Munich Airport: A hub of digitisation

Munich Airport: A hub of digitisation

As Germany is at the forefront of the European technology industry, it might come as no surprise when we reveal that Munich Airport, one of the busiest in Europe, is becoming a breeding ground for innovation. We hear how companies such as Wirecard and LabCampus are helping it to lead the way.

Munich Airport is the first airport in Europe to offer a new mobile, cashless payment system in a retail location. The airport is playing a key role in driving forward easy payments in the retail sector with a self-checkout. The solution was developed by Wirecard in cooperation with SES-imagotag and wirecube, while eurotrade, a subsidiary of Flughafen München GmbH, laid the cornerstone for its introduction at the airport. Consumers can pay for items with their own smartphone directly at the shelf using an electronic price tag which saves them having to wait in line at the checkout. Instead of paying via an app, the customer pays via a mobile website, meaning that, unlike similar solutions in the European market, users do not need to download an app beforehand.

To shop and add items to the shopping cart, customers simply hold their smartphone in front of an SES-imagotag digital price tag. The product is registered either via Near Field Communication (NFC) or by QR code scan. After a few seconds, the smartphone automatically opens the mobile web app by wirecube where the customer can easily complete the purchase. To do so, the customer can either scan their credit card via their smartphone’s camera function, or enter their credit card data manually. Alipay is also available as an alternative payment option.

Munich Airport’s roughly 48 million annual passengers can now use the new mobile payment solution for a select range of products in the ‘MyCorner’ store in the Terminal 2 passenger area. The innovative solution is being piloted in a high-traffic area frequented by a mostly international audience. Following the pilot phase, the solution will be extended to other eurotrade units, including 12 duty-free shops and 14 other shops selling press items, travel goods and souvenirs.

The application is based on three solutions:

  1. The VUSION Electronic Shelf Labels (ESL) by SES-imagotag, a world-leading provider of digital IoT solutions for stationary retail
  2. The payment technology of Wirecard, a global innovation leader for digital financial technology
  3. The Scan&Pay solution shopreme by wirecube, a software company specialising in retail digitisation

Where SES-imagotag labels are present, retailers can install the new solution easily and cost-effectively. The labels can be turned into an additional point of sale, which is more economical to install and maintain than conventional POS systems. In addition, the VUSION IoT solution developed by SES-imagotag enables retailers to almost completely automate low value-added processes, increase efficiency and improve in-store customer connectivity.

In the future, not only will travellers and retailers in Munich Airport benefit from the new solution, but also customers and retailers worldwide.

Sven Zahn, Managing Director of eurotrade Handels-GmbH, commented: “The new solution gives our customers, for the first time, the possibility to self-checkout, which offers significant added value when travelling. The customer avoids waiting times at the checkout. At the same time, as a subsidiary of Munich Airport, we expect sales growth, especially for fast-moving goods purchased on the go. With ‘Smart Checkout – Tap, Pay, Enjoy’ we are setting new standards in mobile payments together with Wirecard, wirecube and SES-imagotag.”

Philipp Ahrens, Vice President Center Management at Munich Airport, commented: “With our new solution, Munich Airport is actively shaping digitisation in the retail sector and once again proving that we offer not only a highly frequented and international retail location, but also one that is increasingly innovative. By simplifying and accelerating the checkout process, we are enabling our roughly 48 million annual passengers to enjoy an even better shopping experience and meet their ever-growing demands.”

Alexander Hahn, Vice President Sales Retail at Wirecard, said: “We are pleased that travellers from all over the world can now benefit from this new technology at Munich Airport. Instead of long waiting times at the checkout, they can now expect a fast, seamless and digital shopping experience in our pilot store and soon in other airport shops as well.”

Michael Unmüssig, Senior Executive Vice President Group Marketing at SES-imagotag, said: “With digitalisation and state-of-the-art IoT technology, Munich Airport is setting new standards in its shopping area. Long queues at the checkout are now a thing of the past for travellers at the airport. The new ‘MyCorner’ business fulfils the digital wish of many travellers. We are very proud to be part of that solution.”

Florian Burgstaller, Managing Director of wirecube, commented: “We are proud to see our Scan&Pay solution, shopreme, in operation at Munich Airport. The airport was an excellent choice for our shopreme web solution which offers a state-of-the-art shopping experience without the need for an app.”

Professor Dr Gerrit Heinemann, Head of the eWeb Research Center and retail expert at the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences, said: “Especially in stationary self-service retail, which is now the largest in the retail sector, a key component has been missing in Germany – self-checkout. This not only enables customers to shop faster, but also gives retailers a significant boost in efficiency.”

Not only is the airport using technology to benefit the consumer, it has opened an interactive test arrangement staged by LabCampus, where leading partners from the greater Munich area show products and solutions in the field of digital security. Passengers are thus sensitised to the topic of digital security and can interactively test their personal data security.

The first Terminal Testlab shows how LabCampus is now offering access to unique testing conditions and diverse target groups long before the innovation centre itself is completed. With the Testlab situated at the heart of the airport terminal, LabCampus is creating opportunities for customers to present their new products and solutions to tens of thousands of travellers every day while conducting live testing.

The first major area addressed in the new testing space is digital security. After exploring exciting live demos at their own pace, visitors will be actively integrated into product development processes and will gain in-depth insights into key aspects of the often neglected topic of data security and related issues.

Raising awareness of digital security among passengers and visitors

The first Testlab is in collaboration with the following companies: ComCode and IABG, two renowned security companies from the Munich area, Center Digitization Bavaria (ZD.B) and Munich Airport’s Information Security Hub (ISH).

For ComCode, which specialises in Digital Transformation and security, the focus of its involvement in Testlab is open source intelligence (OSINT). This refers to the procurement of information from publicly accessible sources such as the Internet. Travellers can ask ComCode to compile and generate a brief digital security report on their company while they wait. In addition, all visitors are eligible to enter a draw, with the winner receiving a more detailed analysis, including a presentation of the results and suggestions for improved digital security.

The key areas of interest for the ‘Smart & Safe Cities’ specialists from IABG include ways of optimising public spaces with regard to telecommunications and IT security. In a simulation, Testlab visitors will become part of a virtual safe city storage centre that brings together (security) information from all levels of the digital city. 

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