MIAMI — KLM has launched a new beacon-based service that will help passengers navigate Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Travelers can download an app on their smartphones that, when they arrive at the airport, will display a map of the facility that will show them the route they need to take to get to their next date and the time required to get there.
“Customer feedback, especially on social media, told us that passengers – even experienced travelers – often worry about transferring to another flight,” said Martijn van der Zee, senior vice president of E-Commerce for Air France KLM in a press release. “Sixty-seven percent of our passengers at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol are transfer passengers. KLM aims to improve customers’ travel experience with this service.”
So during the summer, the Dutch flag carrier installed a “significant” number of beacons at all piers, KLM lounges and hallways of its home airport, said spokesman Joost Ruempol. It then worked with select customers to thoroughly test the technology.
KLM did several studies on beacon and routing suppliers and ended up partnering with Indoo.rs, based in Austria, on the navigation system, said Ruempol. “They provided a [software development kit], which has been implemented in our core app by our in-house development team,” he said.
Passengers with the KLM app on their phones who have turned on Bluetooth and connected to the Internet via Schiphol’s free WiFi, they get a notification asking if they need help finding their next gate when they pass a beacon.
The app shows them the route they need to take. It also tells them how long it will take them to walk there. “This is calculated using the amount of meters from the user’s position to their next gate, the average walking time and the average waiting time at security filters,” said Ruempol.
The indoor navigation service works even if the passenger’s flight is departing from a different level. The route and time are updated every time the passenger passes a beacon. “The beacon technology helps KLM to offer the right service at the right place at the right time, by specifically helping passengers in transfer to find their next gate,” said Ruempol. “Passengers informed us through our social channels that they find this very helpful and are requesting a further roll-out to other airports.”
The service is currently available for Android smartphones and will be available for iOS by the end of the month.