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What is an intelligent airport?

24 May 2023
Marc Ive

As the world becomes more technologically advanced, the needs and expectations of passengers are increasing, so airports are having to evolve. An intelligent airport is one that uses advanced technology in their day-to-day operations. Once integrated, your team can use intelligent data analysis through Business Intelligence and AI solutions to enhance operational efficiency, improve passenger experience and increase revenue.

It’s all about Digitalisation

One of the defining characteristics of intelligent airports is the digitalisation of airport infrastructures. This involves implementing technology such as sensors, cameras, and software to monitor and manage airport operations and to gather and process data in real-time.

Digitalisation has become a ‘must-have’ rather than the ‘nice-to-have’ it used to be before the pandemic, and this catalyst forced airports to move towards digitalising their operations. With passenger expectations changed, in 2022 81% of airports were predicted to spend the same – or more – on digitalisation compared to 2021, and we can only expect this trend to continue.

Business intelligence and AI software plays a significant role in managing airport resources more efficiently. Airport operators can easily monitor and manage different aspects of airport management from high-traffic area handling and parking operations to passenger communications and loyalty. The use of data analytics and BI tools can help your airport make better decisions and by compiling and comparing your data, you’ll will almost automatically increase your revenue opportunities.

What are examples of smart airports?

There are several examples of large and small airports around the world that are using technology to enhance operational efficiency and passenger experience. One example is Singapore Changi Airport, which has implemented a range of technologies such as biometric scanners, self-service check-in kiosks, and automated baggage handling systems. Another example is Dubai International Airport, which has implemented a range of technologies such as smart gates, virtual assistants, and automated border control systems.

Other examples of smart airports include Seoul’s Incheon International Airport, Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, and Munich Airport. These airports have implemented a range of technologies such as automated parking systems, mobile boarding passes, and smart energy management systems.

What are the advantages of smart airports?

There are many reasons to be a smart airport. By leveraging cutting-edge technology, you can make informed decisions, innovate faster, and optimize revenue. With the ability to collect and analyze data in real time, you can make better use of resources, reduce delays, and improve the overall passenger experience

1. Enable smart decisions.

One of the main advantages of smart airports is that they enable airport operators to make better decisions. By using data analytics, AI and business intelligence tools, you can gather and analyse data from a range of sources, including passenger flows, airport resources, and commercial operations. This can give you actionable insights to identify areas where improvements can be made and enable you to make more informed decisions.

Rezcomm’s AI will spot patterns and be able to alert you to trends, especially those that require an immediate response.

Some real-world examples include opening new lanes when queues start to form or enable passengers to purchase in-terminal services such as Fast Track, as well as QR codes placed around your airport allowing passengers to provide feedback in real time.

This all consolidates into a smoother, more efficient passenger journey, providing a better passenger experience which we know leads to increased revenue opportunities, and more efficient and streamlined operations, creating resourceful and happy employees.

2. Innovate faster and more efficiently.

Smart airports also enable faster innovation. According to the ACI, nearly 40% of airport revenue comes from non-aeronautical operations, so you can’t afford to simply maintain this area. You should innovate and progress to stay ahead of your competitors, and it’s vital to your financial health.

By using BI and AI software, airport operators can identify emerging trends and opportunities and develop new services and products more quickly.

This goes beyond coffee offers at off peak times to encourage more footfall to your retailers. This is about passenger touchpoints and developing a loyalty loop before, during and after their flight. It’s about recognizing the passenger is travelling through your airport and providing the best possible experience for them, encouraging passengers to choose your airport over and above others providing the same service. And it doesn’t have to be complex or expensive.

By using AI and BI systems to analyze every aspect of your passengers’ journey, you can establish trends and identify areas that have room for improvement. Here’s some core questions to ask:

  • Are you experiencing bottlenecks across some of your services beyond the expected?
  • What percentage of your passengers choose to use your parking facilities? Does this change over peak times?
  • What footfall trends are you expecting to see and does the data support this?
  • Are your passengers engaging with your airport via QR codes, emails, SMS messages, social media?
  • And most importantly, what are they saying?

When you have the answers, you can implement small and lean but powerful and valuable changes that will satisfy your passengers and your stakeholders.

3. Optimise Revenue.

One way intelligent airports can help airport operators optimize revenue is by using data analytics to identify new commercial opportunities even without substantial investment. By analyzing passenger demographics and behaviours, you can identify the types of products and services passengers are most likely to purchase. You can then work with your experienced retailers and vendors to collaborate on offers and incentives for these products and services, increasing revenue for everyone as well as improving the overall passenger experience.

Smart airports can also optimize existing commercial operations by using data analytics to identify the most profitable retail locations. By analyzing data such as foot traffic, sales, and customer demographics, you can determine which retail locations are performing well and which ones need improvement. You can then adjust pricing and promotions accordingly. These can change throughout the day, so BI solutions can help you stay on top of the adjustments more efficiently.

Overall, the implementation of smart technologies in airports is transforming the aviation industry and enabling airport operators to optimize revenue in new and innovative ways. There may be even opportunities available you didn’t know you already had. By leveraging data analytics and business intelligence tools, you can gain valuable insights into your operations and make informed decisions to improve revenue and enhance the passenger experience.

Cutting-edge technology costs less than you think.

The adoption of smart technologies will become increasingly important in creating a seamless and efficient airport experience for all. For airports looking to implement this kind of cutting-edge technology, you need a team with the expertise and experience to support you.

Rezcomm offers affordable and reliable solutions. With our support, airport teams can optimize revenue, streamline operations, and enhance the passenger experience. Our solutions are modular, so if something isn’t working for you, simply turn it off and only pay for the elements you do use. This way Rezcomm can be scaled to meet the demands of your airport as they change.

Download our brochure, watch our video or book a meeting with our team to see how our expertise and innovative solutions can help you stay ahead of the curve and meet the demands your passengers.