How tech has facilitated and eased aviation operations

Creative use of technology offers a balance between security, safety and comfort of travellers. Safety and security are the anchors of the aviation business. However, the rigours and intrusiveness inherent in implementing safety and security measures sometimes threaten the joy and beauty that is traditionally supposed to accompany air travel. According to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), providing a secure environment for travellers should not jeopardise the comfort of passengers. As such, the right balance between security and facilitation is paramount. This directive from the regulator leads to the question: how then do we achieve the equilibrium? The creative use of technology provides a variety of tools to meet this threshold. One of these tools is the deployment of Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV). Generally, these systems are designed in such a way that several video cameras are used to transmit a signal to a particular point on a specific set of monitors as the cameras capture activities within the area under coverage. EVOLUTION OF CCTV Like most inventions that are triggered by military and security needs, CCTV technology is reported to have been birthed in Germany around 1942 by the military, which used remote cameras to observe the launch of V2 rockets. Gradually, the use of CCTV moved to the banking halls and retail shops as an additional security measure. Today, technological dynamism has propelled the use of CCTV systems to exponentially expand with uses ranging from domestic, industrial, public and private - not only to enhance security but also as an invaluable tool for data and information gathering; making it a reliable source for the mining of business intelligence. Retail outlets such as supermarkets use the system for customer service, whereby the supervisor quickly picks out the queuing challenges and attends to them. The same applies to reviewing the footage to establish if the staff is carrying out its work as expected. It is also used for appraisal and giving feedback. In the manufacturing sector, the CCTV system is used to remotely monitor operations by the management to ensure that the ongoing activities in the plant and operations conform to set standards. It also helps to resolve operational disputes. In some cases, such as banking, it is now a regulatory requirement to put CCTV cameras where ATMs are located and cash collection points. CREATIVE USE OF CCTV IN AVIATION The robustness of the CCTV system makes it attractive in aviation in not only providing security solutions but also facilitating the realisation of other business needs. For instance, CCTV embedded with diverse analytics can proactively detect suspicious behaviour for prompt response and intervention. Some cameras have audio recording capabilities, which can be proactively used to pick up threatening conversations among staff and passengers during an operation and proactively pick out aggression from agitated passengers, especially at check-in counters, lost-and-found desks, and transfer point desks, among others. The aviation industry also faces the challenge of baggage interference, which is commonly referred to as pilferage. Deployment of mobile CCTV for use in aircraft holds to monitor operations at each point of embarkation and disembarkation, transit points for accountability provides both security and operation solutions. A versatile CCTV technology has capabilities beyond mere monitoring and investigation. It also involves queue management at check-in, human resources distribution at various operational points, management of ground handling equipment monitoring and operational dispute resolutions. CCTV can also help in cost-cutting and improved efficiency. For example, rather than employ several supervisors or managers, CCTV cameras can be mounted throughout operational areas with a one-off investment and a single individual uses the same to monitor and manage operations effectively. For operations that require routine outdoor patrols, the same can be effectively achieved by the use of CCTV, thus saving time and fuel. The deployment of this technological security solution not only mitigates the challenges of facilitation but also provides additional features to businesses in terms of efficacy, cutting costs, risk management and provision of business and security intelligence with ease. To achieve these milestones, the architecture of the system must be conceived with these comprehensive needs in mind. Just like the mobile money M-Pesa concept in Kenya, which was initially designed for mobile money transfers but has now turned into a phenomenon that has swept across multiple business operations, a well-thought-out CCTV system can revolutionise the aviation business.