DHS Funds Airport Navigation App that Guides You from Check-in to Gate

It also allows federal agencies to send messages to passengers in real time.

The Homeland Security Department is investing in technology that helps air travelers navigate airport security and gives federal agents a direct line of communication with passengers.

The agency’s Science and Technology Directorate awarded a nearly $120,000 contract to LocusLabs to adapt their airport navigation application for Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The smartphone app would give passengers real-time location information and guide them from curb to gate using Google Maps-style directions. It would also let agencies immediately get in touch with everyone at the airport.

“This platform becomes a basis for a whole segment of smart building applications, like visitor wayfinding, asset tracking [and] staff dispatch,” said LocusLabs CEO and co-founder Campbell Kennedy told Nextgov. Instead of relying on physical signs and personnel to direct passengers, CBP and TSA can use the app to communicate through maps and personalized push notifications, he said.

The system would also help manage the flow of traffic through each segment of the airport.

Wait times at security and customs checkpoints are notoriously inconsistent, so planning for air travel requires a decent amount of guesswork, Kennedy said. But by analyzing GPS information and data feeds from Homeland Security, the app can calculate accurate wait times and point travelers to the fastest lanes to prevent them from clogging certain areas, he said.

The tool will also provide handicap-accessible routes and details on airport restaurants and shops, said Kennedy. And if it looks like you might miss your flight, it’ll even let you know to pick up the pace, he added.

The award came through the Homeland Security’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program, an in-house startup incubator that invests in technologies with national security applications. Kennedy said the company will spend roughly six months building a working prototype with CBP and TSA, and then launch a pilot program at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Separately, LocusLabs is also piloting an augmented reality navigation tool at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and London’s Heathrow Airport, according to Kennedy. By tapping into people’s smartphone cameras, the app would overlay directions and other helpful information directly their screens, he said.

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DHS Awards $119K to Locuslabs, Inc for Intelligent Wayfinding Tech

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced Sept. 10, that LocusLabs Inc. of Oakland, California has received $119,100 to develop wayfinding technology as part of the Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP).

LocusLabs received their award under the Real Time, Intelligent Traveler Wayfinding for the Federal Inspection Stations and Aviation Environment (Wayfinding) solicitation which seeks solutions to enhance the customs process for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) ports of entry.

The proposed solution is LocusMaps, an interactive navigation tool that would allow for bi-directional communication, meaning users can receive information from CBP on how to better navigate the customs process while airports receive information allowing them to identify and analyze bottlenecks.

“Enabling communication between travelers and CBP is an important feature in intelligent wayfinding,” said Arun Vemury, an S&T Borders and Maritime Program Manager. “Current wayfinding methods are typically a multitude of static signs directing travelers to queues. It can be difficult for some travelers to know which queue is right for them. Bi-directional communication would allow CBP to tailor instructions to better inform and serve travelers and to provide a more streamlined process.”

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Air Travel Industry Taps Into Micro-Moments for New Ancillary Revenue Opportunities

Find Your Way There
One clear micro-moment is in the booking phase: When someone books a flight, the opportunity presents itself to offer a hotel or rental car deal. Messaging is key here, both visually and in writing. Travelaer worked with Finnair to revamp the airline’s booking engine, empowering it to include hotel bookings and ancillary sales. “We started working with Finnair in 2016 and built upon all of our experiences working with stopovers and Icelandair for almost six years,” Slone says.

Travelaer learned how important the visual aspects of the process were to the traveler, and developed accordingly: “We combined a mapping element that is connected to the booking widget to display the customer’s itinerary and timeline on the map, so that customers could visualize what they were booking before they ever leave the booking widget.”

“Maps and augmented reality are the perfect canvas to surface contextualized information; they allow passengers to explore where they want to spend their time.” – Campbell Kennedy, LocusLabs

The term “customer journey” has reached buzzword status in the online retail community, but travelers are on a physical journey, too, opening up the opportunity for offline touchpoints. Advances in indoor mapping technology have provided new opportunities for reaching travelers in a rush: Five minutes is enough time for that cup of coffee from the café you didn’t even know was there. “In today’s world, where consumer experience is king – the experience era – it’s imperative to offer a great experience to increase customer loyalty, which inevitably leads to increased sales,” says Campbell Kennedy, CEO and co-founder of LocusLabs, an indoor wayfinding startup. “We also know that when passengers are less stressed, they spend more money, according to a recent SITA study.”

Like Travelaer, LocusLabs works closely with mapping technology, albeit at a different scale: “Since maps and augmented reality are the perfect canvas to surface contextualized information, offers or vouchers, they allow passengers to explore their options to see where they want to spend their time,” Kennedy says. “And often, time is money.”

Kennedy cites security queues as a squandered opportunity for airports to further engage their customers, adding that it would pay off if travelers knew exactly how far they were from their gate, which would in turn mean knowing how much time they have for shopping or a second drink at the bar. “The entire in-airport portion of the journey is largely missed,” he says. “Today’s airports have mostly physical signage and storefronts with almost nothing in the way of digital. However, look at all the people staring down at their phones next time you’re at an airport!”

The Smart Airport is a Very Different Prospect to Other Smart Buildings

You may not be surprised to hear that there has been another partnership between a lighting firm and an IT company. Such has been the surge of lighting into the IT sector that it seems that every month we see a new IT – lighting relationship forming.

Many have been strategic partnerships while others are more high profile acquisitions. Just in the last few years for example; Redwood Systems was bought by CommScope; Distech Controls was acquired by Acuity Brands for $252 million; Daintree Networks was bought by GE’s Current for $77 million.More recently Sensity Systems was bought by Verizon and OSRAM acquired Digital Lumens. Partnerships meanwhile are too numerous to list in this article.

Some deals are a little different however, and spark a more interesting discussion on the smartification of our lighting systems. The recent deal between LED lighting stalwart Acuity Brands and indoor mapping software specialist LocusLabs may seem typical at first glance. However, the scale and progressive nature of Acuity combined with LocusLabs transport specific market points to a continuing smart building trend – the smart airport.

Airports have long been at the forefront of technology, especially security technology in this day and age. High energy prices have also driven airports to seek out strategies for greater energy efficiency through lighting and HVAC – the foundation of the smart building movement. However, few airports have brought all their connected systems together in a way that we could be confident to call a truly smart airport.

The reality is that an airport is a very different prospect to other smart buildings, and it is likely for this reason that deployment of integrated smart systems have been relatively slow. In many ways an airport is more like a city than a building, with a broad variety of activities and a nature fairly independent of its surrounding environment.

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Acuity teams with indoor mapping firm that has big airport presence

The LED smart lighting stalwart adds another arrow to its navigation quiver, joining forces with LocusLabs, which has outfitted DFW and others

Another day, another matchup between a lighting company and an IT firm in an effort to turn lighting infrastructure into intelligent data networks. This time, LED lighting stalwart Acuity Brands has teamed with LocusLabs, an indoor mapping software specialist which has provided wayfinding programs to major airports such as Dallas/Fort Worth International.

LocusLabs is enabling its “location as a service” technology to work with Acuity’s Atrius, which is Acuity’s catch-all brand of an ever-widening set of smart lighting and lighting-based Internet of Things (IoT) services.

Acuity already offers indoor positioning services (IPS) through Atrius, so LocusLabs adds another arrow to the Acuity IPS quiver. LocusLabs has already installed its technology at airports including DFW as well as Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport, helping passengers call up maps on their phones that guide them to terminals and shops. The lights are not involved in those cases.

Atlanta-based Acuity said LocusLabs’ LocusMaps application “powers navigation in hundreds of millions of mobile devices used at airports, retail malls, multi-floor buildings, and campuses, making it easy to search, discover, and navigate large, complex indoor spaces.”

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LocusLabs, Inc. to Expand Capabilities with the Atrius IoT Platform

LocusLabs, Inc. plans to enable its location-as-a-service platform to take advantage of the Atrius IoT platform’s location-based services (LBS) and indoor positioning services (IPS). LocusMaps, the LocusLabs indoor mapping and navigation application, powers navigation in hundreds of millions of mobile devices used at airports, retail malls, multi-floor buildings and campuses, making it easy to search, discover and navigate large, complex indoor spaces.

Leveraging the Atrius IoT platform, LocusLabs plans to develop upgraded mapping and pathing applications that deliver a superior navigation experience for visitors, while enhancing business operations through improved traffic flows and faster time-to-destination.

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Atrius Partner Profile: LocusLabs,Inc

Enabled with Atrius: LocusMaps

Atrius Platform Services Leveraged : Atrius Navigator – Indoor Positioning Services

Applications Served: Airports, Retail, Multi-floor Buildings and Campuses

TripIt Will Now Tell You How Long It Takes to Get to Your Gate

Not sure how far around the bend Gate 22 is? You no longer need to live in uncertainty.

If you’re one of those people who hesitates in the airport by an Auntie Anne’s, unsure of how far your gate is—and unsure about what food options lurk beyond—then have we got news for you: An update to the TripIt app, released today, now lets travelers see the distance between two specific points in an airport and get step-by-step walking directions for the shortest route between them.

Specifically, the app update includes enhanced airport maps that show charging stations, ATMs, restrooms, dining options, and more. Got a tight connection? The app will also show you how long it will take to move from terminal to terminal or gate to gate, and adds directions for the most direct route—think of it like Google Maps, but for an airport concourse. Enter your itinerary, and airport maps will be available for each leg of your trip under the app’s “flight details” tab.

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