If you ever wondered about how important indoor navigation is, then just look at the Rio Airport. Host country of the 2016 Olympics anticipated the amount of foot traffic they were going to have and made the necessary changes. In 2016, that means an app!
The RIOgaleao-Tom Jobim International Airport
The RIOgaleao-Tom Jobim International Airport had over 1.5-million visitors for the Olympics. With that amount of new traffic in the location, it was important to have a way to let visitors know where to go. The numbers for the airport are huge and indoor navigation is difficult, if not impossible. It has more than 500,000 square meters of space and it’s known to be one of the busiest airports. It employs over 17,000 people and has two terminals that manage 27 different airlines. In terms of vendors there are more than 200.
With those numbers alone it is difficult to learn how to maneuver for locals, much less for foreigners. In 2014 the RIOgaleao Company took over with a long-term 25-year contract. When they moved in, they assessed the numbers and realized quickly that the growing demand of customers made it virtually impossible to meet their needs. This is where technology came into play.
Changes to Come
Airport CIO Alexandre Villeroy stated that they understand the impossible nature of running business for the rest of their contract without significant changes, indoor navigation being one of them. Attributing new management as the impetus, the airport’s detailed infrastructure to find corrective plans to manage anticipated growth is underway. The Olympics brought a sense of urgency to their planning. Villeroy stated that an average day brings 45,000 people to the airport, but prior to the Olympics they were planning for twice as much foot traffic.
After vetting options, the airport’s officials found that Hewlett Packard Enterprises had the best solution for their needs in terms of wiring. They upgraded to HPE data systems and it included the Meridian mobile app, among other important upgrades. The app however was one that made it easier for people to maneuver through the airport with their devices and indoor navigation capability. The key was to make a more stable and quickly-accessible network and to improve on the before-sketchy Wi-Fi capability.
The RIOgaleao introduced their free mobile app for both iOS and Android-based devices. It allows for indoor navigation at a turn-by-turn detail level. The directions can be provided in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Passengers can use it to maneuver through the entire airport from baggage to waiting area to terminal and even to local shops and restaurants within the airport. They can even track the status of their flights, find out parking fees, and gather general information about the airport. Anything they need, they can find with the app.
In the future, the airport plans on incorporating app check-in, boarding baggage check and security via the app. The goal is to allow visitors to spend less time waiting and more time enjoying the beautiful airport and all it has to offer. This is just one example of how important indoor navigation is becoming.