Beacons and NFC RFID Take Off at Bologna Airport

Since June, passengers at the Italian airport have been able to access information about flights, security and buses via Bluetooth beacons installed at various locations, as well as NFC RFID tags attached to posters.
By Claire Swedberg
Jul 25, 2016

Bologna Gugliemo Marconi Airport has launched a Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID and Bluetooth beacon solution that allows commuters to access content about the airport, as well as the city beyond, via their mobile phones or other smart devices. The One Touch BLQ system—which uses the airport's BLQ app in conjunction with Connecthings content-management software, NFC RFID labels and Bluetooth beacons—was taken live early last month. The airport has installed signs containing NFC RFID labels (printed with QR codes) in some parts of its facility, and beacons in others that transmit data directly to passengers' devices running the airport app.

Connecthings is now in discussions with Bologna officials to enable the city's app to provide bus information at bus shelters, and at other sites around the city as well.

A sign installed inside Bologna Gugliemo Marconi Airport explains how to use the One Touch BLQ system.
Bologna Gugliemo Marconi Airport, which served nearly seven million passengers flying through the airport last year, has one runway, 24 gates and 10 security checkpoints. Silvia Lombardi, Bologna Airport's IT and innovations manager, says the facility wanted to provide a smart and modern way for terminal visitors in transit to receive contextualized information, and to improve their overall passenger experience.

The Connecthings solution enables the airport to employ a variety of technologies for multiple use cases. In some situations, for instance, passengers want to receive push notifications on their devices as they move through the airport (at check-in, for example, nearly every traveler would appreciate receiving information regarding pending flights). Sometimes, only some passengers want specific information, such as instructions indicating how they should put their bags through screening. In that case, signs fitted with an NFC tag and a QR code allow those individuals to access the information they seek. For instance, if a passenger is in the baggage-claim area, she can access data about the carousel she is looking for, but only if she requests such information by using the signage's NFC or QR-code functionality.

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