San Diego Airport on the hunt for innovators in parking and passenger experience
Selected ideas will take part in a 16-week accelerator programme to get them ready to present to the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.
INNOVATORS WELCOME: San Diego International served around 22 million last year
The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, along with its Innovation Lab’s third-party operator, Detecon Innovation Institute, has released the first two “opportunity statements” to solicit applicants to participate in its accelerator programme.
One opportunity will focus on airport parking while the other will zero in on ways to assist passengers with unique needs to simplify the journey through the airport.
Ideally, applicants will have prototype innovations close to ready to test in the airport environment. Those selected will participate in a 16-week programme to prepare them to present to the airport authority with the possibility of getting a contract and gaining experience for work in other airports.
“In general, we want innovations that improve the airport experience for everyone,” said Rick Belliotti, the authority’s Director of Innovation and Small Business Development. “Our driving goal is about enhancing customer satisfaction and the overall airport experience.”
The lab was launched to reduce barriers for innovators to break into the aviation industry. Its goals are to enhance the passenger experience, improve operational efficiency and decrease costs for the authority.
“Successful innovations from the parking opportunity will add value to the airport parking experience to attract and retain customers,” Belliotti added. “The customer service opportunity will pursue innovative solutions to reduce complexity and help people in whatever ways they need to more easily traverse the airport from curb to gate and vice versa.”
The airport authority established the Innovation Lab in part of the former Commuter Terminal, which was decommissioned in June 2015. The 3,500-square-foot space offers a functional mini-terminal area with ticket counters and a bag claim carousel, all without passenger or security concerns to work around.
In January 2018, the Airport Authority engaged Detecon Innovation Institute to refine and manage the Innovation Lab as a third-party operator. Its parent, Detecon Inc., is the management consulting practice of Deutsche Telekom, which owns T-Mobile. The Institute is centred in Silicon Valley and New York, where it develops and deploys expertise in the entire innovation cycle.
In addition to being deployed at San Diego International Airport, successful innovations could be rolled out to other airports and analogous businesses, such as shopping malls, convention centres and other transportation hubs.
“San Diego International Airport is finding new ways to continue its role as an industry innovator,” said airport authority President/CEO Kimberly J. Becker. “We are very excited to see the Innovation Lab move towards developing real-world solutions to address existing challenges, as well as develop radical new concepts.”
For more information and to apply, visit www.innovate.san.org.