Rajendra Pawar and Sudhir Singh of NIIT Technologies point the way for a better airport experience for travellers
In what ways are technology helping to improve the airport experience for passengers?
Rajendra Pawar, chairman of NIIT Technologies: Well, face recognition and the internet of things (IOT) can cut down time spent at security terminals, while intelligent machines can guide travellers to shopping discounts or food outlets.
Machine learning can predict traveller behaviours to send them shopping offers available in real-time. Essentially, technology creates opportunities to increase employment across airports, increase passenger footfall and contribute to the economy of cities.
What if travellers want to spend less time in an airport, though... treat it more like coach station?
Sudhir Singh, CEO of NIIT Technologies: Some airports across the US now use biometrics instead of physical boarding passes to improve procedures, while IoT and radio frequency identification (RFID) are used as substitutes for tagging a bag, tracking it and receiving it at the end.
Over the last six months, some airlines such as KLM have also come up with apps that push notifications whenever the need arises to improve flight and boarding information.
What about Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
SS: That’s already in place. Beijing Capital International Airport has incorporated AI-driven tools in their everyday processes to optimise operations, while countries such as Japan ensure efficiency during peak seasons by using intelligent machines.
For example, to pre-plan for the 2020 Summer Olympics, the Tokyo Haneda Airport is currently testing humanoid robots to guide passengers. Governments, airlines, airports, tour operators, crew managers and any other stakeholders understand that they should already be preparing for the future of airports.
So, what will air travel look like by this time next year?
RP: From a consumer perspective, there is significant growth in expectations around being involved in decision-making for flight routes and experiences.
To meet these demands, 2018 will be the year of experimentation as airlines and airports use tech-powered multi-layered solutions.
Whether its baggage handling, use of chatbots or digital interaction with travellers through push notifications. Any new airports being constructed will have to be future-ready to keep up with the pace of the digital transformation.
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