Workshop on how beacon technology improves assistance for Passengers with Reduced Mobility (PRM)

by Katharina Hördemann

As one of the most important events in the airport and airline industry, the Passenger Terminal Expo and Conference (PTE) came to an end on March 16 in Amsterdam. The three-day event attracted a total of 6,800 visitors who were informed about innovations and future trends in the aviation business. More than 225 exhibitors presented the latest developments and solutions with the overarching goal of enhancing efficiency, safety and passenger experience at airports across the globe. Our INFORM Aviation Division also participated at the exhibition. Additionally, our specialist Michael Reinkober, Product Manager at INFORM, was invited to speak at the conference on how beacon technology can support PRM assistance at airports.

In 2017, beacon technology has been identified as one of the technologies set to revolutionize the airport and airline industry. As tech-savvy passengers use their mobile devices more than ever before, airports should take the opportunity and enhance end-to-end passenger experience by seamlessly connecting to their passengers’ smartphones. Since GPS is not a suitable option for indoor usage, beacons help close this gap. Besides providing travelers with nice-to-have services such as real-time updates on their flight status or duty-free promotions, the convenience and independence PRMs experience during their journey can be tremendously enhanced.

A recent report conducted by OCS, a total facilities management provider, unveiled the needs of 534 passengers with reduced mobility travelling by air. Anxiety, frustration and inconvenience are just some of the feelings these travelers used to describe their experience with the assistance provided at airports. Some people worry they won’t be returned to the aircraft on time or that they will not even be picked up by the agent. Others described everyday services such as using the toilet or shopping facilities as currently inaccessible premium services. In the end, PRMs want to travel as equally independent and confident as other passengers.

Service providers at airports who are taking care of PRMs could benefit from beacon technology as well. It provides valuable information which can be used for assisting and guiding passengers with reduced mobility. Both passengers and PRM service providers would benefit from using one source of information that feeds two systems: a passenger app and the PRM management software. On the one side, an app could help passengers connect with the airport’s infrastructure and communicate with a PRM agent directly. On the other side, the PRM service provider could consult the PRM passengers’ location, the degree of assistance needed as well as further flight-related information within the PRM management software. As the PRM agents are equipped with mobile devices, they are able to interact with the passengers via app and their current task and position information are automatically transmitted to the PRM management software.

Watch our workshop “Efficient Meet and Assist PRM Operations with iBeacons” held at the Passenger Terminal Conference and discover what other challenges PRMs and service providers face. Michael Reinkober talks about how beacon technology can help overcome these challenges and which service improvements can lead to an enhanced overall passenger experience.

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About the author

  • Katharina Schemoschek

    Katharina Schemoschek is passionate about all areas of workforce management and cultivates mutually beneficial relationships with customers.

    She joined INFORM's Aviation Division in 2015 as Marketing Manager. Since November 2017 she has moved to the Workforce Management Division as Business Development Manager.

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