Airports, hospitals or places that attract lots of tourists – impossible to avoid, these very busy locations share one thing in common: queues. QueueForMe spells an end to waiting for hours in queues that seem to go on forever. Supported by Innosuisse, this project carried out in collaboration between the “Travelling and Mobility” laboratory of the University of Geneva and the Geneva-based company iabsis Sàrl aims to revolutionise how we queue.
QueueForMe allows users to register for virtual queues via their smartphones and then to be notified when their turn comes. An algorithm obtained from the machine learning system applied to queue modelling has been tested to estimate waiting times. “QueueForMe is the first system capable of evaluating queuing times with a high degree of accuracy while optimally handling external fluctuations that can destabilise long queues,” explains Dr Michel Deriaz, director of the laboratory in Geneva.
This online service can be used anywhere and at any time. It is an ideal solution for airports, hospitals, food trucks or even event organisers for private parties aiming to ensure maximum convenience for guests. Anyone who sees a queue can register and receive notification when their turn comes. Customers then queue numerically while benefiting from the various services available on site (shopping, restaurants, entertainment, etc.).
The main scientific challenge of this project is the calculation of waiting times in changing situations. What happens if the queue suddenly starts to move twice as fast, because, for example, a second counter opens, or if people miss their turn, causing things to speed up? By using artificial intelligence, QueueForMe constantly takes this new information into account to optimally update the waiting time for each registered user. Requesting support from Innosuisse was the perfect solution here. “The agency supported this extremely disruptive project when no conventional investor would have taken the risk as its chance of success and potential impact were hard to assess. Innosuisse’s support has enabled us to optimise our work and make choices that have paidoff,” says Michel Deriaz.
QueueForMe has a proven track record in many industries, including the transport sector, healthcare, museums, restaurants and amusement parks. Today, the partners are still improving the precision of their technology. Michel Deriaz does not believe this product would have been possible without a successful combination of economic expertise and academic research. “We attend iabsis’ exploratory meetings and they come to some of our technical meetings. This joined-up vision goes a long way towards impressing future customers.”
Text: Johanne Stettler
Last modification 17.03.2020