Prasanth Aby Thomas, Freelancer
What is in demand in Asian aviation security?
When it comes to winning an airport security project, several factors come into play. According to Stuart Rawling, Director of Segment Marketing at Pelco by Schneider Electric, the qualifications and bid entry requirements can vary country to country, but invariably the requirements are listed on the tender documents. Often, there is also a contractor registration process at each airport that can be completed at any time which will get the SI access to tender information as soon as it becomes available.
Speaking on how his company goes about the business, Verghese Thirumala, MD of Maxitulin, said that as security systems have advanced greatly with the evolution of connectivity in IP and AP with IoT, Maxitulin has a dedicated telemetry/IoT division that integrates devices, sensors and software to stay ahead of the game.
Offering solutions that ensure security, as well as the demands of business operation, is a major element in providing solutions for airports. Integrating the various devices, including alarms, access controls, check-in systems and others to a centralized setup is becoming a critical factor in airport projects.
What the future holds
Airports are under economic pressures to improve efficiency and maximize passenger throughput. Interest is also high on solutions that would revolutionize the way security data and passenger information are gathered and processed. In short, a multilayered security system that will enable airports to efficiently track passengers and improve the overall airport experience is what is needed.
According to Ken May, VP of Asia Pacific Sales for Security Products at Johnson Controls, an increase in the deployment of biometric-based authentication solutions can be expected, despite concerns over how the biometric data will be used. Airports may have no choice but to adopt biometrics since future security technologies may be based on the ability to effectively authenticate the identity of passengers.
“Radio frequency identification (RFID) baggage tags could be leveraged to better track passengers’ checked-in luggage,” May said. “The RFID solution allows airports to increase their baggage handling capacity by cutting the time it takes to identify luggage. It also allows airport security to gather associated data on passengers, such as the number of people traveling with the passenger, and what other baggage is associated with the passenger.”
The ubiquitous smartphones have prompted recommendations to harness mobile devices to complement airport security measures. For instance, using the smartphones as a means of identity authentication, or to track passengers once they enter the airport facility.
“The emerging beacon technology, or small wireless devices that broadcast a short range Bluetooth signal which can be detected by an app on a mobile device when it is in proximity, can personalize passenger experiences within the airport,” May continued. “With the use of predictive modeling software, together with beacons, airport security can also detect if any employee or individual tries to access an area that they are not supposed to.”
Patrick Lim, Director of Group Strategy at Ademco Security Group, suggested that there is potential for more intelligent automation that truly manages the entire airport as one. Most security designs have been too conservative so far, that, by the time the airport is up, the technology is already outdated.
“AI will play a big part in security in the future and that may also change the entire process of how an airport is now functioning,” Lim said. “Advanced security screening is now possible with big data and authentication devices. Security profiling of travelers may become more intense yet non-intrusive, making air travel safer yet faster. In the near future, there will be a total redesign of airport processes and security will be an integral part, unlike in the past.”
The role of AI was stressed by Rawling as well. According to him, AI will help reduce false positives and improve the accuracy of video analytics. But, of course, there is more to such technological advancements than this.
“Getting a better ‘alert’ is not where I see the real power of AI coming to bear fruit,” Rawling said. “In a system of lots of data points, AI could be used to perform risk assessments of everyone coming into the airport, for example. Observing patterns of behavior as soon as they enter the facilities and apply a risk assessment that could then be used for screening purposes. By having individuals continuously assessed based on their ongoing behavior it could improve airport security greatly.”
Then there is the need for improvements on the side of personnel. Speaking about this, Thirumala said that as the electronic security industry evolves rapidly with the advent of technologies, a major challenge for the industry is having skilled human resources to manage effectively. Training is a key factor in preparing the team to logically understand and undertake new projects.
As the aviation sector in Asia continues to grow at a rapid pace, SIs in the field should be able to find tremendous opportunities in the region. Security concerns at airports are always high and this means there will continue to be a need for innovative solutions that can minimize threats and concerns. Knowing the evolving requirements and the best solutions in the market is critical to providing security solutions to airports. With the right approach, as the market continues to grow, SIs can strengthen their presence in this vertical.
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