Glenn Tinley, Mexia Interactive’s President, revealed that Eddystone beacons are already being tested in the Mexia lab, and “we are also beginning testing in three airports, although not public tests as yet”. Public tests in airports could happen as soon as Q4, he said.
Tinley is predicting higher beacon adoption rates over the next 18-24 months, and he said Mexia is well prepared to support both iBeacon and Eddystone deployments thanks to the fact that its SMRT Sensor IoT Platform includes two beacons within each sensor. “The purpose of this was to be prepared for an event such as this, in that Google and Apple, although providing some cross-platform support, will always be competitors. By having two beacons, USB powered within our Sensor and having remote access in order to update firmware etc., we are able to ensure that our airport clients are not left with a platform or system that may cause issues with ongoing marketing, analytics or other mobile strategies.” Thanks to this approach, he is confident that Mexia’s solution is a “scalable future-proof platform”.
With Google joining Apple as a major player in the beacons market, the technology’s reach has been amplified, but beyond the more basic retailing use cases – such as sending discount codes to devices within their range – what other opportunities exist?
Tinley said Mexia is already working on and deploying programmes such as “blue-dot wayfinding, asset tracking/management, real-time wait time indication to boarding passes, and proximity based flight information”.
Virgin Atlantic’s Graham highlighted improved wayfinding and navigation as a potential benefit. “Getting passengers to the right gate on time and, possibly, being able to help pinpoint missing passengers much more easily would be of great benefit,” he said.
Tarek Abdel-Halim, the airline’s Managing Director of eCommerce & Passenger Systems, said he and his United colleagues are “really excited” about these broad opportunities. “We see a lot of potential around improving the customer experience by knowing their location; providing indoor navigation and walk times; crowd sourcing security wait times and sharing that information – just to name a few examples. There’s a large number of use cases; from customer-facing, to employee-facing, to operational back office. Many of these possibilities are long-term, and we’ll look to gather feedback from customers on their expectations and preferences as we develop any product or solution with this technology.” He will share more information on United Airlines’ intentions in these areas in his presentation at FTE Global 2015.