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Which technologies will truly transform travel?

Published on  01 March by Matthys Serfontein , Vice President, Portfolio & Solutions Management, SITA
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There are three key areas where I believe we will feel the immediate impact of technology at airports in 2017. These developments will truly transform travel in the years ahead.

It is usually December or January when I am asked for my annual tech predictions for airports but really March would be a much better month. That’s because it’s in March that the airport world gears up for Passenger Terminal Expo and the unveiling of new technologies designed with one thing in mind -  to transform air travel.

There are three key areas where I believe we will feel the immediate impact of technology in 2017. These developments - biometrics for a 100% self-service passenger journey; RFID in bag management; and better use of business data - will truly transform travel.

Biometrics 100% of the way

We see biometrics in use in pockets at airports around the world but the step-change will be when it is used to deliver a 100% self-service passenger journey. Making that a reality at airports today requires technology that integrates into existing infrastructure (read common-use) and works with the variety of applications in use by airlines, airports and border management agencies. SITA’s Smart Path™ makes that happen – you can see it in action at our stand at PTE – from bagdrop and check-in, at every checkpoint along the way to self-boarding – Smart Path uses biometrics to transform how passengers can move securely through the airport today.

RFID bags it

Bags have long been an area of focus, and in some cases heartache, for our industry but a step change has started. RFID technology really can transform how bags are managed at every point of the journey and through the many changes of custody. The IATA Resolution 753, with its June 2018 deadline, has concentrated the minds at many airlines. Now these airlines are turning to airports as they look to roll out support of RFID throughout their networks. It’s a bit of a challenge – one that requires expertise, planning and investment. But it is possible and the SITA team is making it happen now. At PTE we’ll be showing what’s available today to make full support of RFID easy to implement. 

Getting smart about data

We are about to witness an explosion in the use of business intelligence at airports. This is a huge area and covers everything from resource management to dynamic disruption management. With the focus on efficient aircraft turnaround and on-time departures, airports are increasingly becoming integrated and need to add a layer of intelligence to understand the relationships between data sets that will help identify areas for change and improvement, while providing the reasoning to underpin decisions. We’ve been working on this for many years and have fine-tuned the use of predictive technologies in several of these areas. We’ve also developed SITA ControlBridge, which allows airports to breakdown silos to coordinate, monitor and control all airport operations centrally. By providing a dynamic view of your airport ecosystem at a strategic and operational level and combining real-time data analytics with predictive analytics a new level of business intelligence is delivered. This is happening today. At SITA we’ve seen how business intelligence transforms airport operations at airports big and small.

These are exciting times. Come see for yourself. Join me and the SITA team to see all these transformative technologies in action at stand 8050 at PTE.

See you in Amsterdam!

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