This past weekend, an enthusiastic team from Searidge Technologies and NATS participated in the first ever international airport {Re} Coding Aviation event in Berlin at hub:raum, a Deutsche Telekom incubator. This 48-hour hack fest saw seven international airports open up their APIs and datasets for teams to create new applications to improve the overall passenger experience.

The event was the first time so many industry professionals joined together to collaborate and share data to improve the passengers’ experience, with around 40 teams and over 200 people taking part. It was divided into four main themes – life before the airport, life at the airport, life in between airports and life after the airport – which together cover all aspects of air travel, from home to destination.

Our six-member team worked tirelessly over the weekend to create an innovative application to optimise passenger flow at an airport. Our passenger app, ‘ORKESTAL’, was built around a gaming concept of treasure hunting (similar to Pokemon Go) with a rich mix of experiences to encounter, including augmented-reality; problem solving; information gathering; wayfinding; and social connection… all designed to get passengers to the gate on time and enjoy the experience!

The user plays mini games (e.g. baggage snake, aircraft-shaped Tetris), unlocked by collecting gems at the airport. The gems are places strategically and adaptively, based on the current wait times at the security checks and check-in counters.

With this app, we improved the passenger experience by gamification of the airport processes; actively reducing congestion and wait times. The app moved passengers intelligently around the airport and towards their gate, through dynamic routing algorithms that optimise passenger and airport needs in real-time.

The NATS-Searidge team

The potential benefits for airports included making them more efficient, allowing for higher throughput and improving their customers’ overall experience.

We worked well together, effectively leveraging the various skills of each team member to optimize our time. The result of all the hard work…we had one of the top apps at the event, making us a finalist of the hackathon! But, beyond that, the event showed us that this way of Searidge and NATS working together could fundamentally change how we approach new concept development.

Mark Flanigan, NATS Chief Innovation Officer, said:  “The accelerated ‘product’ production during the weekend was beyond anything I’ve seen in even our most agile of projects.  We intend to build on the work, refine it, and start to apply the due diligence of Product Management, with a view to market validation and, all being well, launch with a UK partner airport.”


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