3 Technology Trends Affecting Air Transportation in 2019

| Transportation & Logistics

smiling holding a smartphone a laptop

IATA found that 70% of people would be willing to share personal information to speed things up at the airport. That clearly illustrates a need that mobile technology plays a significant role in meeting – for the benefit of passengers and air travel enterprises. By using mobile apps powered with computer vision and augmented reality (AR) customers and employees can complete processes such as check-in, luggage tracking, boarding and inventory management with mobile devices. For example – Alaska Airlines now use iPad Minis powered with Scandit software to scan passenger documentation at boarding gates, reducing crowding and replacing costly passport scanning technology.

Air transportation—both of cargo and of people—continues to evolve in response to shifting passenger demands and shows no signs of slowing in 2019. In 2018, over 4.5 billion passengers flew on nearly 45 million flights from over 17,000 airports worldwide, setting a new record in people transportation. With over 1.5 billion mobile boarding passes to be issued in 2019, organisations are looking for ways to meet passenger expectations while also improving efficiency.

Airlines and airport operations can find themselves locked into legacy technology that doesn’t easily lend itself to innovation. But by switching to a mobile platform, powerful apps can be developed to radically improve a whole range of operations and customer-facing services throughout the passenger journey from home to destination.  

How are these trends influencing the competitive landscape—and what can your business do to capitalize on them?

At Scandit, we work with some of the world’s most innovative airlines to improve air and ground transport workflows. We’re helping Alaska Airlines, SAS, SWISS, and Lufthansa among others.  Today, we’ll take a look at three major airline trends to watch in 2019. 

  1. Automation Increasing Efficiency of Air Transport Operations

In an effort to increase efficiency and streamline workflows, air transportation enterprises are becoming increasingly reliant on automation tools. Amazon Air is a perfect example of this trend. Along with working more closely with the Air Transport Services Group, Amazon’s personal cargo airline is using a wide range of automation tools in 2019 to bolster delivery efficiency while reducing overall costs. 

By incorporating technologies like machine learning and robotics across its 185 fulfillment centers, Amazon Air is automating its delivery workflows to increase cost-efficiency and increase delivery speeds for customers. These tools work even better with barcode scanning and object recognition built into them—creating more intuitive and flexible delivery operations across the board. If these technology investments continue to bear fruit, Amazon could soon rival FedEx and UPS as a long-term competitor in the freight space.

In addition to air cargo transportation enterprises, Scandit also helps passenger airlines across the world to leverage mobile data capture software like the Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK to optimize and automate key customer-facing workflows. Airline employees equipped with Scandit-powered apps can easily provide passengers with real-time flight information, lounge access, or flight connection information with a single, hassle-free scan—fostering better flying experiences for all parties. 

  1. Introducing Mobile Apps For Employees and Passengers

Airports and airlines are under more pressure than ever to increase capacity and improve passenger experiences—all while limiting costs. That’s partly why today’s airlines are turning to mobile computer vision technology to streamline check-ins for passengers. Inexpensive smart devices can be turned into powerful scanners with Scandit enterprise-grade software. This innovative passport scanning technology can help passengers save time throughout their journey and employees to complete regular processes at speed – at the airport and behind the scenes. 

Mobile computer vision scanning is replacing traditional hardware scanners at boarding gates and check-in areas. With the right computer vision scanning software, consumer smart devices are transformed into enterprise-grade mobile scanners. These solutions deliver the same powerful barcode scanning performance of dedicated scanners—capturing even the most challenging barcodes with ease. And because software-based scanning on mobile devices typically offers 3 times lower TCO (total cost of ownership) than conventional dedicated hardware scanning solutions, these scanning tools play a major role in reducing operational costs for airlines. 

Mobile computer vision scanning software can be integrated into a mobile app on employee tablets, allowing staff to scan passports and boarding passes away from the crowded gate area and facilitate efficient boarding. All scanned data is processed securely on the mobile device itself before being sent to a backend application for secure validation, ensuring safe and error-free scanning. This same process works across many airline interactions, ranging from luggage tracking to seat changes—bringing greater cost-efficiency to several customer services. 

  1. Augmented Reality (AR) Overlays To Deliver Real-time Passenger or Luggage Information Via a Mobile App

Augmented reality is becoming “need to have” functionality in the airline industry, delivering essential information for passengers and workers alike in real time. Passengers with airline apps featuring AR can scan the barcode on their mobile boarding pass and view updated flight information while at the airport. With a single tap of their smartphone, passengers gain access to real-time information on gate assignments, flight delays and more via in-app displays—ensuring a more efficient travel experience.

AR-enabled scanning software can help with identifying luggage, too. In 2018, 4.36 billion travellers checked in more than 4.27 billion bags, yet over 220 million bags are still mishandled today. Worldwide, baggage mishandling cost the industry $2.3 billion annually.  A 2019 Baggage IT Insights report from SITA showed that implementation of bag tracking, at loading especially, helps minimize baggage mishandling. 

A Scandit-powered airline apps that leverages MatrixScan technology to locate missing luggage (or the luggage of no-show passengers) within the baggage handling system can make baggage tracking and search-and-find more accurate and efficient. With the Scandit solution, you can turn every passenger or employee smartphone into a robust mobile airport baggage scanner, providing real-time access to luggage information via in-app AR displays. These scanning solutions bring speed and simplicity to baggage identification and management, creating a smoother experience for passengers. 

AR-compatible data capture solutions are also highly cost-effective compared to traditional scanning hardware. All workflows are executed from a single device which can make the system more secure and well as more economical. And because staff and passengers are already familiar with using mobile apps in their daily lives, it’s easy to adopt mobile barcode scanning with AR across your airline workflows. 



Fly Higher With Computer Vision Technology

Fly High, One Mobile Scan at a Time

Ready to learn more about how Scandit technology can help your air transportation enterprise create superior passenger experiences and more efficient employee workflows? Then download Fly High, One Mobile Scan at a Time which gives specific examples of how you could use our industry-leading technology throughout your air travel operations. 

Or just contact us  – we’d love to talk.