As passengers, we typically see the shiny new technology that provides automated check-in kiosks, real-time luggage tracking or yet another mobile app that allows travelers to manage their customer experience. Meanwhile, Airline tech has a bad reputation which is notoriously caused by adding new reservations systems on top of legacy technology.
Whether it’s British Airways, Southwest Airlines, or Delta, all these tales have the same ending. The pressures of 24-hour uptime while continuously adding new solutions are already well documented, but what about the airports? How can they better manage the increasing number of frequent flyers entering their departure and arrival areas?
From the moment that you enter the perimeter of an airport, there is a myriad of tech devices increasingly being used to monitor movement, capacity and wait time. Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR), 3D cameras, people counters, Bluetooth sensors and even the ubiquitous free WiFi are all ingredients needed for a secret sauce to deliver a smooth customer experience.
Danish IoT company Blip Systems is at the heart of these optimization efforts in over 25 international airports. Queue times, shopping time per flight, dwell times or even auto-profiling passenger behavior from the entrance to a gate are all achieved by joining together passenger touch points.
Airports currently using Blip Systems include Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, JFK Airport in New York, Manchester, Birmingham, Dublin, Brussels, Geneva, San Diego and Edinburgh. Real-time visibility of the customer experience is proving invaluable to managing critical stress points and ensuring the increasing expectations of tech-savvy customers.
The BlipTrack solution starts with the strategic placement of sensors at critical pain points alongside roads, travel networks, and crowded public places. These sensors will then detect Bluetooth or WiFi devices, including smartphones and even in-car audio and communication systems.
These same devices are then re-identified along their journey. By capturing real-time data, teams can accurately measure movement patterns along with travel and waiting times during the entire customer experience. But does it work? Or is it just another tech solution that fails to deliver the elusive ROI?
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) is a success story that is probably hidden under most people’s tech radar. After investigating how they could better manage the seven million passengers passing through this international transport hub, they turned to BlipTrack for assistance.
It quickly became apparent that the answers to most of their problems were hiding in their live data. Understanding this information enabled them to identify delays at the security checkpoint and use staff and resources more efficiently.
After one year of use, the airport these tiny sensors were responsible for successfully reducing TSA security line wait times by one third.
Our use of the technology has proven quite successful. It has enabled CVG to continue our close collaboration with TSA to ensure that the passenger experience is one that enhances the journey experience not detracts from it. – Candace McGraw, CEO at CVG.
However, when I spoke to Christian Carstens, Marketing Manager at BLIP Systems he was quick to highlight how BlipTrack’s technology is not confined to international airports. Busy train stations have also embraced the technology along with ports, ski resorts, amusement parks and at events all over the world where crowd management and security are paramount.
Understanding every touch point of the customer journey is crucial to solving visitors biggest frustrations. By finally uniting all the data gained from obtaining a car park ticket, the check-in process and scanning your boarding pass at security, they are providing airports and venues with the bigger picture they have been searching for.
As the data revolution gathers pace and businesses wake up to the power of gathering information, maybe its time to admit that siloed data is the cause of our biggest frustrations.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author’s own and not necessarily shared by TNW.