Understanding Big Data

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By Eli Rassi
Technology is becoming increasingly important for airports as they develop and push their business cases forward with the goal of improving the overall passenger experience

In Monday afternoon’s concurrent educational session, Making the Data Work for You, participants heard about the next big thing to help them do this – big data.

Frank Barich, the president of Barich, Andrew Schmahl principal at Booz&Co, and Bill Colligan, of SAAB North America, tackled the issues and opportunities facing airports in the ever changing world of data collection and management.

In general, most airports use data dashboards to help them analyze what various data points collected mean to their operations. Now, “big” data is being sought after because it offers higher volume, higher velocity and higher variety captured from additional sources outside the airport itself, such as online sources (including social media sites).

“Big data” provides insights to information that airports didn’t have before and creates new forms of value. It has the potential to support an airport’s business case into investing on improving specific services at their airport.

What can big data do?

It allows airports to find fact-based instead of intuitive answers, individual/personalized approach to customer service rather than a general one, and it offers real-time answers instead of “after the fact.”

As travellers become more and more connected along their journey, airports will be with them every step away and ready help service their needs. And in the not so distant future, the lucky ones will be a few steps ahead, taking the passenger experience to a whole other level.