Where did my bag tag go?

How can a digital image of my bag replace my bag tag?

Visitors to Passenger Terminal Expo in London last week were intrigued by Elenium’s bag drop with no bag tags in sight! Part of the newly launched Voyager solution which featured many disruptions to the industry, this garnered a lot of interest. So much so that it was highlighted by Future Terminal Experience as one of the top innovations that will impact the passenger experience at airports {add link).

We had an incredibly busy 3 days at the Passenger Terminal Expo (and a very busy 3 months for the team preparing for it). The exhibition was a huge success for Elenium. The international client, partner and media attention that we received was above and beyond our expectations. We had a constant flow of passenger to the point where some of our team were getting dizzy experiencing the passenger process of the future with interested delegates. It was a lot of fun.

Besides having a contemporary, eye-catching stand, we stood out by introducing disruptions to the overall passenger experience. Natural voice recognition for all of our devices which is enabled to work in a noisy environment, a shopping video wall for the airport which will ship the merchandise to your home or hotel, disruption management kiosks that are brought to the passengers in a time of sudden change, an artificial intelligence component that pushes the passenger data to the next possible point of contact and a tagless bag drop.

Without a doubt, the disruption that received the most interest was the bagdrop. For years our industry has felt that baggage, and, bag tagging slows down the introduction of the self-service process in airports. However, just like etickets were a digital overlay for the paper ticket process, with no real process changes, the industry has tried to change the simple bag tag in the same way.

From RFID overlays to permanent tags and various other methods, the technology has changed from analogue to digital, but the processes remain the same – bringing other issues to the passenger and baggage experience.

What happens in a world without a bag tag?

What if you can take a biometric image of the bag, in addition to the person? An image which is unique to the bag, not only due to size, weight and colour but also to the scratches and dents on the bag? Our 3 second bag drop uses high resolution, high speed cameras to detect the bag, read the bag tag, take a crystal-clear photo of the bag and together with a unique identifier send it to the passengers’ phone as well as store it along with other passenger data in the airline and airport systems.

The baggage handling system would process the bag based on a unique identifier and the bag would be safely placed in the ULD, the metal container used to transpoort our baggage. If the destination airport has a corresponding camera system, the bag would be recorded and reconciled on arrival. If there is no corresponding system, the bags would need to be tagged or fitted with stickers in the “back office” either manually or with a robot.

The benefits of a tagless bag drop are numerous. For the passenger, a step in the process that they can struggle with is removed and the process becomes truly frictionless, put the bag on the scale, wait for a couple of seconds, receive a photo on your phone and move towards the next step. For the airline a happier passenger is a returning passenger.

The airline can interact with the passenger in a mobile, digital language across all the touchpoints and if the bag is delayed, or lost, the airline has proof of the physical condition and brand of the bag on departure. In case of a negative event it becomes easier for the baggage staff to visually identify a bag in the warehouse.

For the airport, the check in process becomes a lot quicker, the check in area can be reduced or enabled to handle a greater number of passengers and relaxed, happy passengers have a tendency to spend more money airside.

We understand that this is a concept for the future but this future is not far off and we will be trialing this concept with Etihad Airways by the end of 2019.

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