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UK’s Gatwick Airport presently has 2,000 beacons for indoor navigation
Complex indoor environments just like airports and shopping centers is often a bad dream to find your way around. Even though Google is thinking of getting mobile phones with 3D detectors as one potential solution for places GPS won’t correctly reach, another approach is to kit out an interior with lots of Bluetooth beacons – giving phone users located-locked pings to fix onto to learn where they are.
The UK’s second busiest air-port, Gatwick, has opted for the second method to power an indoor navigation system it’s launching as part of a bigger, multi-year transformation program.
It’s presently finished kitting out its two terminals with roughly 2,000 battery-powered beacons in order that digital map users will get a more accurate blue dot as they walk around. The beacon system will likewise be used to power an augmented reality wayfinding tool – to ensure mobile users will have the ability to be guided to precise locations in the terminals using on-screen arrows. The beacon system is scheduled as supporting positioning with +/-3m accuracy.
Gatwick is looking to integrate indoor positioning into some of its mobile apps, and says it’s in discussions with airlines to take advantage of it for their own mobile apps and services – giving illustration of them having the capability to send push notifications to notify people if they’re running late, or even consider whether or not to wait or offload luggage so an airplane can take off on time.
Retailers and other third parties will likewise be able to use the system for proximity detection of potential buyers and push promotion messages – at a minimum to those who’ve opted in to receive them.
Gatwick says it won’t be gathering up any sensitive information through the beacons but says “generic information on ‘people densities’ in different beacon zones” will be employed to help to improve airport operations – similar to queue measurement, streamlining passenger flows and decreasing obstruction.
The airport has worked with UK startup Pointr on the system. As well as developing software and managing the system on an ongoing basis, Pointr offers an SDK with support for 3D AR wayfinding make it possible for third parties to tap into the functionality.