Airport installing tech to track TSA checkpoint crowds, increase retail activity

The waiting period to get through a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint is a major factor for travelers who are trying to determine when they need to leave for the airport or for how long they can hang out at the pre-TSA food court. If only there were a simple and accurate way to check on those wait times.

Thanks to new human analytics technology unveiled by Indianapolis International Airport officials on Wednesday, there is.

The Indianapolis Airport Authority has hired Anaheim, California-based analytics company Iinside to install its solution for monitoring passengers waiting in line at airport-security checkpoints.

The airport is adopting Iinside’s motion analytics platform in an effort to provide travelers with real-time updates on checkpoint wait times and to monitor traveler traffic in other parts of the airport—information airport officials say could help restaurants and retailers operating at the terminal.

“It's all about the customer experience,” Indianapolis Airport Authority Executive Director Mario Rodriguez said in written comments. “That's our primary goal, and the wait time calculators are the latest addition to a range of technology the airport and its partners offer to enhance the travel experience.”

The Iinside system uses light detection and ranging, or LiDAR, a 3D imaging technology best known for its use in autonomous vehicles, and applies machine learning to help airports better manage passenger movements, company officials said. 

Through real-time foot-traffic data and predictive analytics, airport managers can mitigate foot-traffic bottlenecks, Iinside officials said. And, by analyzing foot traffic in the airport, the system can be used to boost storefront retail sales. 

Kamel_mug_76x110 Kamel

According to Iinside CEO Sam Kamel, LiDAR uses safe, invisible laser beams to detect objects both in motion and at rest, and is more accurate than Bluetooth or Wi-Fi-based indoor location technology and better at safeguarding passenger identities than stereoscopic cameras.
TSA checkpoint wait time information will be presented to passengers in the terminal on the airport’s network of flight information displays and new LED digital signage being installed in Civic Plaza. The real-time TSA security checkpoint wait times also will be published on the airport’s website to give travelers information before they arrive at the airport.

"Indianapolis International Airport is providing tremendous value to its passengers by capturing real-time insight into how foot traffic is flowing through the facility,” Kamel said in a statement. “Sharing those insights with travelers can greatly improve their airport experience. Instead of being delayed by long security wait lines, travelers would know in advance to leave home early, or be informed of the quickest checkpoint.”

Local airport officials said they expect a number of travel-oriented companies—such as rideshare firms, taxi and shuttle companies, airlines and area hotels—to tap into the Iinside data to reduce stress among travelers and enhance the traveling experience in Indianapolis. Those companies can not only provide wait time notices but can also advise travelers of fastest curb-to-gate recommendations.

Kamel said his company continues to work on other uses of its technology in airports.

“We have so many ideas. And airports, as well as other participants in the travel ecosystem, are beginning to realize the new useful, passenger-friendly benefits travel time data can provide,” Kamel told Airport Experience News. “Indoor motion analytics can shed light on many parts of the passenger journey to and from the airport.”


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