Airport Innovation Lab seeking innovators

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The Airport Innovation Lab at San Diego International Airport (SAN) is recruiting applicants for a third group of innovators to go through a 16-week accelerator program.

This new group will participate in one of two opportunity areas: an Interactive Children’s Entertainment Solution, and a ‘wild card’. The former could be mobile, pop-up and/or temporary entertainment that could be sited next to food and beverage concessions.

Successful ideas will provide engagement, entertainment and movement to add fun to children’s airport experiences. The latter is open to ideas that may not previously have been thought of, but that are viable solutions.

“We are really getting our feet under us,” said Rick Belliotti, director of customer experience and innovation. “Experience has provided a better sense of how to recruit, as well as what might work here or at other airports, or even non-airport venues.”

At the end of the program, successful innovators have the potential to win a contract from the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, the airport’s owner and operator, and/or gain entry to other airports and related businesses, including other transportation hubs, convention centers, shopping malls and large venues such as ball parks, theme parks and hotels.

All members of the first group of innovators recently completed the program and had the opportunity to negotiate with the Airport Authority for contracts focused on parking and simplifying the airport journey. The second group was open to wild card ideas and is testing concepts from sleep pods to interactive airport guides with audio tours and even robotic guides.

Innovators for the third group have until July 5 to apply, with the accelerator program starting in August. Ideal applicants will have an existing prototype that can be tested in a real-life airport environment, and ideas that are new to US airports or an extension of an existing service or product to be tested at SAN.

The Lab was launched to reduce barriers for innovators to break into the aviation industry. The 3,500ft² (235m²) space in the former Commuter Terminal offers a functional mini-terminal area with ticket counters and a bag claim carousel, all without passenger or security concerns to work around.

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Tara has worked for UKi Media & Events since 2013, initially as a freelancer. She has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a range of publications, including Personnel Today, Management Today and The Grocer.

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