In the current world, technology has become a vital part of our daily operations. Airports are adopting technology into their daily operations to make the passengers experience much better and creating cost efficiencies. However, for it to be successful the airports must be flexible in their planning of a terminal and be more open to embracing current processes.
Airports are adopting technology to create a competitive edge for themselves, but which technologies are the most effective is a vital question. Furthermore, what other planning must be done to secure the status of a smart airport. The General Manager of Smart Airport, Hong Kong Airport shared his vision and their aspirations for the future.
Why should an airport use technology when trying to improve the passenger experience?
Over the years, the airport business model has progressed from infrastructure management to creating the best experience for the passengers. Technology has opened gates to many innovations that were considered impossible before such as using facial recognition to enable one single-token for a full-service boarding journey, 24/7 customer service.
The practical representation of this is evident at HKIA, where we have evolved the check-in concept with a smart check-in kiosk. This is the world’s first hot-swappable battery-powered moveable check-in kiosk that can be used anytime and anywhere. Flexibility and better accessibility have been seen processes such as tagging baggage, validating travel documents and checking in at the kiosk. The kiosks deployed at the airport and downtown have eased and expanded our handling capacity and eliminated long queues at rush hours.
Some of the basic technologies to use may include Biometrics which will ease the traveling experience and enable future integration of digital identity across airports globally. Robotics is another technology that can be incorporated to automate labor-intensive operations. Self-service at check-in and boarding to further ease the passengers. A chatbot will provide the passengers with a 24/7 customer service to aid them throughout the process. Video analytics: to manage queues, crowds, and baggage-trolley movements. Furthermore, many other ways can incorporate technology to further make the airport system easier and faster.
In the future, Robotics and automation will play a vital role in all aspects of our operations including upgrading the infrastructure and the design of the runways. This includes the development of driverless tractors for baggage.