As we leave 2014 in the dust, its time to look ahead to whats on tap for 2015 in terms of airport tech. As I previously discussed in my Bluetooth tech blog, iBeacons have already started to enter some airports. This is a big deal because now airports and app’s like tripchi can easily connect with passengers that have Bluetooth enabled smartphones. With the vast amount of the traveling public, especially business travelers being smartphone and tech savvy, converting these passengers into revenue is a high priority for the airports.
How It Works
The iBeacon is Apple’s version of the fast growing Bluetooth low-energy proximity-aware transmitting devices. These are small and inexpensive transmitters that can be used by airports to communicate with passengers on their smartphones while they’re physically in different parts of the airport. An airport will place these transmitters in specific spots around the terminals, within in the range of each other so you can be passed off from beacon to beacon. These transmitters emit a low energy Bluetooth signal, and if a passengers mobile phone has a Beacon-enabled app installed, the signal can issue a push notification, an alert for a special offer, or request and collect data from the app.
Why They Are Important
iBeacons are important because they are a new marketing and data gathering tool for the airports. From the marketing and sales aspect, iBeacons can tell you where the passengers is and what they are near. You can push deals, suggested shops and restaurants and ultimately convert that interaction into a sale at one of the airports vendors. For airports, it is a data collection tool. Its essentially a mapping system based on how customers move within an airport and the particular patterns of purchaser personas, airports can use product placement and even architecture to increase sales, figure out which product is of interest to people.
How tripchi Leverages iBeacon Tech
tripchi is different than other airport mobile apps because we take relevant elements of the travelers personality, interests, situation, intent, location, and schedule to make targeted recommendations of airport content to explore, vendors to visit, and deals/offers to redeem. Through standard GPS location tripchi suggests ideas of things to do and concessions to visit based on your user profile/personality, unique flight circumstances, and your interaction with the app. We aren’t just an airport guide (a list of content), nor do we just give you information about your flight (although we do that do) – we want you to make the most of your airport time through exploration and enjoyment.
From a business standpoint the fact that it is inexpensive to create a new product compatible with Bluetooth is a huge benefit. Virgin Atlantic recently launched a Bluetooth pilot program at Heathrow within their boarding area. As long as customers had downloaded the Virgin Atlantic Passbook App notifications would be pushed to you on duty free deals such as 0% commission on currency exchange services. That is the type of benefit from the tech that passengers will enjoy. Integrating baggage tracking using Bluetooth beacons could be next. They beacons know where you are, where your favorite amenities are but where is your bag? Placing a traveling beacon on your luggage could be a major step in notifying you when you bag has arrived. This move to Bluetooth tech is exciting for us here at the tripchi airport app because we can move to integrate out content with retailers and airports who are utilizing Bluetooth. It exhibits the eagerness of airports to move towards the airports 2.0 mentality and provide a better traveling experience for everyone who passes through their front doors.