The ubiquitous Smartphone can help speed passengers through the security line
A Danish IT company has installed sensors at New York City’s John F Kennedy (JFK) International Airport to take advantage of the widespread carrying of Smartphones and tablets to help managers drive down queuing times, considers Christian Carstens, Marketing Co-ordinator of Aalborg-based BLIP Systems.
Carstens says: “BlipTrack sensors detect Wi-Fi or Bluetooth devices in ‘discoverable’ mode, found in mobile phones and tablets. When a device passes sensors, its non-personal unique ID – called a MAC address – is recorded, encrypted and time-stamped. By re-identifying the device from multiple sensors, travel times, dwell times and movement patterns in the terminals become available.”
With growing numbers of airport visitors carrying Smartphones or tablets, it does not matter that some are not yet equipped with such technology. Carstens says: “The sensors are capable of collecting data from approximately 50% of all people in an area, which is more than enough to measure flow, travel times and so on.”
Libertarian concerns as to ‘Big Brother’-type surveillance from the system are rebutted by Carstens. He says: “The solution protects individuals’ privacy by having the individual BlipTrack sensors convert the detected mobile devices, which contain no personal information, into anonymised and encrypted hashes. The solution does not register or collect any personal information. A MAC address is not associated with any personal information.”
BLIP Systems is a privately held information technology firm and was established with a vision of using new connectivity possibilities in mobile devices, such as Bluetooth and WiFi, to deliver proximity services to end-users. Today, BLIP Systems is one of the leading providers of data analytic tools to transform traveller flow into value, and create easy-to-interpret decision-making tools for end-users.
BlipTrack solution is an in-house designed platform for data collection, analysis and reporting: a solution with high-tech sensors, third party data integration, a hosted analysis platform and a web-based user interface. With more than 5,000 units deployed worldwide, BlipTrack is a solution for measuring travel times, queue and flow, notes Carstens. The solution is installed in over 23 international airports, including JFK, Amsterdam, Dubai, Dublin, Toronto, Barcelona, Auckland, Cincinnati, Brussels, Manchester, Milan, Copenhagen, Helsinki and Oslo.