Capacity Management at the Airport through Bluetooth Technology

BLIP Systems

Category: Bluetooth Technology | 30/03/2009 - 10:03:30

Bluetooth Technology

Bluetooth was originally developed to make fast and free of charge information and file transfer between mobiles. Today Bluetooth is mainly used for connectivity to wireless headsets and other peripherals. As an ad on, Bluetooth is also used to transfer data about the movement patterns of the person carrying to mobile device to a server, in order to analyze movement patterns, queue and dwell time, but also to deliver personalized flight information to mobiles. Even though the technology has been on the market for years it is still in its infancy in terms of the advanced tracking opportunities it delivers. In this article the emphasis will be on the extent to which Bluetooth can be used to facilitate better capacity management, focusing especially on the queue & dwell time monitoring as a crucial tool.

For airports, validation and factual data, providing precise queue and dwell time measurements in real time as well as historic, is important management information and crucial to decisions made in relation to capacity optimization, allocation of resources, documentation of performance and adherence to Service Level Agreements.

More passengers – increased pressure on service and control
In general the number of airport passengers is expected to rise, even though the current climate is likely to result in some temporary decreases in passenger numbers. As the pressure on all security and scanning-related processes increases, the requirement for improved airport performance will be even greater in the future. Currently many airports base their analysis on manual measurement, but this method introduces several challenges: first of all the data collected manually tend to be inaccurate and less than useful as a foundation for meaningful reporting and analysis. In addition there is a significant element of cost associated with having employees focusing on this task. Many airports are not aware that an effective solution is readily available. Considering the number of mobile phones and PDAs carried by passengers, automated tracking to analyze movement patterns as well as Queue & Dwell time is indeed an attractive alternative: The technology enables airports to measure and monitor based on the mobile phones, that are carried by the great majority of passengers, so there are really no logical reasons for not harvesting the inherent tracking opportunities available through passenger mobile phones.

BLIP Systems has developed an advanced networked queue-monitoring solution which addresses the specific needs of decision makers at airports worldwide, by providing essential business intelligence and a unique tool for capacity management. This solution has already been implemented in several European airports.

Readiness to adapt resources to the number of passengers in real-time
The success and image of an airport is heavily influenced by the ability to handle passenger flows through checkpoints – smoothly and efficiently. The more efficient the process, the more time and money passengers will spend at the Queue and dwell time monitoring solution retail facilities airside.

Many major airports face difficulties in allocating the necessary resources optimally. The challenge is that there is insufficient information (historic or real time) on which to base prediction and planning. To optimize planning, the airport needs real time as well as historic data. The availability of this data enables the airport to predict future passenger flow and adjust staff and equipment resource allocation in a timely manner as the need arises, based on accurate business intelligence.

Through access to both real time and historic data, the airport management gets the transparency and tools needed to optimize capacity planning.

Easyand simple - Passenger involvement is not required
The BLIP Systems queue monitoring solution is a secure and reliable monitoring solution that provides the data source and business intelligence through which the airport management can document and analyze actual queuing times 24/7/365. This information enables and supports decisions based on facts. The solution is secure, location-based, easy to install and virtually maintenance-free.

Data collection is achieved through a discreet 10 cm x 15 cm box (BlipNode), which registers every passenger with Bluetooth activated and visible on a mobile device. Depending on location the percentage of traceable Bluetooth devices has been proven to be between 13% – 20%. Considering an example of an airport with 20 million annual passengers and a 15% penetration of traceable Bluetooth devices, the resulting number of traces equates to about 6 every minute 24/7/365. This number is more than adequate to ensure a reliable and consistent flow of business intelligence (tracking data) from the solution.

The process is non-intrusive and requires no active participation or action by the passengers. It is equally important that the unique Bloetooth ID, which consists of 6 bytes (basically a string of numbers), contains no personal identification what so ever and as such there are no privacy concerns.

Captured Bluetooth IDs aresent directly to a backend server for processing

With the Queue Monitoring Solution the airport will be able to:

  • Understand, document and present queue/dwell time - 24/7/365.

  • Improve the ability to plan efficiently - based on statistically reliable information.

  • Prove or reject adherence to SLAs with airlines and handling agents.

  • Eliminate bottlenecks based on knowledge and predictability.

  • Improve the passenger experience and airport image.