Asked Questions

Why would an airport want or need a mobile app?

As of 2015, almost two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, and nearly 20% rely on a smartphone “for accessing online services and information and for staying connected to the world around them.” Mobile apps offer numerous opportunities to improve the passenger experience and non-aeronautical revenue by providing on-demand information about flights, concessionaires, terminal navigation and more. Phunware’s airport solution also provides advanced analytics about who passengers are and where they go, so airport administrators can fine-tune operations.

What is the difference between native mobile apps and responsive design / mobile webview experiences?

Although it can cost little to nothing to make the design of your website mobile-responsive, mobile websites can’t compete with native mobile app accessibility or features. They also can’t be viewed without an internet connection, and they can’t integrate with or take advantage of handheld device features like the camera, accelerometer and GPS. Finally, mobile websites don’t support some critical features very well (like interactive mapping), and they don’t support others (like beacon integration, push notifications and flight alerts) at all.

Mobile websites can help improve your web-based search rankings and make basic airport information widely available, but native apps drive real customer engagement and insight.

Native apps are critical for:

  • Engaging new and existing customers more deeply
  • Collecting information about the usage and buying patterns of your core audience
  • Measuring the success of location-based and other targeted marketing initiatives
  • Personalizing the mobile experience with your airport for the passenger
How does Flight Tracker work?

Through a partnership with FlightView, Phunware’s Flight Tracker feature provides information about flights, delays and gate changes on passengers’ phones, in real time. This feature comes out of the box—no extra fees or technical integration work is required.

How does Phunware work with airports?

If your organization does not have an existing mobile solution, Phunware can work with you to develop and deploy a uniquely branded mobile app. Leveraging a variety of specific mobile layouts designed for airports, we can rapidly deliver your choice of powerful features—including mapping, navigation and wayfinding, push notifications, mobile advertising and more. The award-winning Phunware creative and engineering teams can also create a fully custom solution.

If your airport is looking to add features or functionality to an existing mobile app, we offer a wide range of software development kits (SDKs) for plug-and-play features. Our creative and engineering teams can create custom mobile layouts, extensions and integrations as needed.

Phunware works with customers throughout the entire application life cycle, from strategy and ideation to application maintenance. Our team has designed and developed hundreds of mobile applications, creating category-defining experiences that challenge the outer limits of the most advanced connected devices. We are proud to serve some of the world’s most respected brands, including some of the largest airports in North America.

What kind of features are available for airport apps?

Phunware’s airport app framework is designed to increase non-aeronautical revenue and improve the passenger experience. Features include mapping, static and dynamic wayfinding, alerts and notifications, in-app promotions, analytics, advertising, location marketing and a robust content management engine. For details, see the Airport Feature Overview.

How does Phunware work for multiple concourses or terminals?

Phunware’s solution accommodates airport systems of any size.

  • For an airport with multiple buildings or terminals, users would have access to multiple building maps with seamless navigation between buildings via GPS, beacons, and/or indoor Wi-Fi.
  • For airport systems with multiple airports, users simply select their preferred airport when the app launches. The app remembers this information and brings the preferred airport up each time, unless or until the user requests information about the other campus(es).
Does Phunware offer a kiosk or other free-standing touchscreen mapping solution? How does it work?

Phunware’s mobile applications can easily be extended to touchscreens of any size. As a complement to a mobile app deployment, we can create a wide range of kiosk implementations—from a simple tablet located at the information desk to large flat-panel touchscreens mounted on the wall at key locations. These kiosk installations would run the same intuitive and feature-rich hospital mobile app that users have on their personal devices.

The Phunware approach offers a number of benefits over traditional kiosks:

  • Content and features can be updated at any time with just a few clicks
  • Tablet and/or wall-mounted kiosks take up limited space and offer maximum location flexibility
  • Low initial investment (as little as $200 each, in conjunction with a mobile app deployment), plus minimal operating costs
  • Familiar smartphone-like technology and user experience
Many passengers are seniors. How will Phunware’s mobile solutions work for them?

Mobile adoption among seniors is on the rise. 74% of seniors own some kind of cell phone and 39% own a smartphone (Pew). Urban and high-income seniors have even higher instances of smartphone adoption. Across the board, motivating seniors to adopt mobile technology has been less challenging than expected. And at Phunware, we design our apps to be intuitive and user-friendly for all age groups.

Many of our passengers do not speak English as their primary language. How can an app meet their needs?

The Phunware platform has multi-language capabilities. Our apps are commonly translated into Spanish, French and other languages. We’re happy to help you meet the needs of your community.

Can we customize Phunware’s app framework to meet airport brand guidelines?

Absolutely. Phunware mobile apps are completely brandable and highly customizable. The Phunware production team can work closely with your marketing team to ensure compliance with your branding guidelines during development.

To help speed the development process, Phunware offers numerous mobile layout options specific to airport needs. We can also work with you to create custom designs and keep them up to date as your brand standards evolve over time. As with any content updates, design and photo changes are published automatically to the app via the cloud—there’s no need to republish the entire app or force an update.

Can our mobile app be used for promotions and other marketing activities?

Yes. The Phunware platform gives you multiple marketing, advertising and promotion opportunities to increase non-aeronautical revenue. Here are some examples:

  • Location-based promotions and notifications: When airport businesses see an increase in revenue, so do airports. Encourage passengers to spend more time exploring retailers, concessionaires and restaurants, and less time sitting at the gate waiting for their flight to begin boarding. Mobile promotions can easily be created, edited and updated by airport staff. For example: When an app user passes by an airport bookstore, the app could send a pre-programmed notification offering a 20% discount on books and magazine to read during their flight.
  • Featured app content: Promote a passenger appreciation event or a special offering from a retailer on the home screen and/or under the Events tab, and send a notification to inform all or a segment of app users. For example, a message like,“Fresh Georgia peaches for sale at Southern Fork Cafe – don’t leave without experiencing this seasonal favorite!” could be promoted in the directory of vendors or on the homepage of the app.
  • Advertising: Use Phunware’s advertising network to send targeted mobile ads to everyone in a specific area. Phunware’s advertising platform can be used to drive app installs, promote concessionaires and retailers in your airport, and even promote third-party ads, which provide an alternative stream of income for airports through revenue share.
How can airports keep their app’s maps and navigation assets up to date?

Phunware’s cloud-based map editor portal makes it easy for airport administrators to update maps and navigation assets (signs, etc.) to reflect construction closures, staff-only areas and more. At any time, admins can also add, customize, or remove points of interest—such as duty-free shops, concessionaires, information desks, currency exchanges and more.

What is mobile wayfinding and how does it work?

Most travelers are used to navigating with GPS on their iPhone or Android device. 67% of smartphone owners use their phones for turn-by-turn navigation while driving (at least occasionally). Unfortunately, these navigation capabilities usually stop at the airport doors and passengers often get lost, stressed out and confused as they take wrong turns to their gate or try to find their retailer or concessionaire of choice.

With Phunware, navigation is seamless both indoors and out. Passengers can use your mobile app to find their way from any location directly to their gate, favorite retailer, currency exchange or information desk.

Phunware offers both static and dynamic wayfinding. Our creative services team can work with you to create a custom-branded and informative facility map as part of your app.

  • With static wayfinding, app users can view the map, points of interest and common routes.
  • With dynamic wayfinding, app users can access seamless indoor and outdoor directions in real time, leveraging indoor Wi-Fi, beacons and/or GPS. Users see a blue dot on your branded airport map indicating their current location and the pathway to their destination. The app provides ongoing updates as users move along.
How does Phunware’s mobile solution compare with other available solutions?

The best way to understand the differences between Phunware’s solution and other solutions is to schedule a demo. Phunware has developed thousands of mobile apps for many of the biggest brands in the world. We leverage learnings from those projects to create best-in-class experiences so app users will stay engaged, visiting the app often and providing ROI for Phunware’s customers.

Phunware’s mapping solutions also provide best in class accuracy. Unlike solutions where the blue dot “wiggles” or appears in inaccurate places (like the middle of a lake or wrong side of a wall), Phunware’s blue dot is highly accurate. Phunware provides turn-by-turn directions similar to what users expect from their smartphone. Phunware’s seamless indoor and outdoor navigation also updates in real time, so there is no annoying delay to cause confusion or missed turns.

Phunware’s applications have been installed by millions of users. Phunware is highly scalable and enterprise-ready.

How do beacons work?

GPS technology is great—when you’re outside. Indoors, GPS doesn’t work so well because the satellite signals are blocked by the building(s), and GPS navigation was never designed to operate with the precision necessary for small indoor spaces.

Beacons are small devices (about the size of a matchbook) that send Low Energy Bluetooth signals to estimate the proximity of another Bluetooth-enabled device (such as your smartphone). When a Bluetooth-enabled device with your app installed comes within range, the beacon can trigger notifications or other processes. Beacons can even be installed on something mobile—such as a cart or a piece of equipment—and multiple beacons can pinpoint locations at distances from 100 feet down to just a few inches.

One of the main advantages of beacons is that even if no Wi-Fi or phone signal is present, beacons will still work. Phunware’s navigation system uses beacons to detect an app user’s location through triangulation.

Note: Beacons do not interfere with airport equipment or technology systems.

How many beacons would our airport need?

It depends on the size of your airport as well as your navigation and promotion goals. Typically, beacons are only placed in passenger-accessible areas—which make up a fraction of an airport’s overall square footage. For more specifics, contact our airport specialists.

Do we have to use beacons to get mapping capabilities?

No. You can get many of the advantages of real-time mapping with other technologies, such as indoor Wi-Fi, Cisco CMX, and Cisco MSE.

What is Phunware’s Blue Dot and how does it work?

Blue Dot is our indoor location positioning feature. When combined with our routing feature, the blue dot aligns with the app user’s route as he or she progresses towards the destination. It all happens smoothly and accurately, without the “bounce” or “wiggle” that often compromises other navigation systems. The experience is very similar to the familiar smartphone GPS navigation.

Can we integrate our existing software and systems with Phunware?

Yes. The Phunware platform is extensible to other systems, including ticketing, baggage tracking and other administrative tools. Our award-winning professional services team is available to support custom integrations.

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