The challenge is being embraced at a major
international airport in the western United States,
where a new terminal is being built. Working with the
airport, our design-build team isn’t just discussing
data — we’re designing for data by facilitating
integration of building automation, facilities control
and monitoring of conveyance and utilities.
INFORMATION, BAGGED AND TAGGED
Such integration is complicated, and passenger
processing systems o;er an example. Boarding passes
and bag tags require specific devices to mechanically
handle airline stock. While home-printed or mobile
boarding passes help, universal adoption has not yet
arrived and the print stream itself is unique.
While consumers and technicians often think that
printing forms at airports is as simple as printing
a Word document at home, many airlines require
specialized firmware to interpret commands and
produce expected results.
Processing bags is another area where a highly
orchestrated concert of data must be exchanged
securely, e;ciently and rapidly. Data required to
accept, screen, sort and track baggage must be
generated, interpreted and acted upon using
predefined rules from multiple parties and within tight
tolerances for timing. And much of the data arrives
and departs as quickly as passengers and their bags
do; only some information remains behind for archival
purposes. This means airports must take action on the
data, making intelligent operational decisions quickly.
Designers must figure out how airports can get the
most from their data before it is lost.
Next comes the sheer volume. While fast-food
retailers, manufacturers and other businesses can
mine their deep sources of data to generate valuable
insights, such information is drawn from only a
few sources. Compare that to modern commercial
airports, in which an ocean of information is filled by
diverse data streams: cargo, fueling, environmental,
public safety and security, LAN/WAN, Wi-Fi,
The lists of challenges for airports continues to
expand. Applying the rigors of engineering culture to
technology integration puts your airport on course for
landing what you need: systems that are safe, secure,
convenient, consistent and resilient.
Stuart Garrett is a project manager in the
Aviation Group at Burns & McDonnell.
Connect with him at linkedin.com/in/stugarrett.
MORE THAN A
Airport technology is an enormously
complex set of interactions,
components and data that often
involves niche hardware and
software suppliers and data
integrators, making airports
incredibly challenging for operators,
designers and stakeholders.