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Airport Innovations

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Airports serve 2.7 million people every day, and fighting passengers rushing through airports can be overwhelming. However, if you haven’t been in an airport in a few years, you may be surprised by the modern updates and new technologies you will find.

Therapy Dog Programs
Although it is not a technological upgrade, several airports, including the Denver International Airport and Tulsa International Airport, have begun having domesticated animals, such as cats and dogs, walk through terminals and concourses. The purpose of these therapy animals is to ease customers’ anxieties. They just roam airports wearing “pet me” vests or other therapy designation clothing and visit with passengers.

Alternative Energy
Solar energy is not new technology, but more and more people have searched for solar companies near me to gauge prices, estimate their energy savings and evaluate the efficiency levels of this technology. Alternate energy has been adopted in a number of industries, and up to 20% of airports have adopted some form of solar power, such as solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, which use semiconductors to convert light into electricity, reducing the use of fossil fuels to power airports.

Today, 40% of airlines are testing robotics technology, and more than 65% of airports are investigating robotics implementation within the next few years. For example, some airport staff may look different than in the past because robots have started performing many repetitive tasks, such as handling your check-in and security processes. Even concierge services have adopted robotics technologies.

Automated vehicles have also been tested in several airports. Even concourse cleaning has become somewhat automated. The Dusseldorf Airport uses valet robots to pick up and move cars into their reserved parking places. Several airports, including the Amsterdam Airport Schinphol, have robotic baggage loading and unloading. Although most people prefer working with a person, airports are looking to expand automated technologies for their more mundane tasks.

Artificial Intelligence
Several airports have implemented technology that updates passengers on their security wait time. Missing flights due to long lines at security causes incredible stress on passengers. Knowing the amount of time they have to wait before getting through security can relieve much of this stress, as well as the impatience they feel toward other passengers. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) sets up checkpoints that post wait times. Because security wait times can be accessed through airport websites or mobile applications, airport customers can determine how early they need to get to the airport long before they leave home, and at the airport, they will know if they have time to grab a drink or book before their flights.

AI is also used to provide personalized retail promotions in airports. In addition, Delta airlines even uses biometrics in some US airports to streamline the check-in process. You may encounter bag drop off stations and automated technologies that check your passport, direct your boarding process and even guide you through customs. These systems connect your smart device and the airport, including some of its robotics assets, to improve your passenger experience from check in to boarding.

Big Data Analytics
Airports are using big data analytics to eliminate bottlenecks and improve efficiencies. Big data can be used to identify areas in the passenger process that need additional staffing, such as security during times with high passenger volumes. Airlines and airports also learn more about their passengers by tracking and analyzing their data. For example, these organizations collect passenger genders, baggage check-in or carry-on habits, how early they arrive at the airport before a flight and passenger frustrations and complaints.

This data is used to provide better passenger experiences and improve the efficiency of the airport. The increasing digitization and use of AI and robotics throughout airports increase the amount and types of data collected for analysis.

Airports are increasingly adopting “smart” technologies in an attempt to improve their efficiencies and reduce their costs while providing exceptional customer service. Progress has been slow, especially with regard to upgrading archaic airport facilities and outdated processes and procedures. However, don’t be surprised to find new technologies during your next airport visit.

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