Airports and aviation industry are tasked to identify and integrate emerging technologies to improve operational efficiencies as well as to streamline customer service experience.
Here we will be looking at some of the emerging technologies that have already made way into the aviation industry and are likely to play a far greater role in shaping the industry in the future.
Biometrics is one emerging technology that has already received clearance for aviation industry for some time now, however, we expect to see a greater transformative impact of the technology in the coming years. We already have biometric-enabled systems integrated at various international airports around the world. Airlines like Delta and JetBlue as we all as certain government agencies have also invested in trial and testing of biometric-enables technology including fingerprint and facial recognition. Meanwhile, a total of 36 biometric-enabled systems installed at Heathrow Airport that are being used as self-service boarding gates. Similar efforts have been made at Hamad International Airport and Sydney Airport, which goes to show a highly integrated future of biometric technology in the aviation industry.
The technology’s impact won’t be limited to the ground, rather it will be felt high up in the skies. There are hints of technology being made to integrate onboard aircraft systems to improve in-flight payments and seatback immigration.
The positive side of biometric technology is its wide use in consumer devices like iPhone X already. As consumers are already familiarized with the use and impact of the technology, it will be easy for consumers to embrace the technology in aviation and airport industry as well. In future, biometric technology is all set to play an integral for a smooth, streamline and safer airport and in-flight experience for passengers.
Blockchain has become a tech “jargon” for futuristic technology and while the technology itself is in its early days of development, it has already made inroads across all industries including aviation and air transportation industry.
Although blockchain is largely recognized as the backend technology for the cryptocurrency, in reality, it’s an entirely disruptive technology that goes a large way from Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In its simplest definition, Blockchain is a digital decentralize ledger that holds highly secure and encrypted records of all transactions and agreements in digital blocks. The easy sharing, decentralize system and encrypted records make it an ideal technology for any and all industries that include the sharing of data.
Some of the interesting case studies from recent years include the exploration of blockchain technology for distribution by Lufthansa airlines, exploration of blockchain technology for baggage, distribution and loyalty used by Air New Zealand as well as exploring the potential of blockchain for flight data security by British Airways.
Although I doubt to see blockchain integration into aviation industry any time soon, the technology certainly has a high potential to play an important role in the industry and I expect more airlines to explore the potential of blockchain in enhancing their ground and in-flight operations as well as to improve customer service experience.
Artificial Intelligence has been well-integrated in the airline industry since at least 2017. Up until now, artificial intelligence has been used by airlines to create intelligent AI-powered products like Chatbots; which are largely touted to improve user experience by answering in real-time most basic queries from customers. Airlines like KLM are already exploring new avenues like social media services to integrate AI to enhance operations and customer experience.
There are many other possible AI-enabled avenues for airlines to invest and exploit this powerful technology including predictive pricing, operational efficiency, and predictive maintenance. Not to forget the benefits of the technology for airports safety and processing as we might see the use of AI-powered “Aviation Brain” from Chinese retail giant Alibaba being integrated into Beijing Capital International Airport to improve congestion.