The aviation sector, along with many others, is experiencing a sea change in terms of emerging technologies and capabilities. We anticipate that this ‘digitalization’ will have a direct impact on the aviation security environment in the years to come.

Not to be confused with digitization, digitalization is defined as the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to a digital business.” (Gartner)

Let’s look at three ways in which digitalization is occurring in AVSEC.

Automated Screening

Within the context of screening both people and items, digitalization will drive better networking at the checkpoint, thereby enhancing the collection of operational and detection data across screening nodes. Access to these larger data sets, coupled with an explosion in machine learning, will help solution providers build new automated detection algorithms.  The automation will help security officers focus on higher-value detection opportunities.  More needle, less hay.

Continuous Improvement

The enhanced integration and interconnection of systems, together with appropriate analytics tools, will provide airport and airline operators new possibilities related to forecasting, training, staffing & scheduling, CONOPs, and daily planning activities.  Those supervising security processes will be better equipped to refine their operation in real-time, and based on solid data.  As important, these operators will have the ability to analyze performance day-after, further refining future planning and supporting a process of continuous improvement.  Greater operational efficiencies will allow operators to harvest resources from their existing operation for other security activities, reduce costs, and/or prolong costly investments in infrastructure.

Operational efficiency at the checkpoint is complex.  The devil is in the detail.  Digitalization will help us make sense of it.

Risk-Based Decision-Making

The explosion of Internet of Things (IOT) technologies and an enhanced willingness among the passenger population to share information will drive more risk-based decision making among security operators.  With more data and enhanced pre-screening activities, airport operators will be better equipped to test and evolve risk-based security initiatives.  As important, they’ll be able to review the results against more conventional one-size-fits-all screening approaches with robust data, allowing for the rapid refinement of risk models and/or new deployment approaches as appropriate.

If I have $1, how do I invest my $1 to best buy down risk?  Digitalization will help us refine the calculation… to the extent that calculating risk in this context is relevant (see my blog on risk!).

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