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10 ways to use Bluetooth Low Energy Beacons at Airports

  • Akansha Sharma
  • Feb 17, 2024
  • RFID
10 ways to use Bluetooth Low Energy Beacons at Airports

"Bluetooth Low Energy Beacons can be used at airports to provide navigation and wayfinding, sending proximity based information on flyers’ smartphones about check-ins, boarding, arrivals departures and delays as well as frequent discounts and offers wirelessly, amongst many other things."

The Bluetooth beacon technology has revolutionized airports' operations, providing a seamless and personalized passenger experience. Passengers' growing usage of smartphones and other linked devices has accelerated the development of smart airports. According to SITA's Future Connected research, 83% of passengers have smartphones, which airports and airlines utilize to communicate with passengers. Innovative technologies such as RFID, NFC, QR codes, Bluetooth iBeacon, and Eddystone technology have made significant contributions to the advancement of intelligent airports. As a result, more than a third of the world's airlines are investing extensively in IoT solutions, with iBeacon in airports being their primary investment priority over the next three years.
Understanding Bluetooth beacon protocols: Eddystone and iBeacon

Bluetooth beacons, such as Eddystone and iBeacon, utilize proximity-based technology to transmit signals to smartphones. These beacons operate on different protocols, each with its unique features and capabilities.

Eddystone, developed by Google, is an open-source protocol that allows beacons to transmit various types of data, including URLs, telemetry information, and more. iBeacon, on the other hand, is a proprietary protocol created by Apple, specifically designed for location-based services and proximity marketing.

How Bluetooth Low Energy beacon technology works

Bluetooth Low Energy beacons and gateways work by emitting low-energy Bluetooth signals that nearby smartphones can detect. BLE communicates on the 2.4 GHz band. BLE has a feature called PAwR (Periodic Advertisement with Response) that sends advertisement signals to nearby BLE-enabled smartphones, tablets, and wearables. 

The signal emitted through the beacon contains a unique identifier that allows the smartphone to determine its proximity to the beacon. The information can then be used to trigger specific actions or deliver targeted content to the user.

Bluetooth beacons have a range of up to 100 meters, making them ideal for indoor applications such as airports, where precise location tracking is crucial.
Bluetooth Beacons Provide Real-time Navigation and Information
Bluetooth beacons are an IoT based solution to allow real-time navigation and information sharing whether it is flight related information, arrivals and delays, or check-in and boarding related information sharing, directly on flyers’ smartphones. With periodic advertisement, BLE allows for seamless check-in, navigation and ease in boarding.

Here are 10 way BLE beacons can bring great ease in various airport operations:

10 ways to use Bluetooth Low Energy Beacons at Airports

Use Case 1: Indoor Navigation and Wayfinding in Airports

One of the most significant use cases of Bluetooth beacons in airports is BLE indoor navigation and wayfinding. With the help of interactive maps and beacon-enabled apps, passengers can effortlessly navigate through complex airport terminals.

Bluetooth beacons placed strategically throughout the airport can provide real-time information on the passenger's location, guiding them to their desired destination. Whether it's finding the nearest gate, restroom, or dining options, Bluetooth beacons make airport navigation a breeze.

Passengers can simply open a beacon-enabled app on their smartphones, and the app will display their current location and the best route to their desired destination.
Use Case 2: Personalized Flight Information and Updates

Bluetooth beacons enable airports to deliver personalized flight information and updates directly to passengers' smartphones. To detect the proximity of passengers, beacons in the airports can send relevant notifications, such as gate changes, boarding announcements, and baggage claim information.

Passengers no longer need to constantly check flight boards or rely on public announcements. Instead, they receive timely and accurate updates tailored to their specific journey.

Delivering flight information enhances the passenger experience, ensuring they are always well-informed and prepared for their journey. It also reduces the likelihood of missed flights or confusion caused by sudden changes.

Use case 3: Location-based offers and promotions

Bluetooth beacons offer airports a powerful tool for delivering location-based offers and promotions to passengers. With the proximity detection capabilities of Bluetooth beacons, airports can send targeted advertisements and promotional offers to passengers' smartphones as they move throughout the airport.

For example, a passenger walking past a duty-free shop can receive a notification about a limited-time discount on a particular item. Or, a restaurant can offer a personalized coupon to a passenger who has spent a significant amount of time in the airport.

 These proximity based advertisements not only benefit passengers by providing them with exclusive deals and discounts but also help airports generate additional revenue and encourage passenger spending.

Bluetooth beacons enable airports to deliver highly relevant and timely advertisements, increasing the chances of conversion and creating a win-win situation for both passengers and businesses operating within the airport.
Use Case 4: Queue Management and Crowd Control

Bluetooth beacons play a crucial role in queue management and crowd control within airports. It monitors the movement of passengers through the airport, and beacons can provide real-time data on queue lengths and crowd density, allowing airport staff to optimize operations and minimize congestion.

 Airports can dynamically manage resources, such as opening additional security lanes or adjusting staff allocation based on passenger flow, to ensure a smooth and efficient journey for passengers, reduce wait times, and enhance the overall airport experience.

 Additionally, Bluetooth beacons can be used to monitor and manage queues at various airport facilities, such as check-in counters, baggage drop-off points, and immigration checkpoints.
Use case 5: Baggage tracking and security

Bluetooth beacons offer a reliable solution for tracking and securing baggage within airports. By attaching them to luggage tags or integrating them into baggage handling systems, airports can track the movement of bags throughout the entire journey.

It enables airports to provide passengers with real-time updates on the status and location of their bags, reducing the anxiety associated with lost or delayed luggage. Passengers can rest assured knowing that their belongings are being closely monitored at every stage of the journey.

Furthermore, Bluetooth beacons can enhance airport security levels. Also, it automatically triggers alerts when bags deviate from their intended path or when unauthorized access is detected.
Use case 6: Real-time airport information and updates

Bluetooth beacons enable airports to deliver real-time information and updates to passengers throughout their journey. From the moment passengers arrive at the airport to the time they board their flight, beacons can provide relevant information, such as check-in procedures, security wait times, and boarding gate details.

With real-time information, passengers can plan their journey more efficiently, allowing them to arrive at the airport on time and navigate through the various checkpoints with ease.

Bluetooth beacons also enable airports to provide valuable information regarding airport amenities, such as lounges, restrooms, and dining options. Passengers can access detailed information about these facilities, including opening hours, menus, and reviews, making it easier for them to make informed decisions based on their preferences.
Use Case 7: Analytics and Data Collection with Bluetooth Beacons

Bluetooth beacons offer airports valuable insights into passenger behavior and preferences through data collection and analytics. It watches passenger movements and analyzes their interactions with beacons, allowing airports to acquire a better understanding of passenger flow patterns, dwell times, and engagement levels.

The data can be used to optimize airport operations, improve resource allocation, and enhance the overall passenger experience. For example, airports can identify areas of congestion and implement measures to alleviate bottlenecks, reducing wait times and improving passenger satisfaction.
Use case 8: Enhancing airport amenities and services

Bluetooth beacons enable airports to enhance their amenities and services, making the overall airport experience more enjoyable for passengers. Beacon technology in airports can provide interactive maps, digital directories, and virtual tour guides, allowing passengers to easily navigate and explore the airport.

For instance, passengers can use beacon-enabled apps to locate nearby amenities, such as shops, restaurants, and lounges. They can also access information about the facilities, including opening hours, menus, and reviews, enabling them to make informed decisions based on their preferences.

Furthermore, Bluetooth beacons can enable airports to offer additional services, such as language translation, audio guides, and personalized recommendations.
Use case 9: Airport accessibility and assistance for passengers with disabilities

Bluetooth beacons play a vital role in improving airport accessibility and providing assistance to passengers with disabilities. iBeacon integrated with airport infrastructure, airports can offer customized support and guidance to passengers with specific needs.

For example, beacons can help visually impaired passengers navigate through the airport by providing audio instructions and alerts. Wheelchair users can also benefit from beacons by receiving real-time information on accessible routes and facilities.

Bluetooth beacons can also be used to provide information on priority services, such as wheelchair assistance and special boarding procedures.
Use case 10: Airport staff communication and coordination

Bluetooth beacons enable seamless communication and coordination among airport staff, improving operational efficiency and customer service. Staff members can also use beacon-enabled devices in airports to facilitate real-time communication and provide instant access to critical information.

For instance, staff members can receive notifications and updates regarding flight delays or gate changes, allowing them to proactively assist passengers and ensure a smooth transition. Staff members can also use beacon-enabled devices to communicate with each other, coordinating their efforts and addressing any issues that may arise.

To conclude, Bluetooth beacons in airports are just the beginning. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect even more innovative applications and opportunities for airports to leverage this powerful technology.

To summarize, from enhancing personalized passenger experiences to optimizing airport operations, Bluetooth beacons have proven to be a game-changer in the aviation industry. Also, airports can unlock the full potential of Bluetooth beacon technology and create a future in which airport navigation is easy, efficient, and enjoyable for all.

Disclaimer: The information presented here is for general information purposes only and true to best of our understanding. Users are requested to use any information as per their own understanding and knowledge. Before using any of the information, please refer to our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.

  • Created on Feb 17, 2024
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