Resilience in the face of disruption and uncertainty is a must for airlines and airports. Key investments in technology to harness and generate data can establish a baseline of resilience, while creating building blocks for future leaps.

At physical campuses like airports, an enterprise’s facility utilization and knowledge of how spaces are used is especially relevant to resilience. This is true in aviation both when passenger growth is driving expansion and — as we are now realizing — when operations contract sharply.

A Need for Faster, Better Technology

The growing need for remote interactions amid the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a demand for connectivity and related technologies such as Wi-Fi 6, the next generation of Wi-Fi, and 5G networks. The lightning-fast speeds, near-instantaneous communications and increased connection density that comes with 5G make it primed for remote interactions and for leveraging information to make improvements in operational expenditure, passenger communication, staffing and facility management.   

Through improvements to 5G and Wi-Fi connectivity, partnered with key physical enhancements and data analytics, airlines and airports can realize the benefits of passenger flow management. This includes the ability to geolocate passengers to understand where they are in the airport and facilitate their wayfinding to security checkpoints, retail and the gate.

Additionally, airports may want to consider harnessing customized controls of temperatures, lighting levels and sound levels to adapt to individual locations within the passenger terminal. This type of measurement and monitoring not only saves energy; it can also lower passenger anxiety. With real-time passenger awareness, it is easier to understand how to ebb and flow staff to meet customer needs. Data becomes more and more powerful as it becomes more available.

Airports and airlines aren’t the only entities to gain from improved wireless or cellular technologies; passengers would also reap the rewards throughout their journey with improvements in information exchange. From traffic updates to construction notifications, gate announcements and more, the advantages are endless.

 

Find out how 5G and other technologies are helping build the smart airports of the future.

Learn More

 

This post is the first in our "Investing in Airport Technology" blog series. Check out the full series:

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As an architect and project manager at Burns & McDonnell, Lori Top provides strategic project leadership to the aviation practice as a strategic adviser.  She leads a collaborative process among our clients and teams to create the vision and strategic road map, and plan for successful execution of complex projects and programs.