Tag: JFK airport

Mobile phones tracked through JFK Airport to shorten lineups

The busy New York City airport is trying out a new way to try to reduce waiting time through tech.

A new technology based test is now underway at JFK Airport in New York City, which involves tracking the signals from passenger mobile phones in order to reduce the length of lines and, therefore, the amount of time people spend waiting as they make their way to board their planes and as they progress through the arrivals process.

This is the busiest commercial airport in the city and is known for presenting some usage challenges.

Due to the confusion many passengers routinely feel as they attempt to use JFK Airport, the facility is aiming to use the technology in mobile phones to shorten lineups and wait times to provide at least a little bit of relief from the overall stress being felt. In this effort, new geolocation technology devices have been installed in the airport’s Terminal Four. The tech is from Blip Systems, a Denmark based company, and it works to track the movements of passengers as they make their way through the areas of the airport that experience the highest levels of congestion.

The use of mobile phones makes this program different from what most other airports have tried.

Mobile Phones Tracking -  Image of JFK AirportSimilar types of strategy have been made in other airports around the world. For instance, in London City Airport, cameras have been used to add a “pixel” on the heads of passengers as they move throughout the airport. The geolocation technology from Blip doesn’t require the use of cameras as it tracks the signals from mobile phones, instead.

Sensors have been placed in strategic points throughout Terminal Four. Those sensors are able to detect devices that have been Bluetooth or WiFi enabled, such as smartphones, tablets and even e-readers. The information collected is the movement of that person, the length of time they spend waiting in a specific location and their level of flow when traveling from one location to the next, within the facility.

According to Blip, in a description of the way the mobile phones are used for movement tracking, “When a device passes the sensors, its non-personal unique ID – called a MAC address – is recorded, encrypted and time-stamped. By re-identifying the device from multiple sensors, the travel times, dwell times and movement patterns become available.”

Geolocation beacons let JFK share actual wait times

Location based technology is now being used to be able to display the length of time major lines will take.

One of the world’s largest airports – the busiest one in New York – is now using geolocation beacons to be able to provide people with the actual wait times that they will face when they enter into a major lineup.

This new system will be powered by BlipTrack beacons from BLIP Systems, which is based in Denmark.

This geolocation technology beacon installation was put into place by Lockheed Martin. This system has been implemented with the intention of making it easier for passengers to make through Terminal 4 at JFK Airport. Thirteen new screens have been installed in order to display estimated processing times. These large-size screens are prominently displayed and have been installed at the checkpoints for TSA Security and Customers and Border Protection. There is also an indoor taxi lineup display.

The geolocation beacons make it possible for continual updates to be presented to travelers.

Geolocation - JFK AirportAccording to the JFKAT vice president, Daryl Jameson, “It continuously updates”. JFKIAT is the company behind the operation of Terminal 4. So far, people are responding well to having the information available to them, as they know how long they will have to wait in the lines, and aren’t left wondering. As lineups aren’t an activity that most people enjoy, this “signage helps to manage expectations.”

The beacons work by conducting anonymous tracking of the mobile devices of passengers as they make their way through the airport. This way, while the individuals aren’t identified, the length of time that they spend in certain processing locations can be determined. The BlipTrack solution detects devices running on WiFi or Bluetooth and that are in “discoverable” mode, such as in tablets and smartphones.

Once one of these devices makes its way past one of the geolocation beacons, the beacon records the mobile device’s non-personal unique ID (it’s MAC address), which is then encrypted and time stamped. When that device is identified once again at other beacon locations, patterns among travelers can be established so that wait and travel times can be measured.