U.S. and European airports have renewed their enthusiasm for tracking passenger smartphones, as they increasingly turn to specialist retail data companies for new analytics technology, according to industry experts.
Airport officials already use tracking sensors, cameras and a host of other devices to map traffic and optimize waiting times, as well as for security reasons. They can also track WiFi and Bluetooth signals that emanate from phones, often without the knowledge or consent of passengers.
But now airports are turning to companies that typically deploy this technology for retailers, who want intelligence on how shoppers amble in their stores. Heightened interest in this technology over the past year was much in evidence at the National Retail Federation’s annual trade show in New York this week, where tech firms marketed tracking tech to small retailers en masse.