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Deep Location: New Buzzword at Airports

Wayfinding technology is the latest digital navigation platform aimed at directing people around airports

November 11, 2019

Following a successful launch at Gatwick, Pointr, a London-based deep location technology is finding its way to airports in Washington D.C. as part of a pilot program introduced by the US Department of Homeland Security.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) has awarded Pointr a six-figure contract to provide indoor location GPS for Washington Dulles International (IAD) and Ronald Reagan Washington National (DCA).

While GPS is now at anyone’s fingertips for navigating the great outdoors and cities around the world, buildings hate GPS. Signals inside structures are only approximate and based on the general territory of the signal, not the explicit location. Deep location technology changes that with information pinpointing the exact location of a person or place inside a large structure, such as an airport facility. Pointr’s Deep Location platform provides location-based services such as mapping, navigation and asset tracking, location-based marketing and powerful location analytics.  

In London Pointr’s technology has been installed at King’s Cross Station, Harrods and Gatwick Airport. An app is downloaded and then provides directions to the a location, gate, a concession or whatever product is sought. At Gatwick, two terminals have been fitted with around 2,000 battery-powered beacons providing a digital map to give users an accurate blue dot that moves, Uber-style, as they wander around.

Pointr’s ultimate goal is to build augmented reality wayfinding, which, when viewed through a smartphone, could actually place arrows on the floor to guide the way.

Airports may soon be able to integrate indoor positioning in their own apps, and be able to send push notifications to warn passengers if they’re running late or even help them consider offloading luggage so an aircraft can make an on-time departure. Retailers also stand to gain from the use of deep location technology to detect the location of potential shoppers and send marketing messages and offers — to those who have opted in to receive them.