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New Beacon Company Brings Intelligence to In-Flight Entertainment, Banks

Conichiwa, a spinoff of German hotel app firm conichi, is providing systems that recognize an individual or item based on beacon transmissions, and can thus personalize service or improve efficiency.
By Claire Swedberg

Passengers will download the app before or after booking a flight at a participating airport. The aviation company will provide beacons, made by Kontakt.io, that could be installed at entrances, security lines or other locations within the airport.

When an individual comes within range of a beacon, his or her smartphone will capture that beacon's transmission, then forward a prompt to the cloud-based server, located in Germany, which will link the location and the passenger ID (connected to that device) and display relevant information. For instance, if a traveler had booked a flight that has been delayed, the app could provide him or her with an alert indicating how long the delay may be, once that person came within range of the beacon.

Conichiwa's Hester Hillbrecht
Additionally, the system will allow the passenger to use the beacons for other features in the flight itself. The guest could use the app to place an order for food or a beverage, and flight attendants would view that order on their own tablets, along with that individual's seat number, and deliver the appropriate items. The solution would also enable the passenger to make a payment for that order using the app.

Conichiwa says an unnamed large German bank is also working with it regarding its beacon technology, to provide its branches with proximity-based guest recognition. At the bank's flagship branch in Berlin, the system will be used to identify customers as they arrive. With the bank's mobile app, using the conichiwa SDK, a customer could set up a profile including that person's picture, name and bank account ID number, as well as interests—obtaining a loan, for instance.

When a guest enters the branch, a beacon installed there transmits data to the phone or tablet, which forwards that transmission to the server. The visitor could then view information such as where to go for an appointment, while bank tellers could access data on their own tablet running the business-facing version of the app. This will enable them to know who has arrived, which employee that person will need to speak with, and what he or she looks like based on the picture. In this way, the company explains, service becomes not only faster but more personalized, since introductions are unnecessary.

What's more, conichiwa is working with several events companies regarding installations at festivals to provide access and payment functionality, as well as logistics companies for asset tracking and museums to deliver location-based content about exhibits. "We're developing use cases in many different industries," says Hester Hillbrecht, conichiwa's business-development head.

Conichiwa offers its SDK to be integrated into a company's existing app. The company can also create a "white label" solution and app, Hillbrecht says, or build a new app for a client.

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