August 2018: Buzzing around the airport

Wayfinding and location-based technology isn’t just about steering the masses around an airport. João Fernandes, founder and CEO of BuzzStreets, discusses the potential commercial opportunities available to airports using navigation and location-based service solutions.

What is BuzzStreets?

It’s a B2B navigation and location-based services solution. We combine indoor and outdoor navigation with technologies such as augmented reality and proximity-triggered offers, to create a bespoke solution for customer engagement. It’s a tool that can be used in airports, as well as shopping malls, stadiums, hospitals and even offices.

When did you launch BuzzStreets and what was the inspiration behind it?

We launched BuzzStreets in January 2016, but we had been working on the project for a year before then. It started out as a GPS system designed for city councils and local governments, offering accurate information based on real-time data available on an app. Then we progressed to a wayfinding and data collection system, which is what we offer currently – navigation for both inside and outside venues.

How does the navigation service work and how does it differ to existing wayfinding technology and airport apps?

We offer a bespoke service that is tailored to the type, size and individual challenges of each venue. There is no other service quite like ours, although others are trying to figure out how they can offer something similar.

How does it enhance the passenger experience?

Passengers have total independence to locate the store they want, their car in the parking space, the departure gate they’re looking for. It just makes the whole experience more seamless.

What do you consider to be the three biggest challenges for a passenger in their airport journey?

For me that would have to be how do I get to the airport on time (ie. what is the fastest and best mode of transport), where is my departure gate and how much time do I have to get there without missing my flight? BuzzStreets can answer all these questions and is scalable for airports of all sizes. We are currently working with Lisbon Airport, but hope to announce more airport partners soon.

How are you funding BuzzStreets?

We are currently a small team of four and, initially, we relied on crowdfunding to help finance this project. But we are now sustainable with our sales and are working on a new funding phase for the end of next year.

How does wayfinding technology benefit airports and passengers?

It’s all about increasing the user experience and encouraging passengers to spend more quality time in the airport. Getting to and from an airport, as well as navigating your way round an airport can be stressful. Having wayfinding technology will help reduce that stress and improve the overall passenger experience. Plus, as passengers are travelling to their gate or waiting to board their plane they can benefit from push notifications offering discount offers and vouchers from stores around them. Increased sales means increased ancillary revenue for airports too. So everyone’s happy.

What does the future hold for wayfinding technology in airports?

It won’t be long before wayfinding technology is standard in all airports. It will be like GPS for cars. Basically, airports are like giant shopping malls with aircraft parked around them. Improving and enhancing the passenger experience is integral to operations within the airport sector. The more time a passenger spends in an airport the more prone they are to spending. More revenues for retailers mean money for airports, so yes, I am confident we will be successful.


Written by: Chloe Greenbank
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