Access supplies Alaska Airlines with NFC-upgradable boarding gate reader (BGR)

Handheld devices need to be used particularly carefully to ensure that the barcode is within the focus range of the optical reader but by using Access” BGR135, the barcode, either printed or displayed on the mobile phone screen, is simply placed onto the base of the unit, so the focal distance is fixed, and the BGR reads the barcode “face-up”, making it highly intuitive for agents to use ensuring a reliable and consistent barcode read.

Alaska Airlines is seen as one of the more innovative airlines in adopting new technologies. For example, it was the first in North America to adopt 2D barcodes and the first to replace pilots” paper flight manuals with iPads. The airline now sees the potential of near field communication (NFC) technology throughout the passenger experience for everything from car park access and ticketing to retail outlets and boarding the aircraft.

Its enthusiasm for NFC is only tempered by the realization that it is not yet a technology for which interoperability standards have yet been established, and it is not yet widely used. Furthermore, adoption of the technology will require the approval of the Transportation Security Agency (TSA). Partly because of these circumstances, the BGR135 was a suitable choice for handling the boarding gate requirements of today and via a simple 10 minute upgrade, those of an NFC-enabled future.

To perform an NFC upgrade, the base of Access” BGR135 boarding gate reader is simply replaced with an NFC enabled one, a process that requires the removal and reinstallation of just four screws. Passenger and ticket details can be read bringing NFC data within about 4cm of the NFC-enabled reader. Wireless NFC technology is robust, functioning securely and accurately regardless of ambient lighting conditions, and independently of the mobile device”s exact orientation.

The BGR135 is based on Access” proven family of BGRs. Airports and airlines in Europe, North America and Asia already use the devices, which read 1D/2D bar coded boarding passes (BCBPs) and home-printed passes face-up in less than a second. A large document throat facilitates reading home printed documents.

BGR135s feature a 2 x 16 character display, bright green/red LED indicators and user-programmable “beep” sounders for fast, precise operator feedback. Housed in ABS enclosures, the units are light, compact and rugged, and come with universal AC power adapters. They connect to the host system using RS232 cables and emulations are available for connection to Common Use Terminal Equipment (CUTE) or dedicated systems. Remote firmware upgrades ensure future-proof operation and extend service life.

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