SMART Airports are one of the latest major innovations in the aviation industry, aiming to eradicate issues ranging from congestion, to inaccessibility, to poor security and operational issues within airports. By utilizing the Internet of Things (IoT) in conjunction with video analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other technological innovations, we are able to imagine a more efficient - and therefore sustainable - world of aviation, where the overall safety and experience of the passenger is vastly improved. SMART airports have become a prominent strategy for differentiation, transforming the airport into a destination rather than a mere gateway.
Aviation Media’s 2021 SMART Airports and Regions Conference & Exhibition (SAR) in San Antonio, Texas aimed in part to address this subject of industry digitization, focussing in tandem on COVID-19’s impact on the industry as a whole. Hosted by Jesus H. Saenz, Jr. IAP, Director of Airports at the event’s venue of the San Antonio International Airport & Stinson Municipal Airport, the conference brought stakeholders in the industry together to assess this changing world of aviation and discover solutions for cleaner, more robust systems. With the development of Smart Airports reflecting the advent of the ‘Smart City’ – integrating technology with our environment - it seems fitting that SAR 2021 should explore airport urbanism and the socio-economic, personal and cultural relationship of airports with their surrounding areas.
As a fully In-Person event, the chosen format for SAR 2021 mirrored the direction of its industry: sustainably opting against waste (through the means of All In The Loop’s custom, branded mobile app) and harnessing the digital to enhance the physical. With the app replacing the need for paper ticketing, abstracts, displays, maps and more, SAR was able to embody its developmental outlook and provide guests with a taste of future operations. Attendees also had the chance to win two tickets to the 2022 and 2023 conferences by partaking in a survey, adding a fun and engaging gamification element to the proceedings. SAR 2021 was Aviation Media’s fourteenth instalment in the series, having previously hosted across Europe, South East Asia and North America.
The SAR app allowed for an optimized attendee experience with a personalised schedule feature further maximizing convenience during the conference. Easily accessible within the app was the ability to message participants directly, partake in a Live Q+A session, access a digital Map tuned to their live location, and receive relevant notifications. In line with COVID-19 concerns, QR codes for entrance to the conference and its subsidiary sessions made contactless attendance easy, with a built-in Messaging service and a ‘Request Meeting’ button within each digital attendee profile meaning social distancing and the potential for infection were both thoroughly accounted for.
SAR 2021 was sponsored by PSM², a Woman-Owned Small Business formed in 1988 which specialises in support for the construction and design industries. With so many exciting subjects covered at the conference, All In The Loop’s work with Aviation Media was a fascinating and insightful experience, bolstered by their vision for new possibilities.
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