Commentary

Airport Beacons Coming: 61% at Check-in, 57% Boarding, 40% Bag Claim

Airline travelers may be among the first to see the Internet of Things in end-to-end action as they pass through major airports.

Global spending on technology increased 74% at major airports this year, pushing spending up to $9 with a further increase of 64% projected for next year, based on a new study.

Along with that spending will come the deployment of beacons and other sensors throughout airports for a variety of functions, according to the 12th annual Airport IT Trends Survey, which is based on a survey of 101 senior IT executives representing 223 airports globally.

The study was conducted by the Airports Council International and SITA, the airline industry organization.

The majority (73%) of executives rate passenger processing as a high priority for investment, up from 59% last year. Here are the top investment priorities:

  • 73% -- Passenger processing
  • 40% -- Operations
  • 39% -- Baggage processing

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Much of the method for dealing with that passenger processing will involve the deployment of IoT technologies all along the path to travel.

Almost a third (30%) of airports plan major investments in sensor technologies over the next three years and a further 51% are evaluating the technologies.

The scope of end-to-end beacon deployment from what’s in place today is dramatic.

For example, the largest airport sensor deployments today involve security stations (17%), dwell time (12%), where travelers may linger, and bag drop (9%). But in three years, the planned beacon deployments are massive. Here’s how airports plan the use of beacons, by location, in three years:

  • 61% -- Check-in
  • 61% -- Security
  • 57% -- Boarding
  • 56% -- Dwell time (restaurants, coffee shops, etc.)
  • 55% -- Bag drop
  • 45% -- Border control
  • 40% -- Bag claim
  • 36% -- Transfer

The idea is that sensor technologies will enable airports to better manage lines and move passengers through the airport more efficiently. Of course, along with beaconing technology will be the ability to provide location-based travel information and location-based advertising.

Sensors also will allow airports to add new features, with 61% planning to add wayfinding within the airports and notifications such as security queue times or parking availability by 58% of airports within three years.

Travelers may not have any idea they are experiencing the Internet of Things as they make their way through the airport to their flight.

But they may experience the benefit.

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