ICT – An essential tool to safe travel

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Technology has long enabled security checks to be executed at airports. These security checks were further enhanced globally after 9/11 with more advanced scanning systems.

Looking back at the security conducted through the years and recent terror attacks it is evident that the security focus too long was solely placed on the traveler about to embark on a journey. Strange enough no real security facilities/systems are in place to scan and monitor all movement through departure and arrival areas of airports. Strange it is indeed as these areas always have large gatherings of people lugging luggage around totally unrestricted, and boundless access from the road.

It is unfortunate that no prior attention was paid to this vulnerability and now measures will be developed post tragedy instead of as a prevention. Measures all travelers will welcome, to suffice a dire need to feel safe and secure. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) will surely be at the basis of the future security measures to be implemented, yet current facilities should be further enhanced as can redress safety concerns.

The advantage of online check-ins: All airlines should be required to provide online check-in portals that actually work well. Many large airlines provide check-in portals, however, often not open to international travelers. Online check-in, however, is a means to prevent the long check-in lines, and so large gatherings in airport departure halls. Mere bag drops would permit for a faster movement through the departure terminal. Yet facilities will be required that can screen the contents of bags and persons as they enter the airport. The latter can be expected within short, and rest assured ICT will provide those systems.

The disadvantage of online check-in is that not all travelers may have access to internet connectivity preventing access to, and the use of check-in portals, prior to travel. The availability of check-in terminals can, however, mitigate this disadvantage.

Curbside check-in offered at certain airports is another means to enhance security, in the event entry into the airport areas is done with prior security screening. Is this paranoia or the introduction of a system one would imagine to be part of that futuristic world portrayed in the Jetsons? Can we expect within short that all wanting access to airports would have to pass through a security screening? Will airport security evolve to the implementation and use of massive scanners of persons, vehicles and luggage venturing on airport facilities?

Whilst it is not yet clear how the world will respond, and which standards for security will be developed, it is imminent that unrestricted access to airports will be a thing of the past. We may not expect luggage drop off for transport through a security conveyer belt from the moment we seek a parking ticket or seek access to drop off, or a screening ramp for vehicles entering the airport area, for that all may be deemed to futuristic. Rest assured the new screening tools will be ICT-based and will constitute the next generation in security screening.

As airports are not the sole targets for acts of terrorism, many other means of public transportation, access to concert areas, public parks, etc., will see the implementation of new and more advanced security measures, to detect the presence of explosives. Security perimeters will now be placed further away from buildings and events to mitigate impact. Security officers will not become obsolete, but a greater need for ICT security means will be required, as these means detect what the eye may not. ICT will be required to aid secure travel by bus, train, metro or by any vehicle on our roadways.

Peggy-ann Brandon