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August 2018

Smart Cities Technology Brings Smart Airports Closer

This year’s Passenger Terminal Expo, held in Stockholm, left some exhibitors surprised at the high levels of interest in the latest smart airports technology.

Attendees commented that some of the technology exhibitors and airport services providers had brought smart cities solutions to a point where they were within reach of airports of all sizes.

The concept of smart cities is still facing major challenges in implementation. From funding and investment to the complexities and multi-faceted approach to integration and decision-making, it is still clear that smart cities are a fair way off. Smart cities technology and services providers are now recognising that the creation of smart airports is a much more attainable prospect.

 

Addressing airport needs and challenges with smart cities tech

The requirements of airports can be addressed with smart cities technology, and the approach, however scaled, remains similar in strategic positioning from a business perspective. Airports are already implementing future-proof solutions to meet existing challenges such as increasing passenger numbers, regulatory conditions, mandatory compliance and physical airport security, and the consensus across the industry on a global scale is that automation is the way forward.

A smart airport, fully integrated and automated, can not only improve operational infrastructure and levels of service, it can also deliver greater transparency and visibility for government security agencies and border control.
For some years, perhaps the last decade, airlines, airports and operators have been working towards greater efficiency, and as technology has advanced, solutions have been implemented to improve both operational productivity and passenger experience.

Today, it is becoming increasingly obvious that comprehensive integration is key to maintaining this scalability and flexibility. When systems are operating disparately, risk of failure is much higher.

When new technology is introduced, it can prove challenging to fully integrate systems and applications enough to give a comprehensive, real-time view of its effectivity from the outset. The concept of smart airports, based on the smart cities technology model, provides a holistic approach that delivers greater accuracy and data quality for both airport and external services, such as local transportation or aviation third-party providers.

 

Improving connectivity brings smart airports a step closer

A strong theme running through PTE this year was data and connectivity, both for passenger experience and for airport operations. Improved connectivity across the entire airport environment can help management teams in several ways, including enhancing efficiency during peak traffic times to maintain passenger flow and assisting with planning to optimise terminal layout.

The latest connectivity solutions are increasingly powerful and are designed to help airline and airport operators remain compliant with mandatory regulations, and especially data privacy and protection. With connectivity now exceeding industry expectations, the doors are open to even more innovative tools and systems, and with comprehensive data management, greater insights are becoming available to assist in decision-making for the smart airport.

 

Harnessing the power of current, existing biometrics in airports

Probably one of the most recognisable trends through PTE 2018 and in a growing number of airports around the world, is the use of biometrics. Biometric solutions are being used to create a seamless approach to passenger processing, including baggage handling and security screening, with the aim of a single-token journey for the passenger through every stage.

The introduction and updating of biometric applications are increasing at a significant rate, and the pace is gathering towards biometrics becoming an industry-standard. With connectivity solutions also able to handle more and more technology, airports are realising that there are greater benefits to be had in biometrics data to further increase passenger experience through interactivity and tailored services.

 

Comprehensive integration key to scalable airport management

With a complex range of disparate systems, it is clear to see that often, airport operators can quickly face challenges in efficiency and reliability. Only a unified airport management system can handle the requirements of a smart airport.

PTE 2018 demonstrated that the smart airport is ultimately on the minds of the smart cities technology providers. With a management system that comprehensively combines operational, infrastructural and security requirements with high-end analytics, planning and reporting capability, in addition to passenger facilitation and processing applications, operators of airports of all sizes can envisage a smart airport with a powerful scalability.

Interestingly, some attendees believe that total airport management platform implementation is still a little ahead of its time, but the increased interest noted by some of the exhibitors does demonstrate that the fast-paced increase in connectivity solutions and smart airport technologies is being noticed by the decision-makers.

 

Increasing passenger experience with the smart airport

The general trend of the PTE this year is again passenger experience, and how the use of smart cities technology can be scaled to enhance safety, efficiency and security across the entire airport environment, regardless of size. In this vein, many regional airport and airlines decision-makers have been encouraged by the appearance of smart cities technology developers and services providers at PTE, offering scalable, achievable solutions to some of the most common challenges faced by the aviation industry every day.

The modern airline passenger has higher expectations than ever before, and with passenger numbers rising on a global scale, year-on-year, airport operators need to ensure seamless passenger experience across the entire airport.

Smart airports solutions are demonstrating that a scalable, yet holistic approach to airport management, when implemented correctly and integrated fully, offers all the benefits of the smart city ideal – without the complexity.

For more on this story and to find out about more Rockwell Collins news click here.

 

 

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As cybersecurity in airports is constantly evolving and cyber-threats increasing, industry professionals are suggesting ways that airports can implement standards that help share the responsibility across the entire airport environment - from the top-down and the ground-up. Find out more.

 

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