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Japan Airlines to Track Gate Agents With Smart Watches and iBeacons

Jul 14, 2014 9:30 am

Skift Take

Smart of JAL to use the technology to better position staff and communicate. As wearable tech goes, watches are less creepy than face computers like Google Glass.

— Jason Clampet

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Japan Airlines Co, Ltd. (JAL) has announced that it will collaborate with Nomura Research Institute, Ltd (NRI) on a trials of iBeacon and smartwatch technology on passenger service personnel at Haneda airport’s Domestic Terminal 1.

While most recently airlines have discussed plans to use beacons for tracking the position of their passengers in the Terminal, Google Glasses for customer service, and relaying flight information to customer’s smart watches–including boarding passes–JAL has decided that the best use of this new technology is to track and improve the efficiency of its gate agents.

“JAL aims to serve passengers in immediate response and be able to efficiently assign staff in the front line by using advanced technology,” the airline states. “Frontline staff can check and share the latest information related to their business activities by using wearable device smartwatch.”

Linking with the smartwatches assigned to the personnel who will participate in the trials, the beacons installed at each boarding gate will relay staff positioning information to a controller desk. A specially designed tracking program, developed by NRI, reveals the proximity of staff in the area who could be assigned to to serve passengers.

JAL is also keeping its options open on wearable tech, it will trial the GALAXY Gear Fit, GALAXY Gear2, and Android Wear based LG G Watch.

The airline says this trial forms part of its “Embrace New Challenges JAL” program. The trial will begin on July 16, 2014 and is planned to last a month.

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