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SAFETY & SECURITY Last modified on June 4, 2015

Watching brief

Airport World reports on the trial, development and installation of a handful of new security technologies.

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) claims that its newly introduced security system has exceeded its expectations by raising customer satisfaction levels and reducing security wait times by a third.

The security system in question utilises the BlipTrack Analysis Platform and sensors that collect non-personal data from passengers’ mobile phones and tablets to monitor queue and wait times at the airport’s security process area. 

CVG, in co-operation with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), was the first airport in the United States to utilise the Danish-made technology to understand and improve the traveller’s experience and to better plan and allocate mutual resources. 

The solution, implemented by BLIP Systems’ airport partner Lockheed Martin, has also allowed the airport to display TSA pre-check queue wait times on information screens and the airport’s website. A development it claims has helped reduce passenger frustration and made for a more stress-free and pleasant transit experience. 

“Our use of BLIP Systems’ technology has proven quite successful,” says the airport’s CEO, Candace McGraw, noting that it introduced it last summer.

“It has enabled CVG to continue our close collaboration with TSA to ensure that the passenger experience at CVG is one that enhances the journey experience not detracts from it. 

“Our customers have come to appreciate the quick accessibility to real-time information via our monitors and website, seeing that queue times are consistently well managed.”

CVG initially partnered with Purdue University in 2011 for technology proof-of-concept testing prior to research and acquisition of BlipTrack. 

The Purdue team returned in 2014 to quantify the security wait time improvements in the reconfigured terminal and the impact of the new pre-check lanes:

In comparison to standard wait times in 2011, wait times were reduced by nearly 4¼ minutes in 2014. 

In comparison to standard screening wait times, TSA pre-check saved more than 26,000 person hours in wait time over Nov-Dec 2014. 

“As air travel is continually on the rise and airports often have limited space to expand, the pressure on border authorities to balance security with a good passenger experience grows. This leads to significant bottlenecks, with delays that frustrate travellers,” remarks Peter Knudsen, CEO at BLIP Systems.

“Being able to utilise performance data enables a dynamic management of resources, reduces costs for all operational stakeholders, optimises passenger satisfaction and ensures
a first-class airport image.”

Meanwhile in Europe, Toulouse-Blagnac Airport has announced its intention to deploy Checkpoint Evo, a newly launched software solution that its creators claim greatly enhances the inspection and integration capacities of security checkpoints.

Developed by Smiths Detection in partnership with Canada’s Optosecurity, it will connect individual sensors to a fully networked checkpoint system to provide real-time data collection, distribution and management that improves both the inspection process and operational efficiency.

A centralised remote screening, claims Smiths Detection, will help speed up inspection of hand luggage because image evaluation and alarm resolution from X-ray scanners can be centrally monitored away from the noise and distractions of the checkpoint.

Advanced recheck functions electronically mark suspicious areas in bags to enable a more focused search for illegal items by on-the-spot operators, resulting in faster throughput and reduced queuing times.

Its developers add that the system’s data management capabilities offer real-time and historical data for analysis and reporting, which allows airport operators to share information and monitor the entire screening operation via remote portable devices, such as tablet PCs.

Toulouse-Blagnac will become the first French gateway to use the system when it comes online this summer.

Informing passengers about expected security wait times is also something that San Antonio International Airport aims to address with a new video-based system that measures the length of time it takes passengers to get through security in Terminal A.

Funding for the new system, which will allow the airport to display wait times in Terminal A and on the airport’s website and mobile website, was approved by San Antonio City Council on April 3.

The system uses video analytics to monitor passenger numbers and processing times and will involve the installation of a number of new cameras at the entrance and exit of Terminal A’s security checkpoints to calculate the time it takes for the last passenger in line to move through the security checkpoint. 

Added benefits of the system, according to the Texas gateway, include historical data capture and report generation to empower airport partners to make staffing changes and anticipate crowds.

The new additions should come as no surprise as new analysis from Frost & Sullivan reveals that the global market for airport security technology earned revenues of $8.22 billion in 2014 and estimates that this will reach $12.67 billion by 2023. 

The study covers the segments of perimeter security, command, control and integration, cybersecurity, communications, surveillance, access control and screening. 

The report claims that cutting-edge technologies in the screening, big data and integration markets are particularly driving upgrades and new investments in the airport security market. It predicts that over the next 20 years cybersecurity spending will rise at the fastest pace. 

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