Airport Gatwick uses Beacons and Augmented Reality

London’s Gatwick Airport has installed 2,000 beacons to provide an indoor navigation system as part of a major investment update. The technology is being integrated into apps for the airport and is intended to help with wayfinding and speeding the location of the correct desks etc. The airport will use data on the flow of people in different zones to help improve passenger flows.

Abhi Chacko, Head of IT Commercial & Innovation, Gatwick Airport, said: “By providing the infrastructure we’re opening the door for a wide range of tech savvy airport providers, including our airlines and retailers, to launch new real-time services that can help passengers find their way around the airport, avoid missing flights or receive timely offers that might save them money.

“We are proud to be the first airport to deploy augmented reality technology and we hope that our adoption of this facility influences other airports and transport providers so that it eventually becomes the norm.”

The end to end “indoor blue dot” service is managed by PointrLabs which said that the Pointr tech stack comes with an indoor map which shows up to date content, positioning with +/-3m accuracy, and navigation technology that is dynamic and recognises, for example, areas currently under construction, or multi floor navigation including when taking lifts, proximity to retailers etc. App developers have to just use the beacon registry or PointrLabs SDK in their app to enable these features.

Gatwick beacons for ARGatwick has installed 2000 beacons for AR and wayfinding

Analyst Comment

I was an initially strong proponent of the idea of beacons, but since finding implementations either lacking, or too intrusive, I have become less enthusiastic. They are still a good idea, but getting the right balance between assistance and intrusion is clearly a challenge. I’m a regular visitor to Gatwick, so will try out the system when I am there and report back. (BR)