Category Archives: BIT

Earth Week 2014: Earth Day is Every Day for Our #GreenAirports

by Kevin M. Burke
President and CEO
ACI-NA

While airports are committed to advancing sustainability and the environment year-round, we carve out some special times to mark accomplishments and celebrate environmental excellence. This week is one of those times.

The ACI-NA Environmental Affairs Committee just finished its Spring Conference jointly with ACI-NA’s Business Information Technology and Public Safety & Security committees in Baltimore ― a triple play that speaks to the sustainability-related synergies shared by all our airport business lines. The trio of conferences focused on such sustainability topics as airport business continuity planning, developing wireless networks for the future, and efficient wildlife management technologies.

The Environmental Spring Conference highlighted the vision of a “sustainable airport system” being advanced by the Environmental Affairs Committee and its incoming chair Phil Ralston, general manager of aviation environmental and safety at Portland International Airport. This vision explores the issues, conditions and factors that go beyond environmental matters and outlines the responsibility ACI-NA has for creating a sustainable airport system.

Today’s green airport supports a wide variety of triple-bottom line initiatives, from advanced stormwater detention systems and use of alternative energy systems to power airport operations and reduce emissions, to development of wildlife management areas and community arts programs on airport property.  A sampling of these sustainability advances is being featured in guest blog posts this week from airports in both the U.S. and Canada, and I hope you check back in to discover an exciting array of Earth-friendly initiatives.

Also, there’s still time to enter submissions for the 2014 ACI-NA Environmental Achievement Awards. The Committee is expanding the awards program to recognize an individual for the Outstanding Individual Contribution and Leadership award in addition to the Achievement Awards for airport projects. The deadline is next Thursday, May 1.

Green initiatives like these are under way every day at airports across North America, illustrating that Airports for the Future understand, and practice, the key drivers of the triple bottom line – economic, environment and community sustainability.

Join the Band(width)wagon

By Caroline O’Reilly
What is the world’s number-one location for taking photographs?  According to Boingo Wireless President Nick Hulse, it’s the airport.  And with so many of these photographs being sent to and from phones and tablets, the time is now for airports to invest in their communications infrastructure.

Tuesday afternoon’s The Ever Connected Passenger concurrent session discussed the latest technological and behavioral trends of connected travelers, as well as the anticipated requirements for airports’ networks to keep pace.  Hulse was joined on the panel discussion with Stephen Freibrun of ICF SH&E and Hans Miller of Airside Mobile.

As airports seek more efficient ways to address long lines and bottlenecks, harnessing travelers’ voluntary location data could help them to cure such hiccups much faster. “Having the right network infrastructure will allow you to have access to this information and services in the future,” Hulse said.

But perhaps the most attractive benefit for airports to truly go mobile is the potential boost in secondary revenues.  According to Airside’s Miller, an additional $35 billion awaits.

“Mobile isn’t just cool.  Mobile speeds things up,” he said, and that quicker, smoother processing through checkpoints sets the tone for a much calmer airport experience. And the pay-off?  “Lowering people’s stress increase their likelihood to buy.”

Airports Need to Study Human Behavior

By Tom Smith
In an era when time is moving faster each minute, it is impossible to project technological changes 20 years down the road, said Leonard Brody, president of the Clarity Digital Group, in an address during the Tuesday morning session at the ACI-NA Annual Conference and Exhibition. Brody’s assigned topic: Back to the Future.

Instead, Brody offered advice on a much shorter-term — five years, but cautioned that it is best to look just 365 days down the road.

“You need to become a student of the human condition or you will fail,” he said. The knowledge of human behavior will be more important than knowing what will be the next technology.

“We are no longer one person, but instead of a physical self and virtual self,” he said. “Two-thirds of the work day is now spent as a virtual experience with others inter-acting with our virtual identity.”

With this in mind, Brody suggested looking at semantic analysis, which assesses the importance of date and human behavior. This is especially critical when you have too much data and you don’t know what you want or need. One example of the use of semantic analysis is Amazon, which generates 37 percent of its sales from individuals buying things they did not initially need.

In the next 5 to 6 years, Brody sees airports looking functionally different. They will be no different than other physical spaces that need to be programmed so they are more like a walk in the market, and the programming needs to be authentic that reflects the local area.

Airports will need to cater to the traveler’s virtual identity or you will start losing them. They will spend minimal amounts of time in your airport. If they are well cared for, they will spend longer cycles of time and make your airport part of their enjoyable traveling experience.

The best thing to do as airport is to have a seamless, free Wi-Fi. And most airports currently get this wrong.

In advice that may not be practical for airports, Brody suggested that airports invest 10 percent of their research dollars and 10 percent of their time in entrepreneurs on the fringe who will help them prepare for the next 365 days.

Throughout the presentation, Brody pointed out that global changes are no longer from the top down, but coming from the fringes initiated by entrepreneurs who set out only to make a product and ended up changing the world.

Understanding Big Data

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.

MPC Coming Soon to an Nearby Airport

By Caroline O’Reilly
MPC might not signify anything in particular now, but it could become the most popular three letters, after your airport’s code.

This afternoon during the conference’s press briefing, ACI-NA and Airside Mobile provided a sneak peek at Mobile Passport Control, a.k.a. MPC, which promises to help trim the amount of time spent waiting in line to clear Customs when entering the U.S.  A smartphone app similar in functionality to the automated kiosks currently available at O’Hare and Vancouver International airports, MPC will allow passengers to input their customs declaration and passport information and upload a photograph directly to CBP’s system.

“MPC will create a faster, easier experience for processing through Customs, which will really help travelers when they are tired and just want to get to their home or hotel,” said Hans Miller, Airside Mobile’s CEO.  “If you’ve ever used your phone to get a boarding pass or a movie ticket, you’ll feel right at home with this new process”

ACI-NA and Airside Mobile are working closely with CBP’s Office of Field Operations and Office of Informational Technology to put the final touch on MPC, which should be live by the end of the year.  Stayed tuned for future updates from ACI-NA on which airports will be in the inaugural class of MPC adoptees and when the app become available to travelers for both Android and iOS.