Digital for all now

Airports get smarter

Econocom 23 Aug 2016

The Internet of Things (IoT) is being deployed in an increasing number of industry sectors. At Reykjavik Airport, the technology is used to get a better idea of passenger flows. We found out more from Le Mag IT.

 

If you go to Reykjavik Airport, your movements will be tracked by sensors that link up to your smartphone. But don’t be alarmed, your personal information is safe: these sensors are only interested in your device’s location data, which they use to track travellers’ itineraries.

 

The technology used comes from Danish outfit BLIP Systems, one of the leading companies in developing data analytics tools that convert traveller flows into added-value information. For Reykjavik Airport, whose traffic doubled between 2010 and 2015 (5 million passengers) and is continuing to increase, the aim is to analyse passengers’ movements and take the necessary measures to optimise the airport’s resources accordingly. Some twenty-five other airports worldwide, such as Copenhagen, Brussels, Manchester and Auckland, also use the solution.

 

 

IMPROVED services and increased revenue

 

Using data has enabled Reykjavik Airport to make a number of improvements to their services, as Project Manager Guðmundur Gautason explains:

 

“With this data, we’ve been able to identify and better understand congestion. It’s allowed us to identify the recurring problem of job rotations, which typically used to happen too late.”

 

Thanks to accurate information on waiting times, revenue for the airport’s retail outlets has increased. According to Hanna M. Hermannsdóttir, a specialist in the airport’s operations:

 

“Passengers are more relaxed, they visit our shops more and spend more time in our restaurants instead of rushing to the boarding gate.”

ensuring long-term security for iot deployment

 

The Columbus Regional Airport Authority, the organisation in charge of the three airports around Columbus, Ohio, also plans to develop IoT at its airports to increase the volume of sales and make staff’s jobs easier.

 

But without an investment by the decision-makers, switching to IoT isn’t easy. And in order to convince them, some quick wins are needed. This involves persuading them to invest in ambitious projects as part of a long-term approach thanks to more modest initiatives with immediate results and advantages. The type of innovation deployed at airports like Reykjavik is therefore essential for extensive IoT deployment. These are the models upon which the smart airports of the future will be built.

 

According to Jim Lizotte, Director of the Technology Department at Columbus Regional Airport Authority, this is indisputable:

 

“I told the bosses here that investment had to come first, and only then would we innovate.”

 

 

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