Video Surveillance & Physical Security Industry Viewpoints
November 6th, 2018
Author: Tomer Saar

Video Content Analytics Could Change the Fate of Holiday Travelers

For most, the holiday season is a time that conjures positive associations and memories – although this typically excludes the travel process. AAA reports that, in 2017, over 4 million of Thanksgiving travelers reached their respective destinations by flight, facing expected overcrowding and long queues at the airport.

There are many ways airports could overcome the formidable challenges of the holiday season, from hiring additional staff to opening more check-in counters, security checkpoints and store checkouts – all of which can be significantly enhanced by Video Content Analytics. VCA can play a significant role in increasing airport security, efficiency and operations around the holidays and yearlong. Here’s how airports could leverage existing surveillance infrastructure to ensure a safe and streamlined travel experience:

Optimizing Traffic and Crowd Control

It’s no secret that one of the biggest traveler frustrations is long, unruly queues – especially when they’re ubiquitous throughout the airport. Travel hubs typically increase staffing around the holiday season, to combat overcrowding and line formation, but simply employing and deploying more manpower isn’t always effective if the additional staff isn’t positioned and integrated well.

Airports need to have a clear and deep understanding of the airport traffic flow patterns – from the parking lots, to the check-in lobbies, security checkpoints, terminals and even individual gates. These spaces are being closely monitored by video surveillance, and airports could leverage real-time information and historic data to draw actionable intelligence and resolve these challenges.

With qualitative video data, the airports can:

  • Productively review hours of video data and get informed about common paths, activity or gathering areas to inform intelligent decision making and strategic planning
  • Analyze and understand where overcrowding tends to occur and predictively hire and position appropriate staff coverage
  • Configure real-time alerts to trigger a call-to-action when crowds start forming or an immediate notification when a disturbance occurs, to proactively deploy additional staff or direct traffic to alternate check points

Maximizing Airport Shop Configurations

Beyond driving efficiency for travelers, video data can be utilized to maximize revenues for airports and the retailers based within. Not only can retail outfits leverage the data to understand staffing requirements, they can use it to:

  • Analyze consumer demographics to cater to their preferences and offer relevant promotions
  • Optimize store layout and product displays based on traffic and key performance indicators extracted from video, such as store entry rates, the paths taken to reach certain areas and the consumer dwell time at displays. With data fusion, these data points can be further integrated with POS and revenue data, to reveal deeper valuable insights
  • Manage traffic and queues within the store and proactively alert the proper resources to assist shoppers and streamline checkout

Increasing and Streamlining Security

Traveler security is of the utmost importance to airports, and it can be difficult to promote this when security checkpoints become a major bottleneck for travelers. With Video Content Analytics and data fusion, airports can achieve better security and operations. Data fusion is the practice of integrating and analyzing data from multiple sources to draw insights and correlations.

For instance, at an airport security checkpoint, agents can leverage video data from the security checkpoint to understand:

  • Do security lines move at the same pace? Are the faster lines impacted by the staff on duty?
  • Are travelers being directed to different lines proportionately? Or is the distribution of people waiting and passing through each line disparate?
  • Are travelers effectively using the areas designated for them to reorganize following security checks?

Understanding how these areas are used can inform staffing decisions or protocol improvement for the security checkpoint. Airports can make sure that people are being directed optimally, that staff is working effectively and that security checks are being performed thoroughly, but efficiently.

For airport managers, staff and travelers alike, tackling the challenges of the busy holiday season is of top priority. Implementing changes of this scope is no easy feat, but for airports, the first step to overcoming these challenges is unlocking the power of existing resources, such as video, and utilizing its data for maximum impact.