Smart baggage handling (SBH) solutions, is perhaps one of the best use of industrial IoT. Not only does it alleviate the pressures placed on the ground support personnel, but it also makes the entire travel experience smooth and hassle-free. This is particularly important at a time when the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has mandated major improvements in the baggage handling systems by June 2018.
What is so ‘smart’ about the SBH solutions?
Even though many travellers are always perplexed on how can their luggage even land on a wrong airplane, the fact is chances of this happening is rather high. With the enormous number of people travelling on a regular basis, many airlines have faced the nightmare of goofing up with baggage handling. And this is why SBH solutions is regarded as one of the best technological innovations in the airline industry.
A perfect synergy of M2M, IoT, sensors, beacons, cloud-based airline applications and analytics – the SBH solutions help connect and manage baggage on a real-time basis, thereby enabling its easy retrieval. With increased penetration of Wi-Fi, radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, Bluetooth, and improved wireless connectivity, research analysts at Technavio expect the global SBH market to grow at a CAGR of more than 12% by 2021.
Market pundits in fact believe adoption of SBH will revolutionize the entire passenger experience through better baggage handling, reduced congestion and passenger wait times at airports. Keeping this goal in mind, Delta Airlines have invested around $50 million on RFID at some of their major drop stations. Through this technology, passengers as well as other baggage stakeholders can get precise information about their ‘bag’s journey’.
Roadblocks in the easy adoption of SBH solutions
Now, for a technology which seems to be the panacea for a good part of the airline woes, it would be little off the mark to even think that it has some major roadblocks to overcome. But the fact remains, there are several challenges in the adoption of SBH solutions.
Firstly, SBH solutions are cost-intensive. Despite huge investments made by airlines and airport authorities, the cost of RFID tags and smart bags is rather BIG. Also, the transformation of the current airport ecosystem into an IoT ecosystem is a rather humongous task. Secondly, most aviation stakeholders find it rather difficult to handle the large sets of data. This fact was openly accepted way back in 2014 when around 70 flights were canceled in one day due to technical issues at the London Heathrow Airport.
Lastly, high incidence of cyber-attacks demands for a secured security system which will bring down the occurrences of data infringement. Ensuring optimum data protection to passengers is yet another roadblock which needs to be worked on.
It is expected that in the upcoming years, stakeholders and airlines will be able to overcome most of these challenges to build a seamless aviation experience.
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