INFORM explains the benefits of using beacon technology to improve assistance for Passengers with Reduced Mobility (PRM)

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INFORM’s specialist Michael Reinkober, Product Manager at INFORM, was invited to speak at Passenger Terminal Expo and Conference (PTE) on how beacon technology can support PRM assistance at airports.

As one of the most important events in the airport and airline industry, the PTE took place in Amsterdam in March 2017. It attracted a total of 6,800 visitors and more than 225 exhibitors. This year Michael Reinkober was invited to talk about enhanced allocation of Meet & Assist / PRM agents using beacon technology.  He demonstrated what PRM Services and Tracking have in common, and presented a solution to overcome the challenges whilst also improving passenger experience. Michael has been implementing real-time staff management systems at airports across Europe since joining INFORM in 1998.

recent report conducted by OCS, a total facilities management provider, disclosed the needs of 534 air passengers with reduced mobility. Anxiety, frustration and inconvenience are just some of the feelings these travelers used to describe their experience with the assistance provided at airports. Some of them worry they will not be returned to the aircraft on time or even that they will not be picked up by the agent. Others described everyday services such as using the toilet or shopping facilities as currently being inaccessible premium services. Ultimately, PRMs want to be able to travel as independently and confidently as other passengers.  PRMs could experience greatly enhanced ease and independence during their journey if PRM service providers used beacon technology to assist and guide them, in addition to providing other, nice-to-have services, such as real-time updates on their flight status or duty-free promotions.

Beacon Technology has been identified as one of the technologies set to revolutionize the airport and airline industry in 2017. As tech-savvy passengers use their mobile devices more than ever before, airports should take the opportunity to enhance end-to-end passenger experience by seamlessly connecting to passengers’ smartphones. Since GPS is not a suitable option for indoor use, beacons help close this gap.  In fact, both passengers and PRM service providers would benefit from using one source of data that feeds into two platforms: a passenger app and the PRM management software. In this way, the app could provide a way for PRM passengers to connect with the airport’s infrastructure and communicate with a PRM agent directly, while the PRM service provider could ascertain the passengers’ location, the degree of assistance needed in addition to other, flight-related information within the PRM management software. As PRM agents are equipped with mobile devices, they are able to interact with the passengers via app, and their current task and location are automatically transmitted to the PRM management software.

“Beacon technology can help overcome the challenges PRM service providers face; we are able to show how certain service improvements can lead to an enhanced overall passenger experience,” concludes Michael. If you would like further information watch our workshop “Efficient Meet and Assist PRM Operations with iBeacons”  that took place at the Passenger Terminal Conference. Request your video access here.


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