What can airports equipped with indoor positioning and navigation offer passengers?

Tuomas Ilola: With Steerpath’s wayfinding functionality, passengers can easily discover all the services that are available to them in an airport, including those that are out of sight or hard to find. Thanks to this, airports can use their space better and customers can make full use of airport services with the confidence that they won’t get lost or miss their flights. In fact, mobile boarding passes can be used to share passenger locations with their operating airlines, helping to ensure that everyone makes their flights on time.

Passenger groups can also use this location-sharing functionality to keep track of each-other’s positions, allowing them to move independently and thus increasing the chance that they will make purchases.

The same technology can also be used to provide specific passengers with improved VIP service or special assistance by tracking them through the terminal. As the positioning, wayfinding and maps work even while completely offline, there is no risk of anything being compromised or anyone getting lost because of connection issues.

How does Steerpath provide this?

Steerpath offers a complete system for creating, publishing and maintaining a venue’s map data across websites, mobile apps and kiosks. On top of this, the company offers indoor wayfinding and positioning solutions, which improve customer experience and, with personnel and asset-tracking capabilities, workplace efficiency.

Steerpath was founded in 2013, the same year that Apple released its first iBeacon specification for indoor positioning. Key to our growth was realising that this was no more than half a solution. Its value only becomes clear when it’s combined with contemporary indoor maps, powerful routing capabilities and contextual data. That’s why we focus on providing clients with a comprehensive map-centric system that is consistent across all media, as well as being easy to use and integrate. Our most recent innovation is Steerpath asset tracking, which uses the same wireless infrastructure to share live positioning data for important objects across venues.

What difference can it make for airport operators and staff?

In essence, Steerpath gives staff and management a single, consistent, real-time view of what’s happening around them. The technology empowers managers and employees to make the right choices and decisions as quickly as possible.

One of the main inefficiencies in airports is the amount of time staff spend searching for people and assets. Particularly given the size of many terminals, the time spent locating each stray item, specialist or passenger in need quickly adds up. Radios can sometimes make the process quicker, but their use often ends up disrupting more staff.

By contrast, Steerpath’s personnel tracking gives managers and staff live updates on each other’s positions, saving time and streamlining communication. Steerpath maps display the positions and movements of assets like wheelchairs, trolleys and movable displays, which means that significantly less work is required to locate and use them.

Third-party sensors and GPS-based asset or vehicletracking systems can easily be integrated into the system to give airport operators complete situational awareness. Even while displaying a lot of data, the vector-based maps never get cluttered, so it’s possible to stay informed at a glance.

How does Steerpath’s technology work, and how do you set it up?

As Bluetooth is the most universal technology suitable for offline location services and machine-to-machine communications, our indoor positioning is based on Bluetooth beacons, small transmitters with a battery life of over four years. They’re ready to go as soon as they’re attached to the ceiling, and Steerpath provides the installation plan and beacons pre-configured to ensure a hassle-free deployment.

In order to support offline functionality and an unlimited number of simultaneous users, all positioning calculations happen on users’ phones. This minimises privacy concerns and makes the system suitable for security sensitive applications, as mobile devices will not send any information to Steerpath servers unless authorised to do so.

Steerpath uses customer data to create the initial map, and can provide input on how to manage future updates while seamlessly linking them to map media. Moreover, the system’s interface allows it to integrate with third-party systems to simply and efficiently receive or broadcast updated information like tenant names, access control status and occupancy.