London’s Gatwick airport implements tech program

In what is claimed to be a world first for an airport, Gatwick has installed 2,000 indoor navigation beacons to make it easier for passengers to find their way around and avoid missing flights.

Officials say the new technology, which forms part of Gatwick’s £2.5bn transformation program, provides a system that is much more reliable than GPS, which lack of satellite signals makes unreliable indoors. The Gatwick beacon-based positioning system enables reliable “blue dot” routes on indoor maps, which in time can be used within a range of mobile airport, airline or third party apps.

The beacon system also enables an augmented reality wayfinding tool, so passengers can be shown directions in the camera view of their mobile devices, making it easier to find check in areas, departure gates, baggage belts and other areas.

The technology is currently being integrated into some of the Gatwick apps and the airport is also in discussion with airlines to enable the indoor positioning and wayfinding tools to feature on their app services.

The airport says no personal data will be collected by users, although generic information on “people densities” in different beacon zones may help to improve airport operations including queue measurement and reducing congestion.