In this CloudTweaks interview, we delve into the evolving landscape of airport security with Dolores Alemán, a seasoned Research Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. Dolores brings a wealth of expertise to the table. Specializing in commercial and physical security technologies, her insights are particularly relevant in today’s increasingly digital and security-conscious world. In a recent Frost report, “Growth Opportunities in Airport Security,” sheds light on the latest trends and technological advancements in this critical sector.
Q) How has the increase in air travel post-pandemic influenced the development and implementation of new airport security technologies?
A) Increased air travel also leads to the construction new airports and expanding existing ones. In 2022, over 200 new airports were under construction worldwide, expected to grow in the coming years. The expansion of existing airports is also driven by the need to accommodate the increasing number of passenger flows after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q) What are the specific challenges in balancing the need for efficient passenger flow with maintaining high security standards in airports?
A) Airports try to improve customer experience and journey inside airport facilities, and they believe they need to be lax in security controls. With more advanced screening capabilities, passenger-flow analytics and business planning can help airports with those needs without interfering with security.
Q) Can you elaborate on how biometric identification and AI are being integrated into airport security systems, and what benefits they offer over traditional methods?
A) Digitalization brought new technologies to the airport, including biometrics and scanning, without a human making it function. With the increase in passenger flow after the pandemic, airports are trying to facilitate border controls and avoid queues between airport facilities. Also, introducing artificial intelligence.
Q) How do the security needs and threat perceptions vary across the seven global regions (Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa, Middle East, Central Asia, Asia-Pacific) mentioned in your study?
A) Considering that each region and country is different, budgets are also different. Security needs will vary considering the country where the airport gets its money, whether it’s private or depends on the government and the security laws in each country.
Q) What role does cybersecurity play in ensuring the safety of airports, and how is it being strengthened in response to evolving digital threats?
A) The implementation of digital intelligence improves airport security. This digital intelligence platform can identify potential risks and help share information between airport sectors. With the increase in cyber threats, security vendors are developing new solutions to detect and mitigate those threats so as not to interfere with the airport’s security.
Q) How do airport security measures differ in newly built airports compared to the expansion of existing ones?
A) The advantage of new airports is that all the security equipment and capabilities will be equal because they are unique and from the same brand, making integrating easier. Airports that are expanding due to passenger flow have to deal with legacy technologies or have different brands of security solutions, meaning they can have integration challenges with new capabilities.
Q) In your study, you categorized airport security solutions into seven technological categories. Can you discuss the most innovative advancements in each of these categories?
A) The most innovative technologies in the coming years will be digitalized, most screening and detection capabilities that will not need the presence of humans and the implementation of artificial intelligence in cybersecurity and biometrics to avoid controls and queues in airports.
Q) How do global regulatory frameworks impact the adoption and implementation of new security technologies in different regions?
A) One of the challenges that the adoption of new technologies has are the different laws and regulations that countries have in terms of airport security, also integration problems with new solutions, which are challenging due to budgets and legacy systems, and data privacy since airports manage fragile information about passengers that can be easily leaked.
Q) What are the major risks and threats currently facing airports, passengers, and aviation infrastructure as identified in your research?
A) Considering that airports have a widely open environment in which millions of people transit every day is a place where security is constantly at risk. Cyber threats and physical threats are the major threats that airports are facing.
Q) Looking towards the future, what predictions can you make about the evolution of airport security technologies up to 2030?
A) In the coming years, we will continue to see increased digital intelligence solutions and capabilities since cyber threats are growing. With evolving threats in terms of cybersecurity, access control, and screening and detection capabilities, security vendors will develop solutions for these new scenarios.
By Gary Bernstein