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As airports evolve

Air travel remains one of the most popular modes of transport, however in line with the growth in passenger numbers, there are increasing demands on airport operators to provide higher levels of protection for people, cargo and vital assets. Chris Edwards, Account Development Manager for Siemens Building Technologies writes that as airports evolve into mini ‘cities’, operational teams require intelligent and integrated tools to manage and process more passengers and cargo as well as administer a business environment that has grown in complexity.

The ‘smart airport’ concept can be now delivered with the introduction of enterprise-level command and control to create greater synergies between core sub-systems such as security and fire safety protection, power, communications and building energy management. The outcome is an increase in cost savings, revenue opportunities and improvements in manpower resources, not only for new construction, but also for existing premises and facilities.

Command and control platforms integrate protection and energy management devices across multiple airport locations, manage critical situations and enhance procedures, creating significant efficiencies by delivering improved intelligence, information and advanced reporting. Furthermore, these new generation software solutions will incorporate legacy equipment and adapt to specific airport corporate policies and Civil Aviation Authority guidelines.

A typical project scope might encompass: command and control solutions; wide-area surveillance; perimeter and site intrusion protection; access control for people, contractors and vehicles; alarm management, fire detection and extinguishing; phased evacuation systems; building energy management and energy performance monitoring.

Intelligent surveillance solutions can collect information from various sensor systems such as video cameras, radar and GPS and compare all activities in the area with the defined security zones. Whenever people or vehicles pass through defined security zones, live, real-time video can be automatically displayed on a single screen to security personnel for verification, and the necessary measures implemented either automatically or manually.

Effective perimeter security detection will protect the airport apron where aircraft are parked, loaded, unloaded and refuelled. Systems include long-range conventional video and thermal-imaging surveillance cameras, motion detection sensors and ground-radar detection and tracking. Intelligent policy zones and virtual barriers will detect, track, and classify activity, enabling operators to see what is happening in real-time. Command and control systems will automatically qualify and identify unauthorised attempted access well beyond the airport boundary and contain potential risks before they pose a threat to operations and assets.

This enables airport security operators to be alerted and to react to extraordinary events and suspicious behaviour, aided by pre-defined and approved workflows. Today’s large-scale surveillance solutions filter critical events from cameras and security devices, displaying results via a comprehensive digital map. Integrated three-dimensional analytics determine particular object attributes, supporting operators in pre-qualified classification of all activity and incidents.

Video analytics ensure that conspicuous or suspicious behaviour, or left luggage in corridors, lounges or at gates, check-in and duty-free areas can be identified immediately and any necessary measures against potential drug smuggling, theft, manipulation and terrorist attacks can be taken at the earliest possible opportunity.

Intelligent car park video recognises vehicle number plates and can track vehicle movement, access authorisation and identify number plates at any speed, day and night. The date and time of all entries and exits are recorded in a single image and this data can be made available for parking management or access control systems and ensure controlled, structured and organised entry and exit for all vehicles in airport car parks.

Access control systems not only control the times at which the entire ground staff have access to buildings, specific floors, zones and areas; they can also be networked with the time and attendance recording system and connected to the payroll system through a corporate smart card. These also operate as cash-free payment cards in restaurants, car parks and petrol stations to improve the efficiency of personnel administration.

To make travel even safer, and to counter the activities of illegal immigrants or terrorists, biometric systems can make identification procedures safer and reduce the workload on security personnel. Intelligent video systems can also be used to detect bottlenecks at check-ins, improving both the throughput and security of passengers and personnel.

A key element in the provision of safe air travel for passengers and safeguarding staff is the standard and capability of the fire safety systems. It is paramount to prevent fire from spreading and jeopardising life, equipment and cargo, and secure exit must be carefully considered.

Key considerations are: very early warning of a fire event, immediate detection in vast, open areas where smoke is easily diluted and high airflow may disperse smoke, automatic response options, incident management tools and timely evacuation.

Deep integration across with security technologies will create a fully automated approach to task handling and incident management by extending cause and effect to include security within life safety systems. By combining a wide variety of systems and creating a logical sequence, it is possible to limit potential damage. For example in the event of fire, a workflow-oriented approach driven by security and safety devices would maximise protection across the site, as video surveillance cameras would verify the situation, ventilation systems would adjust to prevent smoke from spreading, escape routes would be activated and live messaging would alert relevant personnel and facilitate safe, orderly evacuation. The integration of these multiple technologies would enable a complete incident record to be collated and communication with the access control system would create an instant roll call of people on site.

Advanced fire detectors will deliver full protection across airport terminals and buildings and should eliminate the potential for false alarms and the subsequent disruption this would cause, by having the capability to differentiate between false fire phenomena and a real indicator of fire.

Intelligent extinguishing solutions which use an environment-friendly chemical gas or natural gases help ensure that fires are put out before they have a chance to take hold and critical equipment in computer suites, data centres and warehouses is fully protected not only from fire, but also from the damage caused by water or foam used to extinguish it.

In the event of a fire or major alert, rapid and orderly evacuation is the highest priority. Studies reveal that many people do not know how to react to conventional alarms such as bells or sirens. Many can assume that it is a test or false alarm and ignore the alert, others remain confused and unsure of what to do. Particularly for airports with a high volume passenger count of varying nationalities, people need to be immediately notified about the nature of the incident and the appropriate action they should take. A high performance voice alarm system using live or recorded messages will reduce the potential for confusion, panic and risk of injury, as all personnel on site will receive clear, informative and controlled instructions. Consideration should be given to suitable muster points for disabled visitors, as well as the use of foreign languages for evacuation announcements, warnings and instructions for overseas passengers.

Integration for Istanbul

Siemens has installed a fully integrated fire, security and energy management solution at Sabiha Gökçen International Airport in Istanbul, Turkey (pictured). The project required the installation and full integration of 200 video surveillance cameras and 28 digital recorders, and 9,000 fire detectors combined with 400 carbon monoxide gas detectors, all fully integrated to provide maximum levels of protection. The operator can view displays of alarms, messages and the status of all connected systems and the modular architecture makes it cost-effective and scalable. In the event of evacuation, an integrated voice notification system using 4,600 loudspeakers is automatically activated.

A Totally Integrated Power (TIP) system offers power distribution from the medium-voltage supply through to the socket outlet, providing maximum control and improved protection. The TIP has 140 motor control centres and universal metering cabinets to measure the stability of the energy network, helping to detect any irregularities in the energy distribution system to prevent the possibility of a fire or power failure. In addition, the TIP provides the means to monitor and control the airport’s energy consumption.

The Siemens Desigo building automation system monitors 11,000 data points and creates efficiencies by reducing heating or increasing air conditioning, turning off lights and raising and lowering blinds to save energy and maintain a comfortable environment for passengers and staff inside the terminal. The solution has the flexibility to adapt to changes in usage and requirements and can be expanded in line with demand, thus maximising the value of the original investment.

Kempegowda International Airport, Bangalore

As a pioneer of change in Indian aviation, Kempegowda was the first airport in India to be constructed through a public-private partnership. Siemens was selected to supply and install all the technical systems for the airport comprising numerous turnkey components for the delivery of airfield lighting, IT systems, networks and communication, check-in, x-ray and baggage handling systems and passenger boarding bridges.

Siemens also installed the power supply, low and medium-voltage power distribution, fire safety and security technology and building automation systems as well as a number of mechanical components such as gangways, elevators and escalators. The airport was subsequently able to serve more than double the original number of passengers and in 2016 was the third-busiest airport by passenger traffic in the country, handling over 22.2 million passengers.

In conclusion

Airport operators can improve the protection of people, communities and assets by employing technologies that provide complete situational awareness, an effective response to emergency incidents, instant mobilisation and deployment of resources. This requires a systematic approach; one that includes the development of a clear technological roadmap to drive a coherent, joined-up and long-term investment strategy with safety and security at its core. Deep integration of security, fire safety and building systems means that all disciplines are fully co-ordinated to ensure airports are safer, more efficient, sustainable and economical.


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