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9 Use Cases for Indoor Positioning at an Airport

Aug 12, 2021

9 min read

By: Sofia Spagnuolo

Indoor positioning systems are upgrading the way that passengers and employees navigate through an airport. Airports are large and complex venues that can create confusion for visitors. Indoor positioning systems can minimize this stress and create an easy and efficient airport experience, whether it be for the benefit of travellers or employees working within the venue. Here are some ways indoor positioning can be used to deliver an enhanced and unique airport experience.

1. Intuitive Wayfinding 

Turn-by-Turn Directions

Navigating through a congested airport can create anxiety and stress, particularly when travellers are in a time crunch for a flight departure. With intuitive wayfinding systems, passengers and employees can get turn-by-turn directions from their exact location to any point of interest on the 3D digital map. Indoor positioning systems show users their current location among airport amenities and calculate the fastest route to their destination in real-time.

Passengers can plan their trip to the airport based on the amount of time it takes to get to security checkpoints, a boarding gate and other important airport checkpoints. Smart Search can help travellers discover more around the airport by allowing users to search for keywords to receive a list of amenities or other locations. For example, a traveller can search “perfume” and be directed to a list of duty-free shops that are selling perfume and even receive information on deals and discounts. 

Personalized Journey

People within an airport have different intentions, whether they are arriving or departing, or taking international or domestic travel. Because of these different intentions, individual routes may look different from others. For example, an employee map would look different from a traveller map as employees have access to certain sections of the airport used for equipment, storage, luggage, and more. Indoor positioning systems can be integrated into a 3D map along with passenger data to create a personalized journey. By accounting for visitor intent, the 3D map can instruct travellers to the best parking location and the most optimized route that hits all security checkpoints. Syncing data with airport maps allow for personalized messages, such as flight time, gate changes, security and baggage wait times, and more. 

A personalized journey can also account for accessible routes for those who need to be directed to an elevator, indoor shuttles, wheelchairs and more. Indoor navigation systems can be set to operate with voice commands or written instructions for those who are visually or hearing impaired. When turning on Accessibility Mode, travellers can experience a personalized route that accommodates their needs. Arrivals and departures come from all over the world, and indoor navigation systems can accommodate many available languages and RTL text support to serve all individuals. 

2. Mobile Application

Our world is continuously creating new advances in technology, like the rise of digital stadium tickets and concert QR codes. Airports can use this same idea of digital tickets for boarding passes. A mobile application can use indoor positioning systems to easily display boarding passes on a passenger’s handheld device at convenient times. When using an indoor positioning system, passengers can navigate through the airport and their smartphone will automatically display a mobile boarding pass when entering key touch points such as check-in, bag drop, passport control, and departure gates.

A mobile application can automatically display the necessary information to make passengers’ lives easier, instead of spending time searching through their devices or on-hand paperwork. A mobile application can keep all data and services in one centralized location with access to indoor maps and wayfinding that are the same on an airport website or directory, keeping a consistent and seamless mapping experience no matter the platform.  

3. Reclaiming Baggage

Baggage claim is the last step before finally making it home. With indoor positioning systems, passengers arriving at an airport would be able to receive a notification that directs them to the carousel in which their baggage will arrive. Indoor positioning systems can also track wait times on baggage arrivals so you can explore the airport while waiting for your luggage. Indoor positioning systems are able to tag luggage so travellers can see how long their baggage will take to arrive. This will clear up space by the conveyor belt, allowing travellers to grab their baggage easily without congestion. 

4. Airport Security

Indoor positioning systems can be used to ensure security details are spread out appropriately to cover all areas. A “panic button” can be implemented into indoor navigation systems to set off an alert notifying security of a user’s exact position to find them immediately. Another indoor positioning tool that security can use is a “man-down” alert that notifies security when a person has suffered a fall from an accident or by fainting.

These technologies can be life-saving as they ensure individuals get the help they need as fast as possible. Airport security can be increased by providing urgent alerts with turn-by-turn directions to evacuate the building in the event of an emergency. Indoor positioning systems can also track occupancy levels during a mass evacuation to ensure no one is left behind in the building.  

5. Data-Driven Space Planning 

Airports can use 3D digital indoor maps to highlight attractions, such as retailers, food courts, restaurants, and airport lounges, while seeing the logistics of the spatial layout of amenities. Insights and analytics provided by indoor positioning data can be used to redesign the layout of their airport to avoid overcrowding. Airports can see which amenities on the map are the most popular and make sure they are in the most optimal location.

Airports can also view missed searches on the map to see what people are looking for and consider adding it to the venue to increase revenue and foot traffic. Heat maps and foot traffic analysis can provide useful information that can lead to new services, more walkways, alternative routes to and balance congestion. These changes can be made seamlessly with a Map Editor platform, where airports can redesign their layout in a draft mode to see which spacing is the most suitable for their venue. 

6. Proximity Messaging

Airports can use indoor positioning systems for proximity marketing, which can drive foot traffic to amenities within the airport by sending customers mobile marketing messages, such as coupons, loyalty offers, and more as they approach various retailers. Indoor positioning systems can allow travellers to review services, menus, promotions, and prices before they reach desired vendors, so they can ensure they have all the information they need upon arrival.

Proximity marketing also can drive sales of specialty services, such as duty-free products, seat upgrades, and first-class services. As a traveller navigates through the airport, they can be presented with flyers to redeem duty-free coupons before boarding the plane, ensuring they get the best bang for their buck. In the event of a flight delay, proximity messaging can be used to notify passengers, and airlines can even send coupons, such as a free meal, to those waiting to board. This can help ensure that everyone has the most optimized experience, even when dealing with a frustrating delay.

7. Asset Tracking 

Employees need to work using the most efficient routes possible to avoid delays and execute an accurate and safe airport experience. Asset tracking is essential in airports as employees are constantly maneuvering to various airport zones to hunt down equipment such as pallet dollies, baggage trolleys, container trailers and ramp leaders. Airports can eliminate bottlenecks in human resources and disruptions in workflows when using indoor positioning systems to create location-based management. Airports can monitor staff carts to make sure key duties, such as maintenance and housekeeping, have been completed in the proper areas.

Indoor positioning can also be used for authorization or prohibition in different areas to ensure the safety of all employees. Automatic geolocated notifications can be implemented within indoor navigation technology to remind employees of tasks when entering a certain area. Asset tracking can be used by employees to alert others if a piece of equipment needs to be fixed due to damages. For example, employees can locate assets on the indoor map and add a repair request that will be immediately sent to technicians. A notification can also be sent out to all employees notifying them of the damaged equipment to avoid usage. 

8. Shuttle Services

After arriving at your destination, the travel experience is still not over as you need to get to your hotel. Shuttle services can be confusing when arriving at an unfamiliar airport, but a successful travel experience includes a seamless connection to transfers from the airport to the hotel. While passengers claim their luggage, they can be directed to shuttle services and easily navigate their way directly to the right car or bus. Indoor positioning systems can be used to direct users to their exact bus instead of having to find a guide to tell you where to go. Indoor positioning systems eliminate leaving without someone in your party and can also allow employees to see wait times if a party is running behind due to a flight or baggage delay. 

9. Location Sharing

Indoor positioning systems can allow for location sharing between individuals. Location sharing can benefit individuals in an airport who want to see where their friends, families, and colleagues are. Users can send their exact location in real-time with turn-by-turn directions on how to get there. This can account for tracking children to avoid a “Home Alone” situation. If Kevin’s family had used an indoor navigation system, their trip could have gone smoothly and avoided a lot of stress from concerned parents. 

Location sharing can also be beneficial in the event of a large group travelling together, such as a school trip. Teachers need to keep track of students to ensure no one gets left behind. Along with calling names from an attendance list, teachers and supervisors can use indoor positioning systems to see a student’s whereabouts as they navigate through the airport, keeping all students safe and ensuring they get on their flight.

Airports can optimize passenger flow and increase customer satisfaction by implementing indoor positioning systems. Beyond just travellers, even employees can benefit from increased productivity through equipment tracking and efficient path planning. To learn more about how you can optimize your airport, contact us or book a demo today.