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Examples of intelligent spaces


After I posted my article on the intelligent spaces I got an email from Paul Beauchamp, a solution architect working in the HPE Consulting team in the UK. Paul works on large data centre transformation and migration projects. He led the solution design work for the Virgin Racing Formula E team data analytics, trackside and HQ compute infrastructure.

Paul’s email listed a number of specific ideas of how people might use intelligent spaces. I thought it would be useful if I published Paul’s ideas.

Aircraft Boarding

Boarding an aircraft seems to be like finding a needle in a haystack, several times over:

Getting to the right check-in desk : First there is the check in desk, of which there can be many. Using beacons it would be possible to spot someone entering the airport and knowing who they are means you can guide them to the right desk.

Getting travel instructions directly to your mobile : Most gates aren’t known during check in and constantly having to find a screen and check if they have announced the gate generates anxiety in most of us; are we in the right place in the airport, have they announced it and I’ve not heard it (airports are incredibly noisy and trying to hear the announcement can be difficult, particularly if you have hearing problems), how long will it take me to get there.


Not only can the app on your phone let you know the gate has been announced but it could give you directions and a hint as to how long it would take you to get there (it can be 10-15 minutes if your gate is at the other end) –

Chasing up late boarders / knowing you can remove their luggage : We could also prevent people from being late boarding their flights and all the ensuing chaos that brings.

Knowing that someone is in a store doing some last-minute shopping means someone can go and find them and tell them to board their flight. Likewise, knowing that someone has left the building could prompt removal of their luggage from the aircraft.

Retail at the airport

From a retail perspective there are opportunities to:

Targetted marketing : Make customer aware of deals and guide them to their favourite shop or coffee bar (particularly if they have other loyalty apps on their phone)


paulb_airportretail.pngImproving the airport retail experience

Identifying the digital footprint for the concourse: There will be prime spaces for retail outlets where people naturally congregate and why wouldn’t the airport operator want to charge rent based not only on sq ft but also on where those feet are in the overall space

Overall space design: Can we get people through these spaces fast enough or why are people gathering at this particular space?

Upon returning to your home airport

On returning, knowing where people are in the airport could alert the valet parking or offsite car parks operator to come and collect you or at least tell you where you need to be to be collected.

Safeguarding vulnerable people

Keeping track of mentally ill or elderly patients can be really difficult, particularly with less and less staff. Everyone is fitted with a wristband when they enter as a patient – these could be intelligent, re-usable wristbands and fitted with trackers.


It is essential, as a healthcare practitioner, you know you are treating the right person – having a hospital wide system that not only tracks but identifies people through their wrist band aids in:

  1. Knowing who they are
  2. Which ward they belong to
  3. What they are being treated for (if they are diabetic or have heart problems it would be useful to know this immediately if they are found somewhere)
  4. Which consultant they are being treated by
  5. And of course is it the right or left leg they are having amputated (trust me – look at point B below to know why I know this) people are unbelievably worried about chopping off the wrong leg or making similar blunders
  6. Tracking how long people are spending in which parts of the hospital. This is a great use of IOT and big data to show which consultants’ patients are spending the most amount of time in various parts of the hospital. Are they the ones using up the budget ??

Tracking equipment

As an operating theatre technician (in the 1980s) I was forever trying to track down working equipment. Even though someone had “booked out” that servo ventilator an anaesthetist would only have to shout and it would suddenly disappear to another theatre and everyone deny knowledge.

It would be even worse if equipment were to be failing because rather than solve the problem people would simply move it into someone else’s theatre.

This just delays the problem being dealt with and not being able to identify something or where it should be only adds to that problem.

Tracking and helping staff

One of my roles was working for the Queen Mary’s hospital for sick children in Carshalton in the south of the UK. This was an ex-TB hospital set in relatively large grounds and comprising of many buildings.

Trying to find the right building (and this is the same for large hospitals set in a single building) at 4am for a crash call is really hard.

Guiding your staff or knowing where they are when they are needed in an emergency is really useful.

Shopping malls / theme parks / zoos, etc

An app which shows you where you are in the facility and guides you where you need to be - where is the Oblivion ride and how do I get there from here?



Digital footprints – where is everyone going and why?

Animal tracking – should that tiger be queueing up to see the rabbits. Probably not!

Intelligent wristbands offered to people shepherding groups of children on school trips to be able to track them down when they go missing (I believe this happens a lot at places like the Disney Parks). 


Mike Shaw
Director Strategic Marketing

linkedin.gifMike Shaw

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About the Author


Mike has been with HPE for 30 years. Half of that time was in research and development, mainly as an architect. The other 15 years has been spent in product management, product marketing, and now, strategic marketing. .

Marggie Hopkins

I find this artcile very interesting, thanks. You are definitely right, that people who arrive at the airport for the first time, and more - to the international airport, are often simply lost and are experiencing difficulties navigating in it. The problem is quite widespread, and I think that all those advices from Paul Beauchamp can be the rescue circle for such people.  Anf I really like the idea with Intelligent wristbands for kids, because sometimes it is really often very difficult to look after children in crowded places, in parks with attractions or at concerts halls, even in zoo, where they rush to the cages and fence with animals in different directions.

Best regards, Marggie Hopkins, from organization.