prior. In late 2015, the airport launched its Community App to help employees communicate with each other and to view flight details. However, neither this app nor any customer-facing airline apps had used technology for proximity detection.

Gatwick Airport is now working with app developers to incorporate the beacon data into the airports apps, as well as those of other companies at the airport, says Abhi Chacko, Gatwick's head of IT for commercial and innovation. App developers use Pointr Labs' software development kit (SDK) to build the beacon functionality into their own apps.

What functionality gets delivered to end users will depend on those developing the apps, Chacko says. For instance, he adds, in the case of an airline, "They could show the route to departure gate, if the boarding pass information is already available in the app." Vendors, in the meantime, could provide offers or coupons to passenger as they pass stores.

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The solution is live now, but it is likely to be a few months before any apps deploy functionality that employees and passengers can use. The goal is for numerous apps to be built to use the proximity-based data, including by the airport, airlines and stores.

Gatwick Airport is one of four major international airports serving the London area. In 2016, 43.2 million passengers traveled through the facility — a number up by 7.1 percent compared to the year prior. In late 2015, the airport launched its Community App to help employees communicate with each other and to view flight details. However, neither this app nor any customer-facing airline apps had used technology for proximity detection.

Gatwick Airport is now working with app developers to incorporate the beacon data into the airports apps, as well as those of other companies at the airport, says Abhi Chacko, Gatwick's head of IT for commercial and innovation. App developers use Pointr Labs' software development kit (SDK) to build the beacon functionality into their own apps.

What functionality gets delivered to end users will depend on those developing the apps, Chacko says. For instance, he adds, in the case of an airline, "They could show the route to departure gate, if the boarding pass information is already available in the app." Vendors, in the meantime, could provide offers or coupons to passenger as they pass stores.

Read Full Article