Beacons in Airports: Ready for Takeoff

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By Staff Reports

(DGIwire) – Airports help travelers quickly get from one city to another. Increasingly, however, they are doing something else as well: quickly getting targeted messages to travelers’ mobile devices. As a recent article in Advertising Age noted, huge U.S. airport hubs—such as JFK, LAX and DFW—are among the 84 percent of airports worldwide that currently have or are currently testing deployment of proximity sensors such as beacons (also called “connectors”).

Not only can beacons (the devices that use low-energy Bluetooth connections to communicate with smartphones and tablets) help airports get information to travelers efficiently; these devices could create entirely new advertising revenue streams for airport tenants, Advertising Age reports.

In general, travelers are often compelled to arrive at airports hours in advance, just to wait in lines and mitigate the risk of missed flights and anxiety. However, many of these complaints could be alleviated by providing travelers with up-to-date flight information. Beacon technology makes this more feasible and cost-effective than ever before; and in fact, 44 percent of airports are expected to integrate some form of beacon technology over the next three years, according to The Economist, up from less than 10 percent currently.

Consider San Diego International Airport. According to a report published by tech consulting firm Unacast and described in Advertising Age, the airport has about 300 beacons deployed. The airport’s head of technology noted that in addition to the airport’s own app, concessioners based in the airport can also use their own apps to advertise their wares based on location data.

“Airports and their tenants are taking a more personal approach to pushing information and advertising to smartphones than ever before,” says Barry Stone, Director of Marketing at Digital Social Retail, a company that has developed a beacon management platform that is revolutionizing the relationship between customers and brands. “They want the ability to deliver specific information to passengers based on their location directly to their mobile device.”

The Social Retail® digital convergence platform developed by Digital Social Retail works seamlessly with mobile screen messaging triggered by BLE beacon connectors communicating with iOS and Android devices running Bluetooth. The platform has proven itself in a wide variety of applications to date. In addition to airports, retail locations and shopping malls, college campuses, restaurants, sports areas and hospitals—as well as entire city shopping districts—are being outfitted with beacon connectors and transforming how the public interacts with their surroundings.

“In addition to whisking travelers to their desired destinations, airports will increasingly be places where ads and information can be whisked to them as well—which will benefit air travelers and airport tenants alike,” Stone adds.

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