Gatwick has installed a new wayfinding system that aims to make it easier for passengers to find their way around the airport, while proving a new way for retailers to ‘contact’ passengers.
Around 2000 Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons are being used across Gatwick’s two terminals to provide an indoor navigation system and an augmented reality wayfinding service.
The beacon based positioning system means that mobile users can be guided to specific locations within the terminals via on-screen arrows. Gatwick say the beacon system is accurate to within 3 metres.
The beacon system also enables an augmented reality wayfinding tool – so passengers can be shown directions in the camera view of their mobile device – making it easier for passengers to locate check in areas, departure gates, baggage belts etc.
The airport is planning to integrate indoor positioning into some of its apps and is also in discussion with airlines to enable them to use it and wayfinding tools on their own app services.
Gatwick says it will collect no personal data although generic information on ‘people densities’ in different beacon zones is collected. The airport says the data may help to improve airport operations including queue measurement, streamlining passenger flows and reducing congestion.
The beacon system is also open to retailers and other third parties, allowing them to detect the proximity of consumers and send relevant offers or promotional messages to their smartphones, if the passenger has chosen to receive them.
Gatwick is working with UK company Pointr to provide the service.
A number of airlines and airports have deployed beacons for wayfinding and other uses, including:
N.B. Image credit: Pointr