Beacons, We Have Lift-Off

June 25, 2015

By Daniel Tollefsen, Proxbook Project Manager, Unacast.

The beacon revolution has been the topic du jour for a while now and we are as excited as ever to see how it will change the proximity market. As we see that the physical and digital world are converging with the introduction of beacon technology, international airlines and airports have taken a keen interest in the potential applications of beacon deployments.

As of today only 9% of airlines have experimented with beacons and very few have large scale active deployments, but 44% of carriers indicate that they will invest in the technology by 2018.

Currently, the majority of location based services offered by airlines include check-in apps and security check push notifications.

A survey of dozens of international airlines worldwide conducted by SITA, a multinational airline technology company, concludes that travel experiences will soon become much less stressful with the introduction of new applications of beacon technology. Concepts such as baggage tracking are said to be on the horizon and we’re already seeing proximity companies implementing solutions for airport navigation. Investing in this technology will allow airlines to reduce the frantic nature of travel and also target their passengers more accurately with push-notification offers.

Beacon technology in airports

Estimote and easyJet have partnered to roll out beacon technology in three of their busiest airports. London Gatwick, London Luton, and Charles de Gaulle are the first airports to employ the Estimote fleet integrated with the easyJet application. The app, which has been download 9.2 million times, automatically notifies passengers along their hectic journey from check-in to arriving at the gate. These customer interactions are facilitated by triggering beacons while passengers move throughout the airport. is a beacon software company which has established itself in the field of navigation, often using’s beacons in combination with their own applications. partnered with KLM to create a user-friendly navigational tool for passengers travelling through Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. This app interacts with beacons implemented all over the airport to ensure that customers find their gate, make it on time, and are updated on transfer-flight information.

Success with beacon implementation

A notable company to keep an eye out for is Spark Compass. Their success with the San Diego Convention Center beacon implementation proved that they are more than capable of managing large-scale roll-outs. Currently, Spark Compass is working on enterprise level installations not limited to specific stores and gates, with airports on the global scale. This could lead to an ‘internationally comfortable’ travel experience.

We have already seen proximity companies engaging in the navigational aspect of beacon technology in airports, but we are likely to see significant leaps in different applications to improve the passenger journey as well as the accuracy of targeting “happy travelers.”