The last few years have propelled digital transformation initiatives forward, across all industries. As consumer demands require more individualized, low-touch or hands-free experiences, it’s vital that businesses across all verticals provide a more efficient and tech-centric experience. Today’s customers expect seamless automation, whether it be during a trip to the grocery store or boarding an international flight. As a result, security systems integrators and executives within the aviation industry are under new pressure to enhance their security operations to maintain safety, efficiency and speed, combined with the added challenge of enhancing convenience to create a positive customer experience and ultimately outshine the competition.
Safety and efficiency are paramount concerns when designing airport security systems — but in addition to added safety benefits, digitization of these systems enables airports to unlock advanced data insights and optimize their passenger experience from top to bottom. As airport traffic is projected to begin its recovery and climb towards pre-pandemic numbers, with global passenger traffic volume predicted to reach 6.6 billion in 2022, airports that delay key updates to their systems will miss out on vital information that can better inform their business and security strategies down the line. With these considerations in mind, there are key technologies that security integrators and airports alike must take into account when designing and implementing a future-forward security strategy.
Incorporating Digital Transformation at Every Step
Improving the passenger journey requires more than just upgrades to dining areas and airport lounges. Rather, digital integrations that enhance speed and passenger flow at every step can directly transform the safety and security of airport facilities while keeping passengers more informed throughout their journeys in real-time. For example, executing mobile interactions at key security checkpoints offers a hands-free way to improve passenger flow and limit unnecessary contact, while integrating touchless and mobile notifications that can reach individuals via SMS and mobile devices can deliver pre-boarding and vital security information to passengers. With more mobile-reliant and self-service systems in play, airports can eliminate obstacles at key steps in the security journey while promoting the health, distancing and safety of employees and passengers.
Implementing Enhanced Identity Verification
Airport environments are highly complex and challenging to secure and govern, as they are constantly susceptible to instances of insider threat and cyberattack. With recent occurrences of high-profile aircraft sabotage by malicious insiders, as well as cyber hacks that interfere with airport computer systems and personal data, security integrators should prioritize the implementation of identity verification technology to better mitigate both internal and external threats to passenger security. Though still in the early innings of development and deployment, emerging face and iris scanning technologies have the power to directly identify and verify individuals in an efficient and touchless way. For example, Jet Blue first implemented biometrics technology in 2017 to enable self-boarding for international flights, and has since digitally verified over 50,000 customers. As these technologies become even more sophisticated, accurate, and secure, utilizing biometrics applications not only ensures the identity of each passenger, but also optimizes the customer experience by creating a seamless and touchless journey.
Unlocking Advanced Data Capabilities
As AI and machine learning capabilities become more sophisticated and widely available, airports and security integrators have an opportunity to unlock and examine more advanced analytics to predict passenger behaviors and the probabilities of certain security breaches and events. Through implementing systems that prioritize data collection at all stages, airports can better analyze and predict outcomes based on behavioral history such as foot traffic, check-in times, machine errors, and boarding times to pinpoint and address key obstacles within various checkpoints throughout the passenger journey.
Enabling a Smoother — and Safer — Customer Experience
As today’s security threats rapidly evolve and passenger needs and demands continue to shift, integrators and airports must consider utilizing cutting-edge security applications and technologies to streamline and secure the passenger journey. By designing airport integrations with the intention of enabling automation and seamless customer experiences, the hurdles and obstacles facing passengers fade into the backdrop and critical pain points are resolved. This allows airports to transform into safer, more secure destinations that provide a leisurely and passenger-centric experience.
As the airport industry becomes an increasingly competitive landscape, prioritizing security measures while simultaneously fostering a positive and seamless customer experience becomes the key differentiator between airports and their competitors. By implementing a holistic approach that utilizes key emerging technologies within security integration, passenger needs, and other stressors for personnel, airports can gain competitive edge and increase their overall operational efficiency while providing a best in class experience for customers.
Matt Powell is the principal of transportation markets for Convergint, developing its transportation business since 2014. With over 20 years of experience in security technology, Powell has worked in multiple areas of the technology space, including as the end user, in manufacturing, and in integration. Powell works closely with Convergint’s more than 60 aviation clients to understand trends, concerns, threats, and emerging technologies to address their challenges. He is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.