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With over 120 million passengers arriving in the US each year via hundreds of different airports, putting the right people in the right queues is an enormous challenge.
A U.K. indoor navigation startup will trial Bluetooth location tracking in US airports, which could one day transform airport security.
Pointr installs tiny Bluetooth beacons around a venue that can be used by smartphones for navigation in places where GPS is unreliable.
The technology has already been installed in London at King’s Cross Station, Harrods and Gatwick Airport, where an app can be downloaded and offers directions to the platform, gate or product you’re looking for.
At Gatwick, the ultimate goal is to build augmented reality wayfinding, which, when viewed through a smartphone, would place arrows on the floor to guide your way.
The project in the US is designed to help travelers flow better, to put them into different queues more efficiently, to shorten the wait times, etc., according to forbes.com.
Last year, the US Homeland Security Department called for “innovative solutions that will ultimately lead to airport specific, real-time wayfinding systems that can deliver travelers to the airport processes and services they need to reach in the most expeditious manner possible.”
It’s not just the experience of arriving at a U.S. airport that could be improved by this technology; there could be security advantages, too. While customer data collected by Pointr is anonymized (Homeland Security specified that it should remain that way for the trial), there are still security advantages for Bluetooth tracking in airports, beyond solving queue chaos.
Besides simple Bluetooth-broadcasting beacons for navigation, Pointr has also developed its own Pointr of Presence (POP) beacon, which is networked and adds Wi-Fi tracking to the mix, technologies that would allow the real-time tracking of devices around a location.