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Smarter airports, faster check-in

Stephane Cheikh

Wearable Technology to improve flying experience

August 11, 2014 3:42 by

Forget endless queues at passport control, exhaustive boarding times and lost baggage, Wearable Technology (WT) is making these tedious airport procedures a breeze.

WT is clothing and accessories equipped with computer devices, allowing its users to stay connected on the go. And now airports are looking to use WT at check-in and security desks.

Virgin Atlantic, in partnership with SITA Lab – the world’s leading specialists in air transport communications and information technology – has been using Smart devices, such as Google Glass and Sony SmartWatch, since February 2014. These hi-tech pieces of equipment display passenger information electronically at a glance, which is then used to greet passengers by name and update and translate the latest flight information.

SITA Lab is also behind SWIFT Boarding, which uses a smart headgear’s displayand built-in camera as a scanner. Launched in 2013 as proof of concept, it allows airport officials to check several documents at once.

“The aim was to allow agents to securely scan and verify both a boarding pass and passport simultaneously by wearing Smart glasses,” says a press release from SITA Lab. “Both documents are held side by side, while the app ensures they belong to the same person.”

“In a couple of years, the passenger should [enjoy] a quicker journey through the airport and better accuracy at security, thanks to WT,” adds Stephane Cheikh, innovation manager at SITA Lab.

But it’s not only aviation that is taking advantage of WT; in the health and fitness sector glucose monitors and underwater physical activity recorders are already successfully in use.

“Technology observers are touting WT as the next big thing that could re-define how we use and interact with information. As mentioned previously, the concept is still in its early stages in the GCC region, but as the technology develops further, it will present more and more potential benefits for businesses and consumers,” says Cheikh.

Smart thinking indeed.

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