Day by day, airport operators are faced with the daunting responsibility of ensuring process quality on the one hand and, on the other, guaranteeing the security of passengers, personnel, goods and infrastructure. Increasing automation, deadline constraints, the complex nature of the various processes and fulfilling official requirements call for a flexible management of the entire airport operations.
Mobility is a decisive factor in our globalized society and the rapid increase in air traffic is one very compelling example hereof. In 2007, airports worldwide handled 2.3 billion passengers; it is expected that figure to increase 40 percent by 2010. This boost confronts airport operators to face the challenge of providing even higher airport security while also keeping the economic aspect in perspective. At the same time, todayˇs passengers have greater demands and expectations concerning smooth check-in, boarding, and baggage-handling procedures.
A comprehensive portfolio of products and services from the Siemens Division Building Technologies (BT) is offered to meet the special needs of airports. The focus is on expertise in providing integrated building security and building automation (Total Building Solutions). This approach offers extensive solutions and services for all building automation systems, ranging from fire protection, evacuation, access control, video surveillance and alarm management to energy management systems and room automation systems to control HVAC (heating, ventilating, air conditioning) systems. Fully networked system domains keep capital expenditure and maintenance costs low and ensure secure, efficient operations.
The Command & Control Center offers the kind of real-time support function needed to react efficiently at any given moment to unforeseen events. The technical integrations platform of the Command & Control Center is linked up with all the various sub-systems and helps airport operators with the implementation of optimized business processes including the management of complex coordination and communication requirements in crisis situations and emergencies.
Automated surveillance collects information from various control devices and subsystems (video cameras, GPS-/radar-generated signals) and compares all activities in the area with the defined security zones. Whenever people or vehicles pass through defined security zones, live, real-time video is automatically displayed to security personnel on a single screen for verification. The signals can be evaluated securely and the necessary measures implemented either automatically or manually. This reduces considerable cost for airport operators and increased security for the airport as a whole.
Fire safety systems protect passengers, buildings and business processes with deception-free fire, flame or aspirating smoke detectors. This makes an invaluable contribution to the smooth running of workflows and to security on the ground and in the air. In the event of an incident, voice-activated evacuation systems provide clear information and avoid the outbreak of panic, leading all the individuals affected out of the danger zone in an orderly fashion. Intelligent extinguishing solutions which use an environment-friendly chemical gas or natural gases also help ensure that fires are put out before they have a chance to spread. Important equipment such as computer and data centers or warehouses, for example, are thus protected not only from fire but also from damage caused by the water or foam used to extinguish it. To prevent the occurrence of fires and explosions, high-sensitivity fire alarms provide a foolproof indication of the slightest sign of burning. Countermeasures are automatically implemented: the ventilation is regulated and the security center alerted.
Intelligent video solutions ensure that conspicuous or suspicious behavior by passengers, or luggage that has been abandoned in corridors, lounges or at gates, check-in and duty free areas can be identified immediately and any necessary measures against drug smuggling, theft, manipulation and terrorist attacks can be taken at the earliest possible opportunity. Access control systems not only control the times at which the entire ground staff have access to buildings, specific floors, zones and areas. They can also be networked with the time and attendance recording system and connected to the payroll system through a corporate card to make travel even safer in the future and to thwart illegal immigrants or terrorists, biometric procedures are coming into more regular use. They make identification procedures safer and less expensive and reduce the workload on security personnel. Intelligent video systems can also be used to detect bottlenecks at check-in, for example. This means airport procedures can be optimized and long waiting periods avoided.
Intelligent car park video solutions recognize vehicle number plates and can track vehicle movement, access authorization and identify number plates at any speed, day and night. The date and time of all entries and exits are recorded in a single image. This data can be made available for parking management or access control systems and thus ensure controlled, structured and organized entry and exit system for all vehicles in airport car parks.
Different types of goods have different properties and need to be transported and stored accordingly. Regardless of whether the goods in question are plants, fruit, animals, valuables or machines, and whether they are in solid, liquid or gaseous form, their storage and transport have specific temperature, protection and security requirements. Ensuring that plants do not wither, animals do not fall ill and valuables are not stolen call for a technical infrastructure that is individual and flexible enough to cope with all eventualities. Because any kind of damage incurred is detrimental to the airport's image, generates handling costs and pushes up insurance premiums. Mechanical protection concepts for airports start with physical barriers like fences and gates. Electronic protection concepts such as video surveillance, access controls and alarms to protect freight: motion detectors on doors, gates, windows and light wells detect and report any incidents. Cameras with integrated motion detection and evaluation software supply images only when unexpected movements actually occur in the defined recording area. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) transponders provide around-the-clock information regarding the freightˇs current location.
An airport is only really profitable for investors when passengers can concentrate on their journey and cabin, ground and security staff on their jobs. Siemens operating and service packages are fine-tuned to guarantee maximum availability of all installations and systems throughout the building's entire lifespan. System failures and downtimes are thus virtually eliminated. This is vitally important because system failures can have any number of undesirable side effects: hassle, chaos, extra work, not to mention damage to the airportˇs image.
The latest example of the bundled Siemens' airport know-how is the recently opened "Bengaluru International Airport" in Bangalore, India. Siemens delivered integrated solutions for power supply systems, IT and communications systems, airfield lighting systems, baggage handling systems, building management and security solutions. Building Technologies was involved with an order volume of approx. 3 million Euros. The installed systems include building automation for efficient HVAC-control, the fire detection system (with 1800 smoke detectors and alarms points), access control system, video surveillance (60 digital cameras), intrusion detection, public address and evacuation system. All systems are integrated into a comprehensive management system, which efficiently indicates any alarm or incident to the security forces and enabling an efficient intervention.