Beacon pioneers "light up the way"

Numerous other airlines are pioneering in the field beacons, and working with SITA, including Singapore Airlines, United Airlines, and more. Read how.

Beacons are lighting up the way for better airport operations and passenger experiences, as a building block in the Internet of Things. Many airlines and airports have been forging ahead with SITA to harness the potential. Here are just some of them.

American Airlines

The airline was the first to use SITA’s Common Use Beacon Registry in a pilot program at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, with the world’s largest deployment of beacons by an airline. It aimed to provide passengers with up-to-date and relevant information on their mobile devices.

American Airlines is working to build beacon support into its mobile app to give a more personalized response to its Admiral Club members entering its lounges to help them avoid queues at busy times. The app will offer what the airline’s Director of CRM and Sales Support IT, Jason Newton, calls “seamless access”  to the club, which he describes as an “industry first”. As part of the service, as members enter, their photos and flights details will appear on attendants’ screens.

Numerous other airlines are pioneering in the field beacons, and working with SITA, including Singapore Airlines, United Airlines, and more. In conjunction with Singapore Airlines and mobile app vendor MTT, the SITA Lab deployed 30 beacons around the airline’s lounge in Terminal 3 of Changi Airport. A mobile app was designed to show the location of passengers within the lounge enabling staff to quickly locate them should they be late for a flight.

Meanwhile, United Airlines’ customers flying through its New York Newark Liberty International hub can pinpoint their location within the Terminal C complex via the airline's app for iOS devices. Way-finding is high on the agenda, such as directions to various locations including the gate, nearby airport vendors and services such as restaurants, ATM locations or family restrooms.

“Travelers are accustomed to using maps and navigation apps throughout their daily lives – and that shouldn't end when they walk into the airport,” says Scott Wilson, United's Vice President of eCommerce and Merchandising. “These new features of our app will make travel easier and more personal for our customers.”

Miami International Airport

Working with SITA, Miami International Airport was the first airport in the world to have a complete and open deployment of beacons. Covering entrances, sky trains, check-in, gates, baggage claim and valet parking zones, the airport’s beacons can be used by airlines, retailers and other partners’ apps to trigger useful content to passengers and staff.  See also: ‘Miami’s smartest app in the airport’.

Nice Airport

SITA’s beacon technology is being used with the release of a new multifunctional airport app offering flight tracking, car-park availability in real-time, car park booking with Click & Park, access routes and plans of the airport, and local weather.

With beacons installed throughout the airport, passengers belonging to the Airport Premier Club receive retail information and offers relevant to their specific location, while the airport’s operational staff also receive valuable data to support their jobs. See also: ‘Information on the move’.

Hong Kong International Airport

The airport has been leading the way in Asia Pacific with a trial of 50 beacons in its Terminal 1 to provide information directly to passengers’ mobile devices. Best-in-class interactive maps on mobile phones or tablets, provide walk times and guide passengers along typical pathways between public transport points, check-in counters, immigration, Automated People Mover, boarding/arrival gates and baggage claim areas. They also provide information about shops, restaurants and retail offers.

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.

Subscribe to the Air Transport IT Review