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Gatwick’s new passenger app wins awards

Awards herald start of Gatwick’s ‘digital transformation’ with wide range of passenger-facing digital innovations coming on stream soon.

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Gatwick’s new passenger app won Mobile Innovation of the Year at the National Technology awards last night, and also picked up Mobile App of the Year at the Real IT awards.

The airport also won Cloud Project of the Year at the Real IT awards after becoming the world’s first major airport to introduce a cloud-based Flight Information System (FIDS).

The App and FIDS are the first of several passenger-facing digital innovations coming on stream, with Gatwick’s ‘digital transformation’ programme looking to roll out advanced chat bots, augmented reality wayfinding and the airport-wide use of the Internet of Things in coming months.

Under the slogan App App and Away, Gatwick’s first passenger app launched at the start of the year and provides personalised, real-time flight updates, gate information and check-in and security queue times straight to your phone.

The new app means that holidaymakers and business travellers can enjoy a more seamless experience when travelling through Gatwick as it boasts a range of features including intuitive maps that guide passengers through the airport using 2,000 navigation beacons located throughout terminal buildings

The new cloud-based FIDS are an innovative, cost effective system that are easily scalable, more flexible and resilient, and require considerably less infrastructure and maintenance.

Legacy FID systems require software to be loaded on a separate PC behind the screen to run them – whereas the airport’s 1,200 cloud-based screens now connect via a web browser from any operating system. This takes up only 3Mbps of bandwidth – so the new real-time system is extremely fast and responsive to updates – which is key in times of disruption.

Cathal Corcoran, Chief Information Officer, Gatwick Airport, said:

“I would like to congratulate Gatwick’s IT team for their hard work and effort getting these innovations over the line and also our partners Mobile 5, who designed the app, and AirportLabs who built VisionAirVisionnair.

“These awards come at an exciting time for IT innovation at Gatwick as we are transforming the way that airport information is communicated. We will soon connect passengers to intelligent chat bots using Facebook Messenger, Skype, and other popular apps and our 2000 wayfinding beacons have the capability to enable augmented reality wayfinding for passengers, making it easier to navigate the airport’s two terminal buildings.

“We have also just future proofed our entire IT network for the next decade so that we can take advantage of the latest technologies, while also making the network more resilient and tolerant to disruption.”

Business

New deal for Manor Royal BID

The Manor Royal BID Company has signed a new deal with Crawley Borough Council and West Sussex County Council aimed at supporting local businesses and boosting economic growth.

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The signing of the Manor Royal Deal comes on the back of the recent vote by businesses to renew the Manor Royal BID (Business Improvement District) and the successful Crawley Growth Programme bid to secure an investment package of £60m for the town.

A recent study revealed the increasing importance of the Manor Royal Business District that now provides over a quarter of all jobs in Crawley, more than 30% of all business rates for the town and a home to over 600 businesses.

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The study also highlighted the increasingly competitive environment in which Manor Royal operates and that close partnership working between businesses and the local authorities would be key to continued success.

The deal is the first of its kind in the county and sets out how the Manor Royal BID and the two councils will work together to plan and deliver additional services, including the Crawley Growth Programme, the new BID Business Plan, as well as respond to other opportunities as they arise.

“This Deal with the county and borough councils formalises what has become a very productive partnership over the past few years,” said Trevor Williams, Thales UK and Manor Royal BID Chair.

“The future programme is exciting but can only be achieved by clear and positive partnership between the BID and both councils. This is what the deal provides.”

Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council, said:

“The business community’s vote of confidence in the Manor Royal BID is testament to all the hard work that’s gone into the initiative in the last five years.

“Now we’re looking forward to continuing to help forge effective business partnerships in the Manor Royal Business District in the future.”

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of Crawley Borough Council, said:

“Crawley Borough Council is committed to delivering better career prospects for local residents and to do that we need to maintain and develop Manor Royal’s status as one of the leading locations in the UK for doing business.

“The BID, in partnership with local councils, has already delivered much for the business district. This deal will enable us to take things to the next level.”

The three organisations are wasting no time and are already working together to plan the first projects to be delivered following the signing of the deal that will include new digital advertising signage and information boards, improvements to entranceways and significant investment in transport infrastructure.

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