Frost & Sullivan’s latest report has revealed that passenger growth in the aviation sector will drive airport IT spending to US$4.6bn by 2023.
According to the analysis, Digital transformation in airports, operators are developing their digital transformation roadmap in line with strategic planning activities to address key performance indicators all areas.
In Europe, airports are motivated to invest in digitizing operations due to physical infrastructure constraints, while Asia-Pacific airports are seen more open to innovation as a brand attribute and to enhance the airport experience. However, many airports endeavor to develop solutions in-house with local expertise and partnerships.
Technologies driving the digital transformation process in the airport environment include:
Biometric border control technology focuses on reducing bottlenecks by automating processes. The technology is now being introduced across all touchpoints, in the form of identity management for self-service kiosks, aiming to create a seamless passenger journey. In the future, passengers will be submitting biometric data (enrollment) at the first airport touchpoint and will only need to verify their identity in all subsequent originating airport touchpoints, with the possibly to further extend this facility at destination airport touchpoints.
Blockchain technology, as a trusted network for storing biometric and other personal data, can be used to create secure and faster passenger journeys. Blockchain could also prove to be the catalyst for a truly collaborative airport environment, among airport stakeholders that today work in silos. Passengers may be willing to share even more data about themselves, in exchange for valued personalized services and products, while blockchain eliminates any security or privacy concerns.
The data generated by various airport systems is collated and analyzed to provide historic, real-time and forecasted information that empowers the operator to take proactive steps to deal with peak operational periods and disruptions.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is already been used in narrow passenger-related applications, from chatbots to predicting preferences and recommending suitable products/services in the information and pre-travel stages of the passenger journey. It will be increasingly used in the e-commerce function of an airport, as well as in enabling operators to better manage airport spaces and allocating resources, according to optimized flow prediction models.
Renjit Benjamin, senior industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan, said, “Capacity constraints coupled with unprecedented growth in aircraft and passenger traffic, as well as competition and the promise of new non-aeronautical revenue streams, necessitate a transformation in airports’ value proposition, by leveraging emerging technologies and transitioning from a process-centric to a passenger-centric business model.”
Benjamin further noted that among other growth opportunities, IT and airport system suppliers focus on data monetization and predictive operations. At the same time, major suppliers are entering strategic partnerships and investing in innovative startups to fill capability gaps. Companies that specialize in big data analytics and cybersecurity are increasingly being targeted by incumbents.
“As airports transition to a data-driven infrastructure, there will be considerable investment in data analytics, storage, and security products and services,” added Benjamin. “The industry will also witness the growth of end-to-end data platforms that consolidate airport functions and processes.”