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Automation technology for airports trends

by Brian Sims

In a bid to cut costs while maintaining acceptable levels of customer service, airports are adopting automation for repetitive tasks involving security and access control. Every day in airports across the world, countless employees are tasked with sitting at entry/exit doors, scanning boarding passes and other tasks. These duties can be effectively automated through electronics, according to a new report entitled ‘The World Market for Pedestrian Entrance Control Equipment’ from IHS Inc. Omar Talpur, security, fire and access control analyst at IHS explains:” Automation at airports represents a huge opportunity for suppliers of pedestrian entrance control equipment, particularly those that specialize in speed gates. The first process that everyone thinks about -and the area where there has probably been the most progress, is boarding control. ” In most airports around the world, employees are tasked with scanning individual boarding passes while passengers idly wait,” Omar observes.” Automated boarding control provides airports with an opportunity to speed up the boarding process by deploying two to three speed gates in the boarding area to automate this process. In an industry where on-time departures are essential, any acceleration in boarding could potentially save millions of dollars each year.” The reasons why this has not been widely adopted yet vary depending on the country and the region. For instance, to date, automated boarding control gates have been more prevalent in Europe than the United States. ” The airport environment is complex, and in most instances it takes years of planning and construction to roll out a solution that offers such radical changes,” adds Omar.” Automated boarding control won’t happen overnight. However, a snowball effect is inevitable as passengers and airport personnel become accustomed to working with the technology. Pedestrian entrance control manufacturers that are not prepared with products that can serve this industry will have a steep hill to climb should they look to pursue opportunities within airports in the future. Being first to market with an approved, reliable product will be critical to success.

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