Digital Transformation, NEXTT
The scale of future passenger and traffic growth brings into sharp focus the need for systems and processes that are up to the task of tomorrow’s facilitation, security and sustainability challenges. All participants in the ecosystem will have to become more responsive and efficient.
The challenge for airports, airlines, air navigation providers, service companies and governments is to manage performance and growth, contain costs, make better use of resources and find efficiencies, all while improving the passenger experience and maintaining safety and security.
The rapid emergence of new technologies can lead to a new way of looking at airport capacity challenges. Digital transformation is not only about technology but also about business transformation in a digital world.
This includes both the implementation of new technologies as well as the integration of existing technologies, processes and services to deliver a better experience to all stakeholders.
Recognizing all these factors, the Airports Council International (ACI) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have created the New Experience Travel Technologies (NEXTT) vision, which pulls together the work that is being done in our security, airport operations, passenger and cargo facilitation teams, on biometrics, autonomous vehicles and digital transformation. It seeks to ensure that stakeholders have a common direction, and that all projects benefit to maximize interoperability with others.
The NEXTT vision looks at the transformation of the complete ground journey for all the elements that currently move through the airport – the passenger, baggage, cargo and the aircraft.
While the transformation is not driven by one technology or another, we do see several technology trends as key enablers for change.
These include: better use of data and communication; predictive modeling and artificial intelligence to enable swifter real-time decisions; the advancement of automation, autonomous vehicles and robotics; and, “off-airport” processes via the use of digital identity.
There are already major steps in the right direction towards improving the ground journey at the airport, such as the use of smart technology, big data and enhanced collaboration, here at Dubai International Airport.
Despite being the world’s busiest airport for international passenger traffic, DXB was able to reduce its wait times by 28 per cent last year by working with the local immigration authority to improve performance, enhance wayfinding and encourage passengers to use Smart Gates. Passenger queues at immigration desks are now monitored through real-time dashboards with sensors published to the airport stakeholder through a mobile application to improve throughput and the passenger experience. The ACI will continue to work with airlines, governments and other role players.