The future is bright, the future is Smart

Billy Shallow by Billy Shallow | Jun 5, 2019

Security has long been the nuisance of airport operations. While it may be a hassle for passengers, it plays a vital role in creating a safe and dependable air transport system. Security exists within an airport to stop any unlawful acts of interference to an aircraft, including preventing terrorist groups from carrying out successful attacks. Many of the restrictions enforced today are the result of strategic plans put in place to eliminate risks and to provide a safe flying experience for all travellers. That being said, long security lines don’t have to be part of the equation.

A secure passenger experience

Long gone are the days where waiting in a queue is viewed as acceptable. Lengthy security lines or backlogs can lead to frustration from paying customers and also create vulnerability in the system as some attacks take place landside, well before security clearance. Customer experience and operational efficiency are two important pillars in the Smart Security programme developed by ACI World. The programme was created to foster innovation in an environment where adding more rules seems to be the status quo. Challenging today’s thinking, the programme aims to maximize security, support airports with operationally viable solutions and create a calmer, more desirable experience for passengers. This is accomplished through support for innovation in the aviation industry and the implementation of key technological advancements.

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Aviation security and innovation

With an influx of people travelling, especially internationally, and airports offering more flights to more destinations, airport security is calling on innovation to best meet the demand. Now more so than ever, key industry players are challenging the norm and looking at a 10-15-year outlook on aviation security. These companies are understanding many complex viewpoints and translating them into feasible opportunities. Out of the box thinking can no longer be disregarded in a landscape striving to keep up with the pace of growth at airports, or the development of new and emerging threats. If the industry as a whole continues to be proactive and invest in new ideas, this will prevent from having to play catch up or from missing out on new opportunities ripe for development.

Developments in aviation security through technology

Some of the most ground-breaking initiatives paving the way towards making the journey safer, smoother, and more efficient for all travellers include:

CT (Computed Tomography) Machines

  • Cabin baggage screening equipment with automated explosive detection algorithms built in to reduce the human pressure in spotting threats.
  • Technology which allows passengers to avoid having to take out electronics or liquids making the experience more tolerable and time efficient.

Automated Threat Recognition

  • Cabin baggage screening algorithms to support image analysts by automatically detecting guns, knives, and other prohibited items.
  • Can help speed up the process with automated detection of threats more rapidly to improve efficiency.

Biometrics – Facial Recognition

  • Can automatically detect known persons on the terrorist watch list by facial matches.
  • By enrollment, customers can avoid carrying a boarding card, breezing through the security process.

The recent developments in technology and support for innovation in aviation is encouraging. This is an area the aviation community needs to continue with forward momentum — guaranteeing the travelling public will continue to be both safe and smiling in their travels.

Billy Shallow

Billy Shallow

Billy joined ACI World in March 2019 to lead the Smart Security programme. His role focuses on developing and advocating the future vision of passenger and baggage screening for airports. Billy has over 8 years of aviation experience, including five years leading London City Airport’s security improvement programme, as well as international consulting assignments.
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