Lockdowns. New safety regulations. Fluctuating passenger demand. Financial losses and pressures. Amidst the volatility from the COVID-19 pandemic, key players in the aviation industry are seeking to maximize their business resiliency.
More specifically, they have two main priorities: recover from economic losses and maximize traveler health and safety. Airports and airlines are leveraging cloud platforms to optimize internal processes, generate cost efficiencies, and enhance consumer experiences. With its scalability, security, and massive storage potential, a cloud-based approach delivers the adaptability airlines and airports need.
Below are snapshots of trending cloud applications within the industry:
Although the trend for an end-to-end touchless traveler experience existed before 2020, advances in contactless touchpoints rapidly expedited during the pandemic. Self-service kiosks with biometric technology such as facial recognition anchor this automated and frictionless customer experience. Ultimately, cloud-based biometrics enhance security and hygiene while maximizing convenience for customers.
More airlines are leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven facial imagery analysis to provide check-in, baggage drop, security, and boarding processes with minimal human interaction. Thanks to cloud technologies, travelers can briefly show their faces to a camera to identify themselves instead of showing an ID to an airport official.
Aviation news platform Simple Flying reports that SITA (Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques), a leader in IT and air transport communications, has created the SITA Smart Path to provide low-touch airport experiences. These biometric and cloud-enabled solutions allow travelers to use their mobile devices in all airport touchpoints. Similarly, Star Alliance airlines has launched a fully interoperable biometric identification procedure, according to solutions provider Network Cabling Services. Essentially, passengers can download the Star Alliance Biometrics app and take a selfie to create their unique Digital ID. With the ID, they can quickly check into airports without having to take off their mask. Most importantly, passenger enrollment is voluntary and safeguarded with data protection laws.
Other contactless technologies take it a step further, offering biometric payment services to build a convenient and hygienic travel experience with minimal touch and wait times.
Overall, cloud-based facial recognition technology reduces the risk of infection, boosts consumer confidence, and streamlines passenger movement.
Health screenings powered by cloud adoption can reliably reduce the spread of infection, as they prevent healthy individuals from encountering those who are sick. Thus, these technologies are increasingly receiving more support from governments around the world.
Currently, most airports have manual thermal and temperature screenings in place. However, by integrating sensor readings with cloud-based health care services, airlines can automate screenings in a streamlined fashion. There have been many trials for self-service technologies that measure an individual’s temperature and heart rate this year.
For instance, Etihad is the first airport to test a contactless screening for COVID-19 symptoms with the help of the Elenium Automation company, according to Smartvel (a travel content technology vendor). This screening searches for signs of illness by detecting travelers’ temperature, heart rate, and respiratory health. It also deploys voice recognition to enhance touchless features.
According to the Airports Council International (ACI) Report, operating expenses make up 62% of total airport costs. As airports face substantial pressure to cut operating costs, they have increased the implementation of artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps) to raise cost efficiencies and productivity.
AIOps is a term created by Gartner to encompass the use of Big Data and Machine Learning to improve IT operations. This technology platform liberates siloed IT data into an aggregated big data platform, where machine learning models automate data analytics at massive scales and record speeds. By correlating information between IT devices in real-time, AIOps can detect existing network issues and predict potential problems before they occur.
Ultimately, AI and machine learning algorithms create automation-driven operational insights that reveal travel patterns, check-in habits, security processes, retail spending, parking, bathroom facilities, and more. By accurately and continuously sorting through the data, AI programs conclude business performance and customer satisfaction. Senior leaders within the aviation industry can use this analysis to identify opportunities to anticipate and prevent potential problems and minimize the cost to fix them.
Airports can leverage internet-enabled sensors and devices to adjust lighting when it is needed. The algorithms may indicate that smart energy efficiency will reduce operating costs. The sensors automatically identify the amount of natural light in a room and lower the power of light bulbs accordingly. Hence, high-powered lighting is used only when there are lower levels of natural light. An example of these devices is DC Powered LED Lighting, which can save companies about 75% of the energy usage of fluorescent lighting.
As vaccination and travel rates continue to rise, airlines must renew digital investments to optimize the user experience and maximize traveler confidence.
At Softtek, we have created flexible solutions that incorporate cloud adoption, AI, and automation to enable touchless traveling journeys that strengthen recovery in the airline industry while boosting long-term resilience. To learn more about how to elevate passenger experience through digital progression, visit www.softtek.com or contact one of our advisors.