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Hong Kong International Airport and SITA trial beacons for better passenger experience
Location: Hong Kong
16 June 2015

Hong Kong International Airport is leading the way in Asia Pacific with trials of beacons to provide key information directly to passengers’ mobile devices, to further improve their journey through the airport. SITA Lab, the technology research team for global IT provider SITA, has installed more than fifty beacons in Terminal 1 at Hong Kong International Airport for one of these innovative trials.

Beacon technology triggers the display of location-relevant information on devices at the right time and in the right situation. With beacons, airports and airlines can provide passengers with indoor directions, walk times to gates, lounge access and alerts about boarding. Knowing where a passenger is before sending information enables more effective communication.

During the trial at Hong Kong International Airport, SITA is using best-in-class interactive maps to guide passengers along typical pathways between public transport points, check-in counters, immigration, Automated People Mover, boarding/arrival gates and baggage claim areas. These user-friendly maps display key information on passengers’ mobile phones or tablets, and the time it will take to get to the gate. They also provide information about shops, restaurants and retail offers.

Ilya Gutlin, SITA President, Asia Pacific, said: “Hong Kong International Airport puts huge emphasis on the passenger experience. It is no surprise that it is one of the first airports in the region to work with our team at SITA Lab to adopt such an innovative approach to help passengers make the most of their time in the airport. As part of our community approach to help improve the industry, we frequently work with airports to trial new technology and innovations that help improve efficiency and enhance customer services.”

Beacons can help reduce congestion and bottlenecks, improving the passenger flow in airports by giving passengers accurate and timely information. In turn, that leads to smoother boarding and more on-time departures. Providing way-finding information also means that passengers know how long it will take to get to the gate, increasing the time they spend in the retail area, which is good news for the airport’s tenants. 

Gutlin continued: “Beacon technology is a win-win for passengers, airlines and airports. Clearly knowing where you are and how long it will take to get to the next stage of your journey makes the experience much more relaxing. Everyone benefits when passengers are enjoying themselves.”  

SITA is leading the way in the development of beacon technology for airports. As part of its role of providing value to the air transport community, SITA has established the Common-Use Beacon Registry. Using this directory, airlines, retailers and other service-providers across the world can provide beacon-based services over shared infrastructure. As well as reducing the cost of installing beacons, the IT is simpler and eliminates the need for everyone to manage their own beacons.

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