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The Importance of an Indoor Navigation System for Airports

Aug 9, 2021

8 min read

By: Sofia Spagnuolo

Indoor Positioning & Indoor Wayfinding

High levels of anxiety are common in an airport as many people are rushing to meet their departure time while trying to navigate their way through the airport. This stress can be minimized when utilizing advanced technology. With indoor positioning and indoor wayfinding technology, passengers can receive a personalized journey with turn-by-turn guidance from the moment they park their car to the second they arrive at their gate. Indoor navigation systems can go beyond simple directions when implementing other technologies that enhance the passenger and employee airport experience. It is important to utilize indoor navigation in airports as it can increase efficiency and drive foot traffic.

Here are 9 key reasons that highlight the importance of implementing indoor navigation systems into airports. 

  1. Access to travel information

  2. Parking

  3. Accessibility

  4. Push notifications

  5. Marketing and advertising

  6. Data syncs

  7. Asset tracking 

  8. Location sharing 

  9. Insights and analytics 

1. Access to Travel Information

While travelling through the airport, keeping track of important information can be a hassle. With indoor navigation systems, passengers can obtain turn-by-turn directions to any point of interest on the map such as security checkpoints, duty-free shops, restaurants, and more. Travellers can use intuitive smart search to ensure they can find what they need, even if they don’t know what exactly they are looking for. For example, a visitor can search “food” and be provided with a list of nearby restaurants and snack areas with detailed information on hours of operation, menus, deals and promotions and more. 

Beyond turn-by-turn navigation, an airport can provide real-time information about flight numbers and schedules. This allows passengers to easily access the information they need when travelling through the airport, all from their handheld mobile devices. Indoor navigation features such as Mobile Pass allow the company to distribute QR codes on airplane tickets or email confirmations so travellers can get directions on hand, on the go. An airport can even set up Mobile Pass to prepopulate directions to a specified location, making it effortless for travellers to find their desired destination. 

2. Parking

Whether driving, taking a cab or getting dropped off, transportation is an important factor when heading to the airport. An airport is a large venue and therefore, travellers need to park at an optimal location to ensure they do not have to travel across the entire building to get to their check-in desk. With 3D indoor maps, users can see which parking lot is ideal and closest to their desired destination.

An airport can integrate positioning technology to allow users to see occupancy levels in real-time to better assess where to park their vehicles. By integrating parking technology within the airport map, users can pay directly through their phone and immediately receive a route that leads indoors. This reduces unnecessary travel time when carrying heavy baggage through the airport.

3. Accessibility

An indoor navigation system such as Mappedin’s can accommodate all individuals by making indoor mapping accessible and attainable. Indoor navigation systems can operate with voice commands or written instructions for those who are visually or hearing impaired. Multi-floor navigation is common in airports, and those who require elevators, for example, individuals who are bound to a wheelchair or a family with a stroller, can turn on Accessibility Mode to be directed to elevators, avoiding routes with escalators and stairs. Accessibility Mode makes indoor navigation a convenient experience for all. 

Domestic and international arrivals and departures create a diverse atmosphere. Mappedin’s indoor navigation system is multilingual with RTL text support to accommodate all languages of individuals arriving and departing. With incoming travellers from across the globe, some individuals may not have access to data or WiFi. Mappedin’s maps are accessible and can operate offline with no connection, to ensure all users can obtain directions and vital information. 

4. Push Notifications

As passengers are waiting for their departure time, it is common to shop and explore the airport. Instead of worrying about when to head back to your gate, airports can send punctuality notifications such as, “You are 5 minutes away from your gate. To start making your way over, click here for directions.” Push notifications can also update passengers if there is a delay in departure or if there is a gate change. Airports can provide a route to the new boarding gate to keep travellers informed at all times. This can allow passengers to spend their time accordingly, and help them to understand if they have enough time to eat at a restaurant or browse a store. 

5. Marketing & Advertising

Personalized Offers

Indoor navigation systems can utilize proximity marketing to promote deals and discounts and drive foot traffic to stores and restaurants. Easy access to these promotions can create customer loyalty and increase non-aeronautical revenue by sending relevant notifications to visitors while they browse duty-free stores or enter a restaurant. Customers can save time waiting in checkout lines so that more time can be allocated towards shopping and preparing for take-off. Passengers can shop calmly and enjoy products and services with the comfort of knowing travel times and flight updates.

Digital Out of Home (DOOH) Advertising

An airport can use an indoor navigation system to promote advertisements. Digital Directories can be implemented across an airport at key locations such as boarding entrances, so travellers can receive directions immediately upon arrival. These directories can also display advertisements when the screen is not in use. This can allow airports to create targeted ads for specific audiences to drive additional revenue. Airports can sell and schedule ad placements directly for special campaigns. With directory ads, you can bring digital out-of-home advertising to all screens throughout the building and add an additional stream of revenue to maximize the potential of your airport.

6. Data Syncs

An airport can use technology to account for detailed traveller information, such as if a passenger is arriving or departing, and whether they are a domestic or international traveller. By acknowledging this data, an indoor positioning system can direct visitors accordingly, taking them down routes that avoid employee-only areas and ensuring travellers go through the necessary security checkpoints. 

Because of the large layout of an airport, an employee map may look different from a visitor map, as employees have access to employee-only hallways, storage rooms, and other blocked-off areas. An indoor navigation system needs to know a user’s intention at the airport in order to direct them accordingly. An indoor navigation system can store this data and allow management to pull this information when needed, for example, to reroute a passenger to their new boarding gate. 

7. Asset Tracking

Indoor navigation can help employees locate assets around the airport. Employees can monitor equipment and ensure trolleys, wheelchairs, and more are spread around the venue and available for travellers at peak times. Employees can use indoor positioning technology integrated with geofencing to set movement parameters and alert management if an asset is moved outside its designated zone. Alerts can be set if an asset’s position is somewhere unspecified or if an employee without authorization attempts to use a piece of equipment.

Airport management systems can track if an asset hasn’t been used in a long period of time to move its placement to a more optimal location, while also tracking an equipment’s usage to gauge the required maintenance of each item. Management can get a real-time birds-eye view of people and assets in the airport to allocate resources accordingly. For example, airports can coordinate security personnel to ensure all areas are covered and ensure visitors’ safety at all times.  

8. Location Sharing 

Indoor positioning technologies can allow for location sharing between mobile devices. Location sharing can be reassuring in an airport and useful in an event where employees want to track unaccompanied minors travelling alone to ensure their safety. Having location sharing as an option creates an extra sense of security when travelling alone. An airport can allow visitors or employees to share their real-time location with others in the venue, allowing friends and family to find each other effortlessly. Users can even call for assistance and staff will simultaneously receive the request with directions to a user’s exact location, creating a stress-free way to ask for help.

9. Insights & Analytics

Indoor navigation technologies can provide handy insights and analytics for airports to see areas that could benefit from changes. Airports can analyze passenger flow to optimize journey routes and reduce wasted travel time, ensuring more people can catch their flights on time. Airports can optimize passenger flow from location-based analytics by viewing chaotic and congested areas, creating better visibility of the airport and allowing managers to take action.

Indoor navigation insights can be used for tracking how long travellers spend at certain points of interest to redesign the airport accordingly. These insights can predict peaks of passenger numbers based on the analysis of historical data. Location data can also be used to increase employee efficiency. Facility managers can monitor how frequently cleaning occurs and also for tracking an employee’s journey throughout the airport to see if there is a more optimized work path.

Airports are large venues and it can be difficult to ensure everything is running smoothly. With an indoor navigation system, airports can oversee passengers and operations to create an efficient and optimized airport experience for everyone. To learn more about the importance of indoor navigation technologies for airports, contact us.