Cincinnati airport tracking Wi-Fi devices to monitor security wait-time

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By Phi Tran Comments

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Wading through airport security can be treacherous for travelers as it often means hours in line with the possibility of missed flights. What if we could skip all of that just by having our Wi-Fi devices tracked?

The technology being used from Blip Systems has already been installed at airports in Amsterdam, Dubai, Geneva, Oslo, and Toronto. Now, it’s coming to Cincinnati’s airport – a declining transportation hub that’s seen a drop from 2008’s 13.6 million passengers to just 5.7 million passengers in 2013.

To date, approximately 50% of passengers have Wi-Fi enabled devices, which are capable of emitting data points which can help airport engineers monitor movements and traffic in security lines, which are passed onto passengers as estimated wait-times.

Sharing this information can help lower stress associated with traveling. “When you proactively have that information, the passengers are actually much calmer, and they find the queuing experience less daunting,” said Martin Bowman, director of global airports for Lockheed Martin. Cincinnati will be the first airport to use this technology with hopes that it can also increase sales and revenues in its shops and restaurants – amenities travelers can use if provided with accurate wait-times.

The BlipTrack solution works by collecting data from BLIP Systems’ Bluetooth and Wi-Fi sensors as well as third-party data sources.

The raw data from the sensors is encrypted and transferred in real-time via Ethernet or mobile broadband to a secure cloud server.

Airport officials claim there is no personal or private data gathered to warrant public notification, but would travelers notice that devices are being tracked around aggressive security gates? The same technology has potential for tracking dangerous terrorists. Clip Systems encrypts data before transferring the information to its servers, but that’s no guarantee that it can’t be hacked or be used by the NSA to find persons of interest.