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London’s Gatwick Airport now has 2,000 beacons for indoor navigation

Intricate indoor environments like air-ports and departmental stores is often a bad dream to find your way around. And although Google is hunting mobile phones with 3D sensors as one possible solution for places GPS won’t accurately reach, another approach is to kit out an interior with tons of Bluetooth beacons – giving handset users located-locked pings to fix onto to know where they’re.

The UK’s 2nd busiest air-port, Gatwick airport, has selected the latter way to power an indoor navigation system it’s launching as a part of a bigger, multi-year transformation program.

It’s now completed kitting out its two terminals with around 2 Thousand battery-powered beacons in order that digital map users will get a more precise blue dot as they wander around. The beacon system will likewise be utilized to power an augmented reality wayfinding tool – to make sure that mobile users can be guided to specific locations within the terminals thru on-screen arrows. The beacon system is planned as backing up positioning with +/-3m precision.

Gatwick is intending to integrate indoor positioning into some of its mobile apps, and says it’s in discussions with airlines to utilize it for their own mobile apps and services – giving illustration of them the ability to send push notifications to inform passengers if they’re running late, or even consider whether or not to wait or offload luggage so an airplane can take off promptly.

Retailers and other third parties will likewise be able to use the system for proximity detection of potential buyers and push promotion messages – as a minimum to those who’ve signed up to receive them.

Gatwick says it won’t be accumulating any sensitive information with the beacons but says “generic information on ‘people densities’ in different beacon zones” will be employed to assist in improving airport operations – including queue measurement, streamlining passenger flows and bringing down traffic jam.

The airport has worked with UK start-up Pointr on the system. As well as developing software and managing the system on an ongoing basis, Pointr provides an SDK with support for 3D AR wayfinding as a way for third parties to take advantage of the functionality.

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