Over the last few years, we have been working with airports on development of customer engagement and non-aeronautical revenues. We have participated in airport trials with mobile apps. We appreciate the many comments on this topic, usually expressed at industry conferences. We can also see the value proposition developing. But, there are some distinct problems in the current genre of airport mobile apps strategies, as we see it:
(1) if it's an airport app, then is it for a single platform? e.g. iPhone, which leaves other passengers using Android and Windows mobile platforms as non-participants. There is also the other problem of continually updating as each platform OS changes. Why not use the mobile's embedded browser to access a cloud-based app?
(2) in terms of the single purpose apps, this may suit many passengers who use only one or two airports. But for each airport, it means that the passenger now has to load a separate application - again, it's better to use a multi-airport app that is cloud-based.
(3) the Achilles heel of the current mobile apps is international roaming charges, when used globally. This issue has yet to be resolved - to the passenger's satisfaction
(4) apps, many of which we've tried, do not recognize passenger 'context' without many micro-access points, such as at Copenhagen. But generally, location-based services do not provide location accurately enough, if at all inside airport buildings. What is needed is a major expenditure for multiple access points.
Application developers of airport mobile have made a great start to improve the passenger experience. Now what's needed is the next logical extension of the platforms.
This is just our way of thinking - we're passengers too!
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