SITA and Copenhagen Airport Launch the World’s First Indoor Augmented Reality Application

Copenhagen Airport, and air transport IT provider SITA, has announced that the world’s first indoor augmented reality application will be available for passengers to use at the airport in coming weeks. Harnessing innovative technology, the app has conquered the limitations of indoor geo-localisation services allowing passengers to use augmented reality to plan their time inside Copenhagen Airport and to get information on gates, shops, restaurants and other services in a fun and interactive way.

Christian Poulsen, IT Director of Copenhagen Airports A/S, said: “As one of the world’s leading airports, Copenhagen Airport is always trying to improve the experience passengers have. This exciting way to use new technology gives passengers a new dimension to their stay at the airport which makes it even easier for them to plan their time.

“More than 100,000 users have downloaded our iPhone app so far, and we’ve had good feedback from passengers. That’s why we’ve decided to take the next step now and upgrade the app to also include an augmented reality function. We have submitted it to the Apple app store and expect it to be available for download in the coming weeks.”

Using the app, passengers can find information on where they are in the airport, what services are available in their vicinity and how they can find their gate, all by using the iPhone’s camera to “scan” their immediate surroundings.

Typically for augmented reality applications, GPS is used to determine the user’s location however because GPS signals cannot penetrate concrete structures like terminal buildings, this does not successfully work inside. This app, developed by a combined team from the airport, SITA Lab, SITA’s research group and Novasa, uses triangulation and signal strength from Wi-Fi access points to determine the location of individual passenger mobile phones. In doing so, Copenhagen Airport can now offer its passengers the world’s first true augmented reality application that works indoors.

Jim Peters, SITA chief technology officer who heads up the SITA Lab, said: “This innovation by SITA Lab is a breakthrough not only for the airport industry but for anybody who wants to develop an augmented reality application that works indoors. Copenhagen Airport can give up to date information that is relevant to passengers in their exact location. In time, the airport can work with retailers to offer specific promotions to passengers which will encourage more business.”

Since its establishment three years ago, award-winning SITA Lab has gained a reputation as a powerhouse of innovation. In February, it launched the world’s first Facebook application that allows users to book and check-in for flights with full integration into their social graph. Last year it developed MHDeals the first augmented reality application for an airline. This allows users to pick up the best Malaysia Airlines deals from nearby airports. It also worked with Malaysia Airlines to launch the world’s first kiosks to sell airline tickets using the Apple iPad.

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