You’ll never get lost in an airport

You’ll never get lost in an airport again with Apple Maps’ indoor mapping

 

Every editorial product is independently selected by Mashable journalists. If you buy something featured, we may earn an affiliate commission which helps support our journalism.
Raise your hand if you remember what a joke Apple Maps was when it launched? It was a complete disaster.
These days, Apple Maps isn’t as embarrassing and actually pretty feature-packed. And in some ways it’s ahead of Google Maps (yeah, I can’t believe it either). Case in point: indoor mapping for airports and shopping malls.

Mapping the outside world isn’t easy, but compared to indoor mapping, it’s a piece of cake.

Whereas you only need to drive a bunch of camera-equipped cars up and down streets to take pictures and pull data from satellite imagery — I’m over-simplifying things here, so please don’t drag me — creating accurate maps for indoor spaces with multiple floors is much more difficult.

It’s why nobody — not even Google, which introduced indoor mapping for retailers, transit hubs, and malls in Google Maps for Android way back in 2011 — has really done it very well yet.

Apple’s first stab at indoor maps is limited to airports and malls, but I think it’s a good first start. I’d rather have it done really well than done in a half-baked way the way Google Maps’ implementation is right now

Indoor maps for Apple Maps was first announced at WWDC with a gradual rollout for a dozen or so airports in various cities around the world with the launch of iOS 11.
As of Thursday, Apple Maps has detailed indoor maps for 34 U.S. and international airports. Apple’s also added floor plans for malls in nine U.S. cities, but doesn’t list any specific ones. (I guess you’ll have to go to your local mall and find out?) You can find a list of all airports that have Apple Maps indoor mapping on Apple’s website here.
The tech giant invited me to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to walk through JetBlue’s Terminal 5 of gates, shops, and restaurants to check out indoor mapping for myself.
I was extremely skeptic at first, but after trying it out, I’m inclined to say they might have just figured out how to make navigating through airports a little less stressful.
Reducing pre-flight stress
I think most people will agree with me when I say airports aren’t exactly places anyone really wants to spend a lot of time in (unless maybe you’re The Points Guy living it up in a first class lounge).
Despite having a zillion signs to guide you, airports are messy and invite stress even if you’re the really chill type. There’s a good chance you’ll walk in the wrong direction from where your gate is. Or you’ll walk down a seemingly-endless terminal looking for dining or a shop, only to discover the options are lame.

Whatever the case is, being at an airport sucks. They’re not places I’d choose to explore because I’m not there to have a good time. I’m there to catch a plane to wherever I need to go, and that’s it.

Having indoor maps of airports, however, alleviates a lot of this pre-flight stress and anxiety that I and many people feel after passing through security check.
Instead of wasting time wandering through a terminal looking for, say, a Starbucks at 7:30 a.m., you can literally fire up Apple Maps and look at the floor plan of your terminal and see if there is one inside, what time it’s open, and where it’s located.
Just knowing what’s inside of an airport — like what your dining and shopping options are or where the restrooms are located — relative to where your boarding gate is makes a big difference in informing travelers on how best to use their time.
Very straightforward
Indoor mapping works exactly as you’d expect it to. Opening up Apple Maps when you’re in an airport with indoor mapping reveals a “Look Inside” button listed underneath the terminal name.
Tap it and you’ll be brought to a map of the ground floor. As you zoom in on the map, you’ll see additional location points for things like restrooms, baggage claim areas, staircases, dining and shopping, and boarding gates.
Tapping on the “1” (ground floor) opens up indoor maps for all the different floors available. In the case of Terminal 5, I could bring up floor plans for four levels and one underground floor.
Areas that have indoor maps are presented in white. Everything else is grayed out so there’s no confusion as to what information you’re looking at.
Your location appears as a blue dot and there’s also a directional arrow that turns as your iOS device moves, just like for outdoor maps.
From there, you can take a look at the airport terminal shops and layout in 2D or swipe down with two fingers for a 3D view.
Apple says it’s working with the owners of supported airports (in my case, the Port Authority) to nail down this feature. I’m told indoor maps in airports and malls are accurate down to three meters, and constantly updated when old vendors close and new ones open up.

True enough, I walked down through several floors of Terminal 5 and the maps were indeed pretty accurate. The MUJI to Go and Baked by Melissa cupcakes shops were exactly where Apple Maps said they’d be, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover there was an Aunt Butchie’s Bakery Café and not nothing at the very end of one really long hall.

The feature is by no means perfect, though. It doesn’t tell you if there’s moving walkways ahead, where seats/tables are, or where USB charging ports might be. These are minor things that could easily be added in later, but would have been great today.
I also wish there was a way know see the time to indoor destination. When I’m at the airport and I’m trying to figure out if I should goto that McDonald’s on that’s nowhere near my gate, my decision usually comes down to whether or not I have time to get there and come back. It’s nice knowing where the McDonald’s is located inside of the terminal, but an estimation of how long it’d take to get there and maybe even how long the line would be during certain hours would be extra useful.
For security purposes, indoor maps doesn’t show everything. Things that are irrelevant for travelers, like maintenance closets or staff office rooms aren’t included in the schematics.
And speaking of security, Apple says it’s not tracking your every movement within an airport or mall, monitoring where you’ve eaten or what stores you’ve stepped foot in, because it respects customer privacy. Unlike Google, Apple’s main business isn’t advertising and it doesn’t need to sell your main data to companies in order to keep the lights on.
I’m also told that the navigating features are done securely on your device and not associated with your Apple ID in any way. So that’s another plus over any Google Maps tracking. This approach to privacy is no different from iBeacons, the little Bluetooth transmitters that vendors can install to ping your iOS device when it’s within range. They collect no personally identifiable information.
A big step forward for mapping
What Apple’s doing with indoor maps may not seem like a big deal, but it is. It’s constrained to 2D and 3D for now, but just imagine what it could look like if Apple adds augmented reality to it. It could be immersive as what Google’s promising with Tango-based Visual Positioning Service (VPS) mapping system.
Like how Google Maps changed the way we navigate the world, I predict indoor mapping will be just as impactful.

source : https://tinyurl.com/yd4mjmxn

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

OAMC’s 2020 vision: ‘Growing gateways to beauty and opportunity’

OAMC’s 2020 vision: ‘Growing gateways to beauty and opportunity’

Oman Airports Management Company is hosting this year’s ACI Airport Exchange, 5-7 December, as it prepares to open The New Muscat International Airport. Ahead of the event, Sheikh Aimen Ahmed Al Hosni, CEO Oman Airports Management Company, and member of the ACI World Governing Board, shared his vision with Ross Falconer.

The Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC) five-year transformation strategy to 2020 – ‘Growing gateways to beauty and opportunity’ – works hand-in-hand with the Sultanate’s expanding tourism, transport and logistics sectors.
Development of new airport infrastructure in Muscat, Salalah, Sohar and Duqm is being undertaken with a firm socio-economic focus, as well as an emphasis on showcasing the culture and heritage of Oman.

Sheikh Aimen Ahmed Al Hosni, CEO Oman Airports Management Company, and member of the ACI World Governing Board: “OAMC is working towards ensuring that the opening of The New Muscat International Airport is a success. My strong belief is that if we are able to maintain and improve our excellence in airport management through the facilities we provide, the tourism sector will take Oman to a whole new level of success.”
“Our strategy is to be ranked among the top 20 airports in the world by 2020,” explains Sheikh Aimen Ahmed Al Hosni, CEO Oman Airports Management Company. “OAMC is working towards ensuring that the opening of The New Muscat International Airport is a success. My strong belief is that if we are able to maintain and improve our excellence in airport management through the facilities we provide, the tourism sector will take Oman to a whole new level of success and economic growth.”
The forthcoming opening of The New Muscat International Airport, as well as the regional airports of Sohar and Duqm, builds on the opening of Salalah Airport in 2015.
Salalah, located 1,000km south of Muscat, and with a much cooler climate during the summer months, is a magnet for Omanis and other tourists from the region. This is reflected in the passenger numbers, which grew by almost 20% to 1.2 million in 2016. The year-to-date passenger figures for 2017 show continued growth. The new terminal was opened in 2015 and, following stage 2 of its expansion, the airport currently has a capacity of two million. Plans are place for stages 3 and 4 to accommodate four and six million annual passengers, when demand requires.
“A huge level of credit goes to SalamAir for its main operation in Salalah, allowing Omanis to travel to nearby destinations for an affordable price,” says Al Hosni. “A simple example I could give you would be that, initially, people from Muscat used to commute by either bus or car to Salalah as it was expensive to go by air. Now, people are opting to fly thanks to budget airlines like SalamAir. I can assure you that once The New Muscat International Airport opens, the number of flights and tourist visits will increase rapidly, allowing people from all walks of life to see and capture the essence of Oman.”
New Muscat International Airport “ready to be launched”
Passenger numbers at the existing Muscat Airport increased by 17.6% in the first eight months of 2017 to over nine million, with transfer traffic growing by approximately 30%. Oman Air has opened new routes most recently to Manchester, Nairobi and Guangzhou, stimulating the Muscat hub’s double-digit growth. Oman’s first low-cost carrier SalamAir also started operations this year, connecting Salalah and Muscat, as well as some new international routes, contributing to the growth of O&D traffic. Meanwhile, carriers from the Indian subcontinent, such as Jet Airways, Indigo and SpiceJet, have added frequencies to Muscat.
OAMC forecasts breaking its target of 14 million passengers at Muscat this year, and is now preparing for the seamless transition to the $1.8 billion (€1.5bn) New Muscat International Airport.

Oman Airports Management Company is preparing for the seamless transition to the $1.8 billion (€1.5bn) New Muscat International Airport. “I can say that the new Muscat Airport is all ready to be launched and anytime soon one can see how welcoming and incredible it looks and feels,” says Sheikh Aimen Ahmed Al Hosni, CEO OAMC.
“I can say that The New Muscat International Airport is all ready to be launched and anytime soon one can see how welcoming and incredible it looks and feels,” Al Hosni explains. “We are sending out teasers across the world, so that people are aware and informed of this new venture. On the other hand, OAMC will be constantly monitoring and adapting The New Muscat International Airport, so as to be able to meet the demands of customers and at the same time be internationally-acclaimed. We will also be closely working towards promoting and developing our other airports – Salalah, Sohar and Duqm – so as to raise our country’s economic level and be able to put forth four well-designed and experiential airports for the world to see, observe and explore.”
A true showcase of Omani culture and heritage
In January 2017, Al Hosni was elected to represent ACI Asia-Pacific on the ACI World Governing Board. “When looking at the recognition Oman Airports has been receiving on an international level, I am ecstatic that our hard work and dedication is proving fruitful,” he comments. “ACI World electing me to be part of its board gives me great pride in saying that our country, through its ongoing airport transformations, increase in airline traffic and other related ventures, is able to share space with the world’s leading developed countries in our very own distinctive way.”
OAMC is hosting this year’s ACI Airport Exchange in Muscat, providing a perfect showcase for Oman’s airports on the international stage. “It will allow us to present to the world what we are capable of and the standards we are setting for ourselves,” Al Hosni comments. “Using this platform, we will showcase not just our upcoming new Muscat Airport, but also Salalah, Duqm and Sohar airports, which on a smaller scale are able to achieve great targets for the country. My aim is to let the world know that Oman being a developing country has big dreams and aspirations.”
Indeed, ACI Airport Exchange delegates will have the opportunity to experience The New Muscat International Airport for themselves on an exclusive tour. “Our main objectives for 2018 and beyond are to develop and transform our New Muscat International Airport into a place that ensures customer satisfaction and delight, providing a true showcase of Omani culture and heritage,” Al Hosni concludes

source : https://tinyurl.com/yccjgvyc

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Drones becoming greatest threat to planes

Drones becoming greatest threat to planes, says expert.

“The drones are very, very dangerous and can damage an airplane very seriously, depending on the weight of the drone and speed of the aircraft.”

 

One day after all flights at Ben-Gurion Airport were temporarily grounded or rerouted due to a civilian drone flying in designated airspace, an aviation expert said the dangers unregulated drones present to commercial flights are growing exponentially.

On Tuesday at 11:45 p.m., the unidentified unmanned aerial vehicle presented “a direct risk to the airplanes,” resulting in a 15-minute delay, the Airports Authority said on Wednesday.

Although no injuries were reported, Neri Yarkoni, former director-general of the Civil Aviation Authority and an aviation attorney and pilot, said drones are becoming a menace to flights across the globe.

“The drones are very, very dangerous and can damage an airplane very seriously, depending on the weight of the drone and speed of the aircraft,” he said.

“In general, if it hits the engine, then the engine is gone; if it hits the cockpit, it could break the window and kill pilots.”

Moreover, because civilian drones are so small, pilots have great difficulty identifying them in the air, Yarkoni said.

“You cannot see them until they hit you, so they are like antiaircraft ammunition,” he said, only half-jokingly.

While civilian drones are dangerous at low altitudes, Yarkoni noted that they present the greatest danger at night or in cloudy weather in higher altitudes.

“When you take off and land, you are at a low altitude, so the chances of hitting a drone are greater because drones usually do not operate in high altitudes, but the danger in high altitudes is higher because the speed of the aircraft is faster,” he said.

Although military drones can fly up to an altitude of over 12,000 meters, Yarkoni said they are synchronized with the radar for commercial flights to avert a possible collision. Civilian drones, he warned, are flown by amateurs and are presently nearly impossible to regulate.

“The danger comes from the amateurs who fly them for their own purposes,” he said, noting that Tuesday night’s type of incident is not limited to Israel.

“And it will become more and more dangerous because the price of such drones are getting lower and lower, and they are getting increasingly easy to use, so even children can fly them.”

Indeed, Yarkoni compared the rapid proliferation of civilian drones to the Internet in terms of decentralization and lack of oversight.
“You cannot control the Internet, the same way you can’t control drones,” he said.

To remedy the problem, Yarkoni said, all drones must be registered with readily identifiable serial numbers that are monitored via radar by a computerized central database coordinated with airports.

“There is no other way to create a safe environment for flights,” he said.

In the meantime, although there are aviation laws in Israel forbidding drones from flying into commercial airspace, the laws are nearly impossible to enforce without a traceable drone, Yarkoni said.

“Unless there is a computerized system to block or neutralize drones in advance, like with smartphones that are routed a certain way, they can fly anywhere at any time,” he warned.

“It’s a complex problem with a simple solution,” he added.

“If it were up to me, yesterday would be the last time drones could be flown by amateurs freely.”

source : https://tinyurl.com/y7cvpgpj

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Robots to be ‘scattered’ about Haneda airport to help visitors to 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Visitors to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics can expect to arrive at an airport with robots “scattered” about to help them, an official said Tuesday as he unveiled seven new machines to perform tasks from helping with luggage to language assistance.

Among the seven robots on show was a fluffy cat mascot that can carry out simultaneous interpretation in four different languages. Visitors speak into a furry microphone, and translations appear instantly on a screen.

Travelers may also be approached by a small white humanoid robot, Cinnamon, asking if they need its help. The sleek white robot can converse with visitors through its AI system and give directions.

Another robot on display can carry luggage through the airport alongside the traveler.

Yutaka Kuratomi, a representative from Japan Airport Terminal Co. — which manages Haneda airport — hopes that by 2020, the terminals will be “scattered with robots” and it will be “normal” to see visitors communicating with machines.

They are also aimed especially at foreign visitors, who already have high expectations that Japan will show off its world-beating technology in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

“We want foreign tourists to think that the Japanese people are cool when they come here,” Kuratomi said.

The launch of the robots also comes as Japan grapples with a labor shortage against the backdrop of an aging population.

With Tokyo hosting the 2020 Olympics, Haneda airport is bracing for a sharp increase in visitors from abroad and hopes robots can compensate for a lack of staff.

The robots will be on a trial for a month at Haneda from Jan. 9.

https://youtu.be/ej9cjYF5SLc

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Preparing for Singapore 4.0

The 4th Industrial Evolution looms, one that is driven by technology disruption and artificial intelligence. Singapore has to rethink its old way of doing things.

The world is on the cusp of the 4th Industrial Revolution, a term coined by Professor Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, referring to the major technology shift from computer systems to integrated cyber, physical, biological and intelligent systems.
Almost everything of what we know, use and do today is based on the existing but rapidly obsolescing 3.0 model that was conceived nearly 50 years ago.
Today, the 4.0 paradigm is fast shaping up as we add intelligent systems, autonomous robots and immersive devices to the mix. It will perturb man-made systems across all domains – industry, business, economics, trade, money, government, geopolitics, social, and even family. I call this Everything 4.0.

Everything 4.0 will be the re-invention – and not an evolution – of 3.0 constructs.

However, as we plan for the future, the most common approach is to engage in 3.0 thinking, extrapolate 3.0 successes and extend 3.0 strategies. Unfortunately, using 3.0 lens to plan for a 4.0 world is not only limiting, but ultimately futile. A paradigm shift needs to be accompanied by a mindset shift.

WHERE SINGAPORE CAN IMPROVE Leaders in business, government and society in Singapore can no longer take an evolutionary 3.0 view of the future. Instead, a radical 4.0 vision is required. Here are three examples of where 3.0 thinking might have constrained Singapore’s future national strategies.

Firstly, on the economic front, the Report of the Committee on the Future Economy, in my view, did not adequately factor in the speed, scope and scale of the transformation to a 4.0 global economy and, as a result, prescribed incremental strategies.

These strategies would exploit the tail-end of the 3.0 paradigm, but may not have gone far enough to capitalise on the artificial intelligence-first, 4.0 world. Tellingly, artificial intelligence (AI), arguably the most defining technology of the coming era, was given one mere passing mention in the report.

Secondly, in the area of education, we might have fallen into the same 3.0 trap. The extent to which students are taught, drilled and conditioned to perform in standardised tests and competitive examinations could be preparing students to go head-on against next generation artificial intelligence.

Renowned futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts that a US$1,000 (S$1,350) CPU (central processing unit) in a computer will possess the cognitive capability of a human being by 2029. By then, logical reasoning, knowledge acquisition and skills application will be necessary, but insufficient for gainful participation in the economy.

Thirdly, social policies to manage the growing pool of economically inactive adults – such as retired seniors and a potential new class of citizens rendered unemployable by technology – will face tough challenges in the 4.0 future.

Former US president Barack Obama, in a Wired Magazine interview (October 2016), foresees that AI will not only replace low-skilled jobs but also repeatable high-skilled jobs and, therefore, we will have serious debates about universal basic income (UBI) in next 10-20 years. While raising taxes in Singapore is an inevitable prospect, major policy shifts are likely to be needed.

Edgar, one of NTU’s robots. The writer says the 4.0 paradigm is fast shaping up as we add intelligent systems, autonomous robots and immersive devices to the mix. It will perturb man-made systems across all domains – industry, business, economics, trade, money, government, geopolitics, social, and even family. He calls this Everything 4.0. ST FILE PHOTO

To develop a 4.0 mindset, it is better to project to the future, create a preferred scenario and plan backwards – a strategic method known as backcasting – rather than plan forward from the present. Forward planning promotes linear thinking which can be dangerous in a non-linear future, while backcasting encourages imaginative thinking and futures design to make the necessary quantum leap.

FUTURE SHOCK – AND STRATEGIES

I will describe such a preferred – cum plausible – scenario and recommend sample strategies:

In 2030, the technology superpowers – Apple, Amazon, Google and Alibaba – continue to spread their disruptive prowess across all industries, defeating long-time Fortune 500 corporations and digitising old industries entirely.

They become a new class of companies known as the tech-industrial conglomerate, worth upwards of US$5 trillion and collectively responsible for 20 per cent of global production.

Small businesses everywhere are not spared, with 95 per cent failing to survive the digital revolution. In their place, a new breed of techno-enterprises will blossom. Highly networked, dynamic and elastic, these cloud-powered micro-organisations can scale accordingly to real-time market dynamics.

To develop a 4.0 mindset, it is better to project to the future, create a preferred scenario and plan backwards – a strategic method known as backcasting – rather than plan forward from the present. Forward planning promotes linear thinking which can be dangerous in a non-linear future, while backcasting encourages imaginative thinking and futures design to make the necessary quantum leap.

Hyper-connected, autonomous and intelligent technologies are ubiquitous – in factories, offices, schools, hospitals, highways and home, they form self-functioning systems that operate the world with minimal human intervention. This allows enterprises to deliver services at a mere 10 per cent of the manpower intensity from a decade before.

Many of the jobs of 2017 are long gone – these are mostly “value-adding” single-skilled jobs that are more effectively performed by autonomous robots and AI-cloud services.

On the other hand, “value-creating” talent or quasi-entrepreneurs-innovators are in hot demand and super-compensated. They create enormous value by solving systemic problems, making breakthrough inventions, integrating disparate systems, scaling new businesses and reducing consumer friction.

Welcome to the winner-takes-all economy and workforce, where the big majority loses and only a tiny minority wins. At this point, Singapore has emerged as a leading nation, innovative economy and model society of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Combining this plausible scenario and a 4.0 mindset, I recommend:

  • Economy: Preparing the corporate environment, investment climate, business sector, international connectivity, knowledge networks and skilled workforce to prosper in a winner-takes-all and AI-driven economy;
  • Education: Equipping students with global mindsets, creative approaches, technical competencies, trans-disciplinary perspectives and, above all, entrepreneurial qualities to thrive when quasi-entrepreneurs-innovators are the new “job seekers”;
  • Social: Exploring, designing and experimenting with a UBI-inspired tax regime, enhanced social net, updated social compact, citizen crowdsourcing platform, and time-banking system to support and engage the burgeoning population of economically inactive.

In Singapore today, we have a choice: to let Everything 4.0 happen by chance or to create it by design.

We are uniquely positioned to succeed because of our competent Government, long-term view, competitive economy, tripartite partnership, talented workforce, can-do spirit and cohesive society.

What is missing is an Everything 4.0 mindset that can help us break away from incremental thinking and devise breakthrough strategies to replace obsolete ones that once served us well.

  • The writer is the founding president of The Innovators Institute, an innovation company based in Singapore, and ambassador of SingularityU Singapore, the local chapter of California-based Singularity University. The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not represent the views of these organisations.
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Augmented Reality Navigation at the Vienna International Airport by Insider Navigation.

Insider Navigation provides the Vienna airport with a tool for augmented reality indoor navigation,

enabling travellers to reach their gate in time, access travel information in their preferred language, interact with advertisements and special deals from retailers on the way and have an overall augmented reality experience at the airport.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr