Business travellers looking for destination information, news updates or airport maps, can now get it in the beam of an eye – or a Palm.
Palm Canada and Air Canada have announced Beam & Fly, a kiosk that allows travellers to receive news updates from the Globe and Mail or Cyberpress.ca, as well as promotion and flight communications (scheduling, arrivals, departures, terminals gates and delays), destination guides, city guides and airport maps.
Michael Moskowitz, president and general manager for Palm Canada, said at Tuesday’s launch of the program in Toronto that the information comes through a centralized server and the Internet to a Palm device through infra-red beaming.
Users step up to the kiosk and place their Palm device a foot away from the beaming device and the Air Canada Portal is sent to their Palm. The beaming technology was developed by Bluefish Wireless Inc. in San Francisco.
The first, and so far only, kiosk is in place at the Maple Leaf Lounge in Toronto’s Pearson International airport. Sofie Pietrantonio, Palm Canada’s consumer marketing manager, expects kiosks to be installed in other Maple Leaf lounges across Canada in the coming year, pointing to Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary as likely sites. There are 29 lounges worldwide.
For now, the service is only available to travellers who have access to the Maple Leaf Lounge, which caters to Aeroplan Elite and Super Elite members, Maple Leaf Club members, Executive First and Executive class customers, as well as Star Alliance Gold card holders. Pierre Bourbonniere, manager of airport products for Air Canada, said many of the airline’s business and executive travellers have Palms. He put the figure at just under 50 per cent.
“As we better understand the usage of PDAs and how people use the system, we can look to expand it,” he said.
The Toronto kiosk is the first of its kind globally, according to Moskowitz.