Newsletter - Q4 2020 - ICTS Europe Systems
Published: Tuesday, December 1, 2020
ICTS SMARTAPP TO FACILITATE ALL FAAN AIRPORTS IN NIGERIA. FIRST STOP LAGOS
In November, invited by the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria, our first team (Project Manager Will Rosie, and FAAN Project Lead Viola Wang) landed in Lagos, Nigeria. Together with our local partner, Arlington Securitas Ltd, they launched the SmartApp kiosks for all Four international airports in Nigeria. Following a successful month in Lagos, our professional team has successfully managed to set up a well-trained operation and technical support team in Arlington, and have successfully migrated the first patch into the SmartApp platform including Kenya Airways, Qatar Airways, Nigeria local carrier Air Peace and more airlines will follow. “We really like this Smart App solution. It is very easy to use and implement. We would like to have this solution in our other locations after the installation in Lagos airport,” said a SmartApp user airline in Lagos.
Click here to see Kenya Touchless SmartApp self-service with agent assistance.
Click here to see Air Peace SmartApp agent mode in operation.
ICTS PASSBOARD FOR AIR EUROPA IN LONDON GATWICK
Airline operations are facing multiple challenges these days. One of them is the requirement to submit valid and accurate passenger information to the destination's authorities. People may make typos in entering their personal data when ordering online, hence their documentation must be validated before boarding. PassBoard is designed to automate the current manual and time consuming processes, and do it more accurately than the current solutions through a simple WBS connection. The other big challenge is making sure passengers are complying with all health regulations required due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We conducted a 4-week trial at London Gatwick Airport to assist with the boarding process, and eventually also with the check-in operation of Air Europa, which are part of the TravelDoc family. We aimed to speed up the boarding process without compromising on the passengers’ compliance with the regulations. Working alongside the ground staff enabled us to see the effectiveness of PassBoard. We boarded travellers more quickly and with more confidence by receiving the relevant TravelDoc messages for each passenger. To better support the airline operations and reduce unnecessary stress and handling errors, we have developed during the second week of the trial a standalone document approval function within the PassBoard platform, which enabled the automation of the document check process already during check-in.
All passports were scanned by the representative who checked the compatibility of all data using TravelDoc and confirmed the existence of valid travel documents, visas, PCR tests and other documents. and only then were passengers allowed to proceed to the counter. This initial Travel Documentation checking not only accelerated the check-in operations, but also updated the API data when required.
Our argument for the need to develop the PassBoard system was based on various statistics that say that approximately 40% of passengers make mistakes in data entry while booking online.
During this trial we have noticed that from week to week we consistently updated 50% of the passengers’ API data, before submitting it, which created huge savings for the airlines when it comes to fines. The automation of the manual processes made the airport operations more efficient and hassle-free.
ICTS - MAXWORTH PRS ON SENTINEL FOR BANGALORE AIRPORT IN INDIA
Kempegowda International Airport is India’s third largest airport. Last year, before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, they had 32.3 million passengers. The focus of their activity now is how to deal with the recovery now that the industry slowly comes back. Bangalore Airport has always been known for its openness approach to digital transformation. Their digital transformation strategy is based on enhanced customer experience, improved operational efficiency, and increased non-aero revenues. During this journey, they have created the concept of DigiYatra, which is the world’s first end-to-end biometric boarding program. To make sure they use the best available technology, the airport has been working with many different companies and decided to use ICTS’s SmartApp kiosks to enhance their self-service offerings.
As part of their COVID-19 recovery efforts, to encourage and build confidence among customers, they are always strive to improve. BLR was the first airport to start using the touchless SmartApp kiosks, and now they are trialling our Sentinel units, which originally have been designed to facilitate contactless boarding.
However, with our partners, Maxworth, we have adapted the original deployment modes of the unit to better respond to the needs of the airport, and it is now a part of the airport’s Passenger Reconciliation System (PRS) with thermal scanning. There are two Sentinel kiosks installed at the entry of the airport’s terminal as part of the contactless journey trials. The passengers scan their boarding, and wait until the unit measures their temperature, then an agent physically checks their identity ( a statutory requirement in India), before they are allowed to enter the airport.
The next step in the airport’s digital innovation journey is to see how far they can push the envelope in respect to contactless boarding and biometric connectivity.
ICTS SENTINEL IN THE BALKAN
One of the biggest challenges for airports and airlines this year was finding an efficient solution for checking passengers’ temperature without slowing down the airport’s operations and yet complying with the social distancing guidelines.
Our Sentinel kiosk was developed in-house during lockdown, to allow a quick and contactless temperature check, to be performed during the boarding process, at the airport entrance, or any other checkpoint areas. The Sentinel kiosk can be used either as a standalone device, or as an addition to an existing system, addressing a diversity of commercial and industrial applications.
It has three deployment modes; the first one is a general temperature check which is activated when the passengers scan their boarding passes on the unit. One level above is the Boarding mode that during the temperature check, the passengers are also being boarded and have their API data validated. The third deployment mode is for a fully contactless journey, passengers’ temperature is taken and they are boarded using facial recognition technology.
Our kiosks have already been trialled in the UK at London Heathrow Airport, by Air Canada, and Virgin Atlantic. And in Frankfurt Airport by Lufthansa, with the aid of ICTS staff taking care of the units and managing the passenger flow. The latest addition to European expansion is Cyprus and Greece.
ICTS Cyprus is presenting the Sentinel to Hermes Airports as an option for managing the staff processes at the airport. In this case the kiosk will be set to read airport IDs and will do a quick temperature check to confirm if the staff is allowed to enter the premises. They will also introduce the unit at the seaport, which just shows how much our solutions can be used by the entire travel industry.
ICTS USER MEETING
This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we hosted our annual client meeting online. Considering the different time zones of our guests, we have decided to organize two separate meetings, one in November for our Asian clients, and one in December for our European, African and American contacts. During these meetings we presented to our trusted clients, fellow colleagues, and attendees from all over the world - including some of the most well-known airlines, airports, and ground handlers – the way we responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with our “Back in the Air” initiative. This included updated products and innovative new solutions that were showcased through a range of presentations, demonstrations, discussions. Although we were unable to treat everyone to a surprise evening of entertainment, we looked back at our great memories during the fun evening at Winter Wonderland this time last year.
The meeting began with the introduction of our Back in the Air initiative, explaining how we addressed the COVID19 risks with solutions that respond to the many challenges the industry is facing, including social distancing, sanitation, providing a health certificate before traveling, temperature measurements and a touchless operation. Expanding on our decades of aviation experience, we have enhanced our existing product portfolio to combat these difficulties with newly added features so that airlines and airports can provide passengers with a safe, smooth, new travel experience from check-in all the way to boarding, with passengers only required to touch their own personal device.
Next, we had a live demonstration of our mobile SDK which was developed to help airlines validate passports during online and/or mobile check-in and clear passengers for travel before they get to the airport. With the SDK integrated into the airlines’ mobile app, passengers can verify their identity and create a digital token that includes all their travel documentation, TravelDoc status, visa, medical certification, APIS status, and full itinerary. We then introduced the recent improvements to our TravelDoc system, including the TravelDoc COVID-19 info page that lists all the latest, country-specific COVID-19 rules. As we have launched our new TravelDoc website this summer - which can be found by clicking here. This meeting was a great opportunity to show and explain all the new features and updates. As part of our efforts to provide the latest immigration regulations in an easy-tounderstand way, we have translated the whole TravelDoc database into Dutch and French for our valued and longtime clients, Air France – KLM.
The second half of the meeting focused on SmartApp, our standalone cloud-based check-in application, with TravelDoc embedded within the system offering airlines and airports an alternative to the traditional and expensive CUSS and CUTE applications. We explained how we took our original SmartApp concept and upgraded it to offer touchless movement and passenger flow during check-in, to answer the changing needs of the industry. Passengers’ mobile phones are linked with the kiosks at the airport through WBS, creating a passenger flow that is quick, efficient, and in keeping with the social distancing requirements. We presented our Touchless SmartApp concept through a case study; we have helped Qatar Airways process more than 50% of their daily passengers at Heathrow Airport without the need to visit the check-in counter.
The next case study we presented was about PassBoard, the only boarding application that allows API data validation, document checks and is free from CUTE/CUSS and human error. With passports being scanned instead of the boarding passes we can immediately update check-in records directly in the airlines’ DCS, creating a single source of information which is always accurate, thus avoiding fines being imposed by national authorities. We conducted a four-week trial at Gatwick Airport with Air Europa, noticing that 50% of the processed passenger’s API data needed to be updated, potentially saving $685,000 worth of fines over the four-weeks period.
The last item on the agenda was the introduction of our new Sentinel kiosk that was developed in-house during lockdown to allow a quick and contactless temperature check to be added during the boarding process, at the airport entrance and any other checkpoint areas. The Sentinel kiosk can be used as a standalone or as an addition to existing systems, addressing a diversity of commercial and industrial applications. We demonstrated our projects with Air Canada, Virgin Atlantic at Heathrow Airport and Lufthansa in Frankfurt, followed by a presentation by Satyaki Raghunath the Chief Strategy & Development Officer at Bangalore International Airport, who spoke about their digital concept and how our Sentinel kiosks are a part of that. Positioned at the entry to the terminal as a part of the Passenger Processing System, passengers’ temperature is taken then they quickly scan their boarding pass, followed by and ID check to allow access to the terminal.
The webinar was a great opportunity for us to connect with our clients and colleagues that we haven’t been able to meet this year. We would like to thank everyone who joined us, and hopefully next year we will be able to welcome you all in person once again!
ICTS - AMADEUS PARTNERSHIP
Earlier this year, Amadeus has decided to refresh its website, in order to simplify the user experience and showcase its value proposition more prominently. The inspection of the old site showed that the customer and partner content was outdated and difficult to find.
In order to create a space that reflects their key values – simple, agile, and open – and makes their partners’ content visible and connected to their offer, Amadeus has reached out to each company they are working with and asked them to provide new and updated content.
You can check out our new partner page on this link.
ICTS IN VIRTUAL GROUND HANDLING INTERNATIONAL (GHI) CONFERENCE
This year we have teamed up with GHI to provide Sentinel Thermal Kiosks for the 22nd Annual Conference which was supposed to be held in Copenhagen this November. In return we would have received a booth at the conference, showcased in more detail the Sentinel kiosk, our Touchless SmartApp, PassBoard and TravelDoc. We would also have provided the TravelDoc support to the delegates and their travel information needs.
Unfortunately, the second wave of the pandemic forced the conference onto virtual channels. Our team attended multiple oneon-one meetings that they found quite useful. There were also various presentations that mentioned ICTS and our products. The best amongst this was Bangalore International Airport in which they explained the way our solutions fits into their digital journey. The presentation received a lot of positive feedbacks which accelerated the confidence for 2021 and the recovery of the industry.