The Importance of a Secure Edge in Smart Airport Deployments by Aaron Allsbrook

February 27, 2020

Airports can be transformed into smart airports with the integration of IoT and Industrial IoT solutions, ensuring greater efficiency and effectiveness of operations across airports which in some cases are bigger than some smart cities.

Smart airport technology is leading to innovations in the entire aviation sector, as the airlines continue to add more connected solutions to their aircraft, which in turn will increase the efficiency and productivity of airport management systems across the board.

For some, the greatest benefits will come from the ability to deliver predictive, personalized and productive passenger experiences. For others, the greatest benefits will come from safer and more secure airports, and for others, reductions in operational costs as more automated systems are put in place.

While much has been written about the improvement of baggage and freight handling using connected systems (including low-cost RFID tags), more “industrial” applications are taking off too. Sensors can be embedded everywhere, attached to smart building infrastructure (cameras, counters, physical security systems, and more), funded by smart LED lighting cost savings (and connected to the same power sources), used in parking lots to show open spaces, and embedded into service vehicles, including rail and bus “people movers” often connected to large public transportation systems.

A Survey produced by SITA reported that two out of three airlines feel that the application of IoT presents an instant benefit for the airlines while 86% believe that the airline will benefit within 3 years. (You can read more about this in this interesting post by Jim Peters, Chief Technology Officer of this multinational information technology company providing IT and telecommunication services to the air transport industry).

37% of the existing airlines have already invested in budgeting for the purposes of implementing IoT concepts.

Where does the edge fit in to all of this?

A typical IoT architecture is divided into three layers: physical layer, application layer and network layer. The physical layer captures sensed raw data from IoT objects with specific sensing abilities. Information gathered by sensors on the physical layer is delivered to the application layer, where it will be accessed and used through the network layer, which may integrate various types of wired, wireless, and mobile networks.

In order to integrate heterogeneous networks and sensors to provide applications and services to access efficiently, IoT platforms like ClearBlade’s can be used to orchestrate and secure the data in near real time, as a leading innovator and provide of edge computing and connectivity solutions in the IoT industry.

Activities in Smart Airports can happen at the edge and in the cloud (which is why ClearBlade offers three platforms, which work seamlessly together – Enterprise IoT, Intelligent Edge IoT, and Secure IoT Cloud).

The edge is mission critical as it has the most potential to improve how people, things and information moves that moves the aviation industry forward.

Airport management has always been a very complex task. The application of IoT and IIoT solutions can play a positive role in improving experiences for every person and every organization depending on airports every day, while also contributing to the reduction of costs associated with the increasing demands to ensure airports are safe and fully secured.

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