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Flight path

The ‘smart airport’ concept can be now delivered with the introduction of enterprise-level command and control

Technology is making airports more efficient, safer and generating new revenues
Technology is making airports more efficient, safer and generating new revenues

Air travel remains one of the most popular modes of transport, however, in line with the growth in passenger numbers, there are increasing demands on airport operators to provide higher levels of protection for people, cargo, and vital assets.


As airports evolving into mini ‘cities’, operational teams require intelligent and integrated tools to manage and process more passengers and cargo, as well as administer a business environment that has grown in complexity.


The ‘smart airport’ concept can be now delivered with the introduction of enterprise-level command and control to create greater synergies between core sub-systems such as security and fire safety protection, power, communications and building energy management. The outcome is an increase in cost savings, revenue opportunities and improvements in manpower resources, not only for new construction but also for existing premises and facilities.


A typical project scope might encompass command and control solutions; wide-area surveillance; perimeter and site intrusion protection; access control for people, contractors, and vehicles; alarm management, fire detection, and extinguishing; phased evacuation systems; building energy management and energy performance monitoring.


Command and control platforms integrate protection and energy management devices across multiple airport locations, manage critical situations and enhance procedures, creating significant efficiencies by delivering improved intelligence, information, and advanced reporting. Furthermore, these new generation software solutions will incorporate legacy equipment and adapt to specific airport corporate policies and Civil Aviation Authority guidelines.


Command and control systems will automatically qualify and identify unauthorised attempted access well beyond the airport boundary and contain potential risks before they pose a threat to operations and assets. This enables airport security operators to be alerted and to react to extraordinary events and suspicious behaviour, aided by pre-defined and approved workflows. Today’s large-scale surveillance solutions filter critical events from cameras and security devices, displaying results via a comprehensive digital map. Integrated three-dimensional analytics determine particular object attributes, supporting operators in pre-qualified classification of all activity and incidents.


Video analytics ensure that conspicuous or suspicious behaviour, or left luggage in corridors, lounges or at gates, check-in, and duty-free areas can be identified immediately and any necessary measures against potential drug smuggling, theft, and terrorist attacks can be taken at the earliest possible opportunity.


Intelligent car park video solutions recognise vehicle number plates and can track vehicle movement, access authorisation and identify number plates at any speed, day and night. The date and time of all entries and exits are recorded in a single image and this data can be made available for parking management or access control systems and ensure controlled, structured and organised entry and exit for all vehicles in airport car parks.


Access control systems not only control the times at which the entire ground staff have access to buildings, specific floors, zones, and areas; they can also be networked with the time and attendance recording system and connected to the payroll system through a corporate smart card. These also operate as cash-free payment cards in restaurants, car parks, and petrol stations to improve the efficiency of personnel administration.


A key element in the provision of safe air travel for passengers and safeguarding staff is the standard and capability of the fire safety systems. It is paramount to prevent fire from spreading and jeopardising life, equipment, and cargo, and secure exit must be carefully considered.

Deep integration with security technologies will create a fully automated approach to task handling and incident management by extending cause and effect to include security within life safety systems. By combining a wide variety of systems and creating a logical sequence, it is possible to limit potential damage. For example in the event of fire, a workflow-oriented approach driven by security and safety devices would maximise protection across the site, as video surveillance cameras would verify the situation, ventilation systems would adjust to prevent smoke from spreading, escape routes would be activated and live messaging would alert relevant personnel and facilitate safe, orderly evacuation. The integration of these multiple technologies would enable a complete incident record to be collated and communication with the access control system would create an instant roll call of people on site.


Advanced fire detectors will deliver full protection across airport terminals and buildings and eliminate the potential for false alarms and the subsequent disruption they would cause, by having the capability to differentiate between false fire phenomena and a real indicator of fire.


Airport operators can improve the protection of people, communities, and assets by employing technologies that provide complete situational awareness, an effective response to emergency incidents, instant mobilisation and deployment of resources. This requires a systematic approach; one that includes the development of a clear technological roadmap to drive a coherent, joined-up and long-term investment strategy with safety and security at its core. Deep integration of security, fire safety, and building systems means that all disciplines are fully coordinated to ensure airports are safer, more efficient, sustainable and economical.


Siemens has installed a fully integrated fire, security, and energy management solution at Sabiha Gökçen International Airport in Istanbul, Turkey. The project required the installation and full integration of 200 video surveillance cameras and 28 digital recorders, and 9,000 Sinteso fire detectors combined with 400 carbon monoxide gas detectors, all fully integrated to provide maximum levels of protection.


The operator can view displays of alarms, messages and the status of all connected systems and the modular architecture makes it cost-effective and scalable. In the event of evacuation, an integrated voice notification system using 4,600 loudspeakers is automatically activated.


The Siemens Desigo building automation system monitors 11,000 data points and creates efficiencies by reducing heating or increasing air conditioning, turning off lights and raising and lowering blinds to save energy and maintain a comfortable environment for passengers and staff inside the terminal.



Gert Rohrmann is Technical Manager for the solutions division of Siemens Building Technologies UK



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