By Nathan To (Davra Networks Intern)
For a lot of people, flying can be a stressful ordeal. Everything from lost luggage, getting lost, to subpar food can all add to a flyer’s anxiety. The experience associated with flying has gotten so bad that some people opt to avoid flying all together. Despite people choosing not to fly, airports are now busier than ever which only adds to a traveler’s stress levels. However, flying does not have to be a stressful ordeal; Internet of Things (IoT) technology can relieve a flyer’s stress and anxiety by making the airport experience more smooth. Airports can leverage IoT technology to make airport navigation easier, reduce anxiety related to checked baggage, and enable smart retail operations1.
Airport Navigation: Imagine a traveler who has 5 minutes to make a flight that is about to depart. If the traveler walks quickly, he will make it. However, there is a problem, he has no idea where the gate is and he has a hard time finding his gate on overhead signs and airport map kiosks. Although mapping services that provide directions already exist, they are typically not as accurate and many do not have building layouts mapped. In an instance like this, airport management can help a traveler by implanting Internet of Things (IoT) technology to help guide him2. Airports can integrate internet connected beacons or sensors around the terminal to ping a traveler’s mobile phone. These beacons combined with Wi-Fi triangulation can help determine a traveler’s exact location in the airport. A traveler’s exact location combined with an application that contains a map of the airport on the traveler’s mobile phone can help guide the traveler to the location of their gate.
Tracking Checked Baggage: Lost baggage can ruin a vacation or a business trip. Consequently, checking in luggage on a flight can cause a great deal of anxiety for a traveler. Fortunately, Internet of Things (IoT) technology can help reduce the stress related to checked baggage3. Internet connected sensors can be attached to checked baggage. Passengers can then monitor the location of their checked bag through their mobile phone as the bag makes its way along the airports conveyor belts and onto the plan or onto the baggage claim carrousel. Remote asset monitoring via IoT technology is already in use by many entities such as banks to protect assets remotely; why not use it to monitor checked baggage?
Smart Retail Operations: Many passengers opt to buy food and beverages on the ground before they board the airplane as many airlines no longer provide complimentary meals to passengers. Unfortunately, this can lead to long queues at concession stands and eateries at the airport. Although online meal pre-ordering does exist; typically, the person making the order can only select the approximate time they want the order ready. Due to delays or expeditions, the time the traveler select may not necessarily be the time the traveler arrives to pick up the order. Airport concessions and eateries can help reduce a flyer’s frustration with long queues by implementing Internet of Things (IoT) technology that will enable travelers to order meals and have them ready at the exact moment the traveler arrives to pick up the meal4. Using IoT technology, travelers can place an order ahead of time. The eatery can then track the person who made the order via their mobile phone. As soon as the person nears the eatery, the staff can then start preparing the food ahead of time so that as soon as the traveler reaches the eatery, their order is ready. Eateries can even go a step further and deliver the order straight to the traveler in the departure lounge using the traveler’s mobile phone as a sort of “beacon”.
Conclusion: Internet of Things (IoT) technology will can definitely reduce a flyer’s stress and anxiety steaming from airport navigation and checked baggage while making it easier for travelers to order food as they make their way through the airport. As airports continue to strain from the sheer amount of people passing through, airports will have to eventually upgrade their infrastructure. One of the most important infrastructure upgrades airports can embrace includes IoT technology as it will reduce a traveler’s stress levels significantly.
1. Garcia, Marissa. “3 Ways the Internet of Things Will Make Flying Less of a Hassle.” Skift.
June. 19, 2015.
2. Ed. “The future of IoT in airports – Lessons from London City Airport.” Bluesky, March. 10,
3. Kuzela, Cynthia. “IoT takes to the skies: More personalized experiences for passengers.”
Silicon Angle. July. 22, 2015.
4. Carrinton, Daisy. “London to create airport of the future with 'Internet of Things'.”
CNN. May. 2, 2013.
About The Author:
Nathan To is currently an Intern at Davra Networks. He will be a sophomore at the University of California Riverside in the fall where he is majoring in Business. In the past, Nathan was one of the leaders of his High School’s student iPad repair group. He has also moderated a panel on Student Experiences with Educational Technology at the annual Educational Learning Technology Consortium (ETLC) in Atherton CA.