Image: Marcelo Cáceres

Image: Marcelo Cáceres

APEX Insight: LocusLabs is powering the new Fly Delta app with its LocusMaps wayfinding functionality, which helps travelers find what they’re looking for – even when offline. Campbell Kennedy, CEO and co-founder of LocusLabs, guides APEX Media through the ins and outs of the technology, which allows passengers to know their destination airport like the back of their hand before they land.

Delta Air Lines has unveiled the newest version of its Fly Delta iPhone app, which features LocusLabs’ indoor mapping and turn-by-turn airport navigation to help passengers quickly find what they’re looking for. The app currently offers mapping for 13 US airports, including San Francisco and John F. Kennedy international airports, as well as Heathrow and Narita airports. Five more airports will be added this spring, including Charles de Gaulle, São Paulo–Guarulhos and Shanghai Pudong international airports.

“Delta’s airport maps are another customer experience differentiator,” said Rhonda Crawford, Delta’s vice-president of Global Distribution and Digital Strategy in a press release. “We went beyond the industry standard to fully integrate maps into the boarding pass and other parts of our app experience. We are trying to anticipate when customers may want or need to use a map and provide an easy and intuitive way to do that – whether to find a Sky Club, a gate or a cup of coffee.”

“We went beyond the industry standard to fully integrate maps into the boarding pass.” — Rhonda Crawford, Delta

The secret sauce is cooked up by LocusLabs, a startup whose mapping and wayfinding technology, called LocusMaps, is integrated into several different airline apps. “LocusMaps works with positioning services technologies that help orient people to their current location indoors,” explained Campbell Kennedy, CEO and co-founder of LocusLabs. “Bluetooth and/or a data connection are required for these functions to work.” 

For passengers concerned about finding a reliable Wi-Fi connection at the airport, the LocusMaps technology ensures that core interactive terminal maps can work offline. The airport-specific wayfinding feature is triggered when passengers check in, before showing up at the airport. “Typically airlines background-load airport content when passengers check in,” said Kennendy. “This allows for people to review their journeys before they even arrive, are in the air or don’t have a data connection.”

“Most users who engage with LocusMaps … on average spend over a minute searching.” — Campbell Kennedy, LocusLabs

Beacon technology integration is on the rise at airports around the world, making it possible to map an indoor space to the same degree of accuracy as you’d find on Google Maps. “Most users who engage with LocusMaps return to the feature and on average spend over a minute searching, wayfinding and exploring what the airport has to offer within the same trip,” said Kennedy.

American Airlines, United Airlines and Lufthansa also leverage LocusLabs’ technology in their apps, and the startup has more customers in the pipeline. “As a first among travel apps to ingrain location services this deeply, Delta has put the passenger’s needs first, while laying the groundwork to streamline the customer experience, improve operations and ultimately provide a superior end-to-end travel service,” said Kennedy. “We look forward to our newest customers making announcements about their use of the framework in their products when they are ready.”

Jordan juggles deadlines across various time zones as he writes about travel, culture, entertainment, and technology.