Iceland’s Keflavik Airport is using BlipTrack Wi-Fi sensors to track passenger traffic and display accurate wait times at security in real-time, optimising staff and resources.
As one of the fastest growing tourist and transit destinations in Europe, Keflavik has joined a growing group of international airports around the world using Wi-Fi sensors to track passenger flow to improve the traveler experience.
Keflavik is Iceland´s main hub for 25 international airlines, and has more than doubled its passenger numbers between 2010 and 2015. The airport handled approximately 5 million passenger in 2015–an increase of 25,6% compared to 2014–and expects a further increase of 37% during 2016 to 6.7 million passengers.
Knowing is Half the Journey
Waiting in line is exhausting and annoying. But it’s much worse when there’s no way to be sure how long the wait might take. For passengers rushing to meet an aircraft, this uncertainty creates unnecessary stress and dissatisfaction.
BLIP’s sensors monitor passenger queues and dwell times within the terminal which help Keflavik calculate waiting times to pass security and display them in real-time. The estimates made by the Blip system are shared with passengers on flat screens near queues and sent directly to airport resource planners who can make adjustments to ease backlog. Keflavik also displays wait times on the airport’s website, which helps keep travellers informed of potential delays even before they leave home.
The airport enlisted the expertise of Lockheed Martin to design and implement the BlipTrack solution from Denmark-based BLIP Systems, which has already been installed in more than 25 airports globally.
Your Smartphone Knows Best
“The data comes from sensors that monitor passenger’s mobile devices as they move through the airport. By measuring individual travel times, from queue entrance to exit, and the number of people in line, measured and predicted wait time, for people entering the line, can be calculated and displayed,” explains Christian Sugislaus Carstens, BLIP System’s marketing manager.
Though BLIP tracks signals from mobile devices, the system is non-invasive.
“The sensors only register each device’s unique ID and do not pick up any sensitive personal information. The unique ID is also encrypted in the sensor, making it impossible to identify the mobile device afterwards,” Carstens adds.
The airport also uses data gathered by BLIP sensors to monitor security line congestion which allows management to respond quickly to irregular operations and disruptions, and to establish plans to reduce processing times in the long term. As the saying goes: You can’t fix what you don’t measure!
“We use the data to see when levels of service are breached and to find out the reasons. This has helped us to identify the problems we had with our work shifts starting a bit too late. Before installing the solution, we noticed this issue but did not have the valuable information at hand, to actually be able to quantify the problem. Now we are able to make more informed decisions in security,” says Guðmundur Karl Gautason, Project Manager – Operation Research at Keflavik Airport.
The data is also used to provide minute-by-minute live forecasts of waiting times. This lets the airport adjust plans if projected wait times will deviate from original forecasts. That helps prevent queue build-up and avoiding potential KPI (Key Performance Indicator) violations.
Though the advantages to cutting wait time at security are obvious, Keflavik is also contemplating other ways in which BLIP Technology might be used to reduce customer wait times at concessions.
“We are considering of placing BlipTrack sensors at our border control lines and display the waiting times in our concession area. This will allow our passengers to be more at ease and enjoy our retail and restaurant area for longer periods of time, instead of rushing to the gate long before scheduled,” Hanna M. Hermannsdóttir, specialist in operation research at Keflavik Airport says.