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Best practices for airport queue management analytics

Best practices for airport queue management analytics
Queue management video analytic solutions are integral to airport security. But how do you make the most of them?
The use of video analytics becomes inevitable as airports reopen to earnest travelers deprived of holidays and other trips for over a year. According to McKinsey and Company's report, in 2021, the travel market may pick up to 85 percent of the levels reached in 2019. Domestic tourism would pick up faster than international travel, but even this would put pressure on airports in many countries.

A significant concern that airports are bound to deal with as they reopen is queue management. After a pandemic, there would obviously be more safety and security checks of passengers before entering an airport and before they board an aircraft. Crowd management solutions that help airport authorities control queues are more crucial now than ever.

But customers and systems integrators must follow certain best practices to get the most out of queue and crowd management video analytics. Speaking to asmag.com recently, Amol Kulkarni, VP and Country Head of Dragonfruit AI, listed some of them.

Also read: a LiDAR solution that increases awareness for better security
  1. Ensure sufficient number of cameras in the right places 

A camera placed at eye level, where you see the faces of the people standing in line, may not be adequate to figure out the distance between them. It would be best if you had the cameras mounted so that they're able to identify the people and figure out factors like social distancing compliance.

Similarly, a camera placed on the side may not get all the people if there are four or five lines that may not even be distinguishable in a crowded scenario. Hence you may need to have more than one camera at the same place positioned at a slightly different angle. This can get the help you overcome the occlusion issues that typically happen.

"The good thing about airports is that they are fairly dynamic," Kulkarni pointed out. "When a queue/line seems to be longer than usual, they can open up a few more counters and reroute people by adjusting the queue stands. But the video surveillance system should also be flexible enough to capture footage wherever the queue is. Hence sufficient number of cameras in the right locations is essential."
  1. From a queue to a crowd

Managing lines of people snaking its way to counters is necessary, but an even more critical factor to consider is crowd management. Only a tiny percentage of people would stand in a line at an airport at any point in time.

Others would be in groups, roaming around the stores, restaurants, waiting areas, etc. Cameras that can aid crowd management helping authorities know the location of people, ensuring they follow social distancing, etc., are important.

"You will need to decide what you want," Kulkarni continued. "Do you just want to count the number of people? Do you want to figure out social distancing violations? What are you going to do with the results? Do you want alerts? If there are too many people, do you just want a report? If it is alerts that you want, should it be every minute, or is that a bit too much? Or do you just want to kind of figure out what the trends are?"
  1. Choosing the right analytic solution post COVID-19

Ensuring count of how many people are in a particular area is particularly important in terms of following proper COVID-19 health care protocol. You may have an analytic solution that counts the number of people entering and exiting the airport, but that doesn't necessarily give you a picture of the number of people in a particular space.

"You may have just about 1000 people inside the airport, which is not a large number, but problems arise when they may be all concentrated in one area," Kulkarni said. "Having a raw count of people does not really help you here. What you need is an analytic solution that will be able to tell you the occupancy rates at different spaces at different points in time. This will help an airport operator or an administrator to take crowd control measures."

Conclusion

To sum up, you need to consider three main factors when providing video analytics solutions for queue management in airports. Getting the right number of cameras in the right places is essential to take care of the continuously changing scenario in an airport. Knowing where the crowd is as you look beyond queues is necessary for the post-pandemic situation. Finally, using a proper analytic solution that can give you actionable insights is inevitable.

Also read: a solution for landside airport security challenges
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