London: Beacon technology is just making its way in the world, but more and more companies are willing to take a shot at the advantages this new tech gimmick could offer in the relations they have with customers. Perceived as synonym with ease of navigation, beacon technology is currently on trial by the popular airline easyJet that aims to make passengers’ boarding to planes an easy, enjoyable experience. The prerequisites are simple: the passengers using easyJet services must have an app installed on their phones, so they can receive important messages at critical points, such as the bag area or security. Being let know to have all the papers ready before boarding can streamline the process, easyJet representatives think, and iBeacon is the tool they use to make it happen.
How do beacons work in airports?
The system is so far under trial, and easyJet is using just three airports for these tests: the Luton and Gatwick airports in London, and the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. What easyJet wants to find out is whether customers will take a liking at the new system or not. Things are settled; if the three airports provide positive data in terms of passengers’ feedback, easyJet intends to expand the system in more European airports.
The way beacons work in airports is simple. Since they are part of the new generation of ‘nearables’ as such devices are called, they need to be in certain proximity of the passengers, to hit their mobile devices with useful information. So far, easyJet decided in favor of using beacons in critical points, such as the queues for boarding luggage and security areas. The idea is to promptly provide each traveler with information that could help them simplify the boarding process.
Is the system really helping passengers?
Nay-sayers may feel tempted to criticize the initiative as being too intrusive, especially since the ultimate goal in case of airports would be to track each traveler’s moves, so they could be guided towards the points where they should take certain actions: boarding luggage, presenting documentation and so on.
What easyJet envisions, in case the use of iBeacon technology in the three mentioned airports leads to positive feedback, is to provide a premium, personalized, concierge like, service to their customers. This way, time waste for passengers could be held to a minimum, without having to hire extra personnel.
Is it popular yet?
The most important question when it comes to any new technology is whether customers are willing to embrace it or not. easyJet proudly announced than over 9 million customers from a total of 60 million using the airline services have the app downloaded and installed on their smartphones. That’s certainly an important number and cannot be overlooked.
Who else is jumping on the bandwagon?
The idea of using iBeacon technology in airports is not exclusive to easyJet. Virgin Atlantic carried a test trial in the Upper Class Wing at London Heathrow Airport, with positive results. Aiming at offering high class services to premium customers, the app used provided nice extras, such as offering options of in flight entertainment and letting the personnel know if the weather gets too cold and the passengers waiting on deck could use a blanket.