Wouldn’t it be great if you knew how much time to allow for airport security right now?  Or if the gate agent knew to hold the plane because you are nearby?  This is all possible and Sabre Labs’ employee Barrett Clark is going to explain all the wonders and pain points of indoor location at API World Conference + Expo 2014on Sept. 13, 2014 in San Francisco CA.

Barrett Clark works in Sabre Labs, Sabre’s emerging technology incubator.  Sabre Labs works each day to stay on the brink of technology trends.  Since one of the latest trends is indoor location, it’s their job to experiment, investigate and discover all there is to know about it.

There’s no doubt that indoor location technologies can revolutionize the world.  But when you work for a global technology company like Sabre, you tend to focus on how it can revolutionize the travel industry.

You’ll have to attend API World to get the full scoop on Barrett’s presentation, but since we’re in a good mood, we interviewed Barrett to give you a sneak peek of his presentation on indoor location and its amazing possibilities.

Why does indoor location matter?

Indoor location solutions could help airlines, airports, and other travel-related companies use location and proximity services to provide intelligent, predictive, and personalized services to travelers.

How would you explain indoor location to a 4-year-old?

Geo-location- the way digital maps can tell where you are, is pretty dang accurate.   We all know that you can quickly plug in an address and let your GPS tell you how to get to a destination from where you are.  While GPS is great outdoors, indoors it is not as reliable. It’s hard for satellites to send and receive data though buildings made of concrete and steel.  Indoor location solutions look to non-GPS technologies to help pinpoint where you are indoors.

What is a pain point of indoor location technology?

Accuracy.  Indoor location technology has come a long way, but it still needs a lot of work.

Tell us more about your experiment with airport indoor location.

About a year ago the Sabre Labs group set out to explore what’s possible today using these methods of indoor location.  We joined a pilot program with AT&T to test their location services, which use WiFi to track indoor location.   The goal was to provide insight throughout a travel process in order to be able to pinpoint where a traveler is, were they have been, and what’s around them.

This benefits the end user and also the airlines.  The user gets relevant contextual information based on where they are and where they’ve been.  The gate agent is able to identify checkpoints that each traveler has been to (front gates, security, baggage, etc.), which provides the gate agent with information to know if a traveler was at the wrong gate, or if they haven’t even reached security yet.  The technology used a combination of geo-location to find out the traveler’s location in the world and proximity technology to find out their location in the building.

What should developers watch out for with indoor location technology?

There’s a fine line between meaningful personalization and knowing too much.  The more information is provided – the higher the potential is of being creepy.

Travelers also don’t want to get bombarded with advertisements and special offers.  In other words, keep it classy.  These services have an opt-in option for the traveler to enable or disable the services embedded in the mobile applications they already use during their travel experience.

You’ve named your presentation “The Dance” is there some poetic sense behind that?

The task of finding indoor location is managing GPS location and Beacon proximity technologies to determine where a person is.  Indoor location technology is a dance between these two things.

To learn more about indoor technology and other relevant topics in the technology realm, attend the API World Conference + Expo 2014 and follow Twitter conversations using the hashtag #APIWorld and the @Sabre_Corp Twitter handle.