Can you imagine how hectic and difficult managing an airport would be? You're trying to create a remarkable experience for your travelers, keep costs down, keep everything moving on a strict time-table, all while ensuring everyone's safety.
However, to accomplish these tasks efficiently and successfully, means keeping track of and properly managing various moving parts that are spread out over a very large, dynamic area.
Most potential solutions to resolve these challenges, requires a hefty initial infrastructure investment that in many cases (unfortunately) aren't scalable, meaning as you grow they cannot.
From our experience, a must-have for airports is an RTLS solution or Real-Time Location System.
To help you understand why we believe RTLS has tremendous value for airport IT departments, here are 5 major benefits you might not know about.
RTLS at a glance
RTLS works by placing Wi-Fi enabled tags on devices or alternatively by tracking Wi-Fi enabled devices like smartphones and tablets.
To accurately track real-time location information of both people and objects, these Wi-Fi tags produce RSSI (Received Signal Strength Measurements).
This information is sent to your access points and finally back to a centralized software platform where that same information becomes meaningful intelligence.
RTLS can also be further paired with additional IR beacons (infrared) to enable greater location accuracy; in many cases as accurate as 3 feet.
You can track and monitor people and asset locations in real-time as well as environmental data such as temperature control.
A huge advantage to RTLS is that it has zero impact on your WLAN's performance. It only takes a few weeks or so to set-up using your existing wireless infrastructure (assuming this is up to par and depending on the size of your environment).
Where are your passengers?
Delayed and missing passengers are a major issue considering airlines have very little visibility on passengers until they are actually at the gate.
Think about how hard a major airport can be to navigate?
Utilizing RTLS you can now track your passengers to their exact location within the airport to better understand traffic patterns, allowing you to optimize layouts and staffing choices.
How Many Passengers are in Queue?
The shorter the distance from entrance to the gate typically means greater revenue for airports.
Using location-services, airports can track wait times throughout TSA checkpoints and other check-in areas allowing passengers to choose the quickest possible route.
Employee and Equipment Tracking
Would you like to know where employees or other assets are at any given time? Now you can track the location of employees, duty-free carts, wheelchairs, baggage equipment, as well as other mission critical equipment at all times creating better optimization and efficient operations, resulting in a better experience for everyone.
Suggested Reading: "Why Your Best Wireless Design Idea Is a Wireless Site Survey"
Out of Service
RTLS can even monitor the health of your operation on a physical level by assessing conveyors in baggage claim, or even escalators and elevators, alerting you when a particular piece of equipment is broken or is due for maintenance (preventative maintenance).
It can check factors from temperature to telemetry. You can even choose to pass some of this information on to passengers so they know to avoid specific baggage areas or escalators in their route.
You can target passengers based on proximity to retail stores and their purchase history within your facility.
For example, a passenger that always stops at Starbucks...feel free to alert them they're about to approach their favorite pick me up spot.
This data allows you to monitor shopping patterns, the effectiveness of your shops, and consumer behaviors.
These are just some of the benefits Real-Time Location Systems can have for airports, as the possibilities are very flexible to what you want to accomplish.
Not only will utilizing RTLS provide an improved experience for travelers, it can also drive down costs and create new opportunities to increase revenue.
With little to no impact on your current wireless infrastructure, and powerful benefits to both your users and your business, it's hard not to think RTLS is a great solution.
At SecurEdge, we provide extensive wireless engineering experience to deliver affordable, robust, and secure wireless connectivity that is easy to support.
It's our ultimate goal to be a valuable resource to our customers, if you have any questions about wireless network design, or would like to discuss RTLS in greater detail, please contact us here.