- May 23, 2016
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Airlines and airports are constantly seeking ways to improve traveler experiences and customer satisfaction, on the ground as much as in the air. There is an increase in demand for solutions that are built on more connected systems and processes.
These enable collaborations between airlines and airports, delivery of integrated real-time customer solutions, and result in increased productivity, improved customer service, and operational delivery.
There is no doubt that travelers are ready for these types of solutions. Statistics have shown that around 97% of current travelers carry mobile devices when they travel with over 81% of those devices being smartphones. And more than half of the airport Wi-Fi users are millennials with the majority (32%) in the 25-34-year-old age range whom have grown up with technology and social media. From both devices and age demographic perspectives, there is an expectation of more enhanced services that leverage real-time data to provide just-in-time information such as updates on flight information, way-finding services, expedited security line transition, simplified check-in and bag drop activities, personalized access to customer services and shopping experiences, as well as dealing with irregular operations, etc., to improve passenger experiences.
At the same time, operators of physical locations that provide travel and commuter services, (i.e., airports, bus and train stations, etc.) are primarily concerned with increasing revenues from operations, specifically non-aeronautical activities, in the case of airports. This can be achieved in a number of ways, including increasing passenger numbers, improving passenger experiences, and maximizing merchandising opportunities. The Internet of Things helps achieve these goals using beacons, other geolocation-based technologies, and analytics capabilities to understand crowd movement, dwelling and hotspots, footfall, bottlenecks, etc. The HPE Connected Traveler solution (described below) interacts with passengers to influence passenger movement, improve retail interactions through contextual analytics, and offers additional services that improve efficiencies during moments of engagement between airport operations, airlines, and passengers.
The growth in business opportunity for this sector is staggering. From this business perspective, the potential for exploitation of the Internet of Things in the location-based services sector is huge and rapidly growing with an estimated market revenue size of $43.3 billion in 2019 for location-based services, up from $12.2 billion in 2014. The airport environment is a small slice of this location-based services cake, but the fact remains that the size of the cake itself is immense.
Connected Traveler from Hewlett Packard Enterprise
HPE’s Connected Traveler program offers an end-to-end solution through a combination of mobility, beacon technology, analytics and data management using real-time Business Intelligence to improve and enable communication exchange between providers of travel services and the travelers themselves. The solution links the airport and airline with the traveler from online check-in to car park and through kerb-to-gate activity, covering all land- and air-side business, as well as operational events. The scope of the solution extends across the whole range of airport experiences including security processing, land- and air-side retail and entertainment.
In the example below, we illustrate an end-user feature of the Connected Traveler solution focusing on passenger experiences, while the other side of the same Connected Traveler coin is focused on the airport and airline provider. The same platform links the airport and airline operational activities as well as business processes across the front and back office, and ramp and apron operations. Airports can react to increased passenger numbers quickly and efficiently, opening up more security lines, or directing delayed passengers to retail outlets.
The Connected Traveler platform allows interaction with travelers via a mobile application operating on a passenger’s mobile device, requiring implicit opt-in to the service and passenger contextual information (identification, loyalty program information, travel reservation information, etc.). A location-based service infrastructure comprising any combination of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Beacons, location-aware Wi-Fi, RFID, etc., interacts with the passengers’ mobile devices and provides geolocation information to the back-end analytics platform. The analytics platform aggregates the passenger data with geolocation data and provides information that can be used for offering personalized journey information to the passenger,
personalized retail experiences, etc., as well as Business Intelligence to operators relating to the passenger movement in the physical environment. As shown in the example in Figure 1, a passenger is provided with contextual guidance and a proximity-based voucher following a flight delay.
This technology leverages the key elements of any successful IT strategy appropriate for today’s rapidly changing business and technical landscape. It builds on a combination of hybrid data processing capabilities, combining local edge-based compute resources where they are required, with back-office and cloud-based operations platforms. On the front line, the solution is intrinsically characterized by mobile technology empowering users by giving them access to the data that they want, when they want it in a secure and protected environment.
A Connected City is built on its ability to interact effectively with its citizens and visitors. At the heart of this solution is the ability to understand the traveler’s needs at every point of the airport experience while also providing valuable insight for the
business: this is the essence of the data-driven enterprise.
Connected Traveler and the Challenges for Connected Cities
In HPE, when we consider Connected Cities, we frame it within the context of seven pillars.
• It’s important to have citizens connected to state-of-the-art services.
• Derive operational insights and innovation from such services.
• Connect agencies and providers together to improve the overall operation of city services.
• Do all of this using flexible, open platforms.
• Ensure that the platforms and services that you provide are scalable and have the capacity for growth.
• Leverage the IT infrastructure and assets that are available today, enhancing and connecting them, and replacing only when necessary.
• Ensure that the highest levels of security pervade this whole ecosystem of connectedness.
With Connected Traveler, we’re putting all of these seven pieces together. Building impressive, user-friendly, and most importantly valuable services in an environment where it makes sense and is relevant to citizens and travelers alike. This approach has the potential to offer a complete end-to-end service for travelers on any kind of journey, right from the moment when they research and book travel, through their journey to the airport, the in-airport and in-flight experience, until they arrive at their destination airport, take ground transportation and ultimately arrive at their final destination.
Just because you have Connected Travelers (and Connected Airports) doesn’t mean you’ll have a Connected City, but it’s a necessary part of the big picture and an enabler: airports in the first instance and then the broader transportation systems following on from that. Then, when your Connected City systems are fully integrated in a ‘connected’ fashion, the traveler’s or citizen’s interaction with a city through its airports, its transportation systems, its hotels, its recreation and entertainment offerings, and its civic services becomes a seamless experience. Then, you will have a Connected City.
White paper by Kieran McCorry, Strategist, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Kieran McCorry is based in Europe and is a Strategist in the HPE Chief Technology Office and has over 25 years’ experience in the IT sector. He has broad expertise spanning social media, collaboration, mobility, analytics, privacy, and law. He is skilled at developing new innovative ideas across a range of vertical industries, holds multiple patents, speaks at various global events, has authored several books, and has a variety of degrees. However, he really prefers cycling.