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The holistic approach to airport integration

Posted: 8 August 2011 | Uwe Karl, Head of Airport Solutions, Siemens Building Technologies Division | No comments yet

One of the biggest challenges faced by an airport is how to integrate the various systems that it employs to ensure that the security, the comfort and the convenience for passengers is maximised. The nature of an airport means that it typically develops organically. As the demand for air travel grows, with the megatrend towards urbanisation gathering pace and the role that airports have to play in that process increasing, so airports will expand accordingly.

They will build new terminals, expand facilities within existing buildings and perhaps even construct new runways to extend their capacity to accommodate more passengers and freight. All of this involves the addition of new elements to security, fire, electrical power distribution, heating ventilating and air conditioning and building automation systems.

One of the biggest challenges faced by an airport is how to integrate the various systems that it employs to ensure that the security, the comfort and the convenience for passengers is maximised. The nature of an airport means that it typically develops organically. As the demand for air travel grows, with the megatrend towards urbanisation gathering pace and the role that airports have to play in that process increasing, so airports will expand accordingly.They will build new terminals, expand facilities within existing buildings and perhaps even construct new runways to extend their capacity to accommodate more passengers and freight. All of this involves the addition of new elements to security, fire, electrical power distribution, heating ventilating and air conditioning and building automation systems.

One of the biggest challenges faced by an airport is how to integrate the various systems that it employs to ensure that the security, the comfort and the convenience for passengers is maximised. The nature of an airport means that it typically develops organically. As the demand for air travel grows, with the megatrend towards urbanisation gathering pace and the role that airports have to play in that process increasing, so airports will expand accordingly.

They will build new terminals, expand facilities within existing buildings and perhaps even construct new runways to extend their capacity to accommodate more passengers and freight. All of this involves the addition of new elements to security, fire, electrical power distribution, heating ventilating and air conditioning and building automation systems. This may well involve different technologies which are not necessarily cross-compatible with existing systems, as well as different contractors to undertake the work. Legacy issues need to be considered whenever new additions are made. The management of these often disparate systems, third party equipment and a host of different resources throughout the lifecycle of the facility is crucial. As an airport grows and its requirements change, this growth needs to be managed efficiently, securely, safely and in a way that is compatible with the environment.

Emergency planning

In terms of emergency planning, the need for integration is particularly acute. In the event of an incident, it is vital that those tasked with responding have all the relevant information to hand. This information has to be in a format that enables them to act quickly and efficiently, as well as in a structured and pre-defined way. Even a relatively small provincial airport will have security and safety measures employed over a wide area and the key to responding effectively is to manage all the different inputs and alerts which may occur. For large international airports, this is obviously even more critical. In an emergency situation, information can be supplied from a wide range of different sources including fire, intrusion, access control, video surveillance and building automation systems. Command and control systems have a vital role to play, providing a technical integration platform linked to all sub-systems and offering a central means of monitoring the various inputs. Security personnel receive live, real-time video on a single screen automatically and, through a fully integrated graphical representation of the airport in either 2D or 3D, the location of an incident can be immediately pin-pointed. Resources can then be deployed to the given location, with systems available that feature a routing engine to calculate and display the optimum routes to the incident. Additional safety and security infrastructure, such as the location of fire hydrants and emergency evacuation points, can be also be built into the display.

With all of the information assembled in one place, command and control systems also guide and support the personnel who need to respond, managing often complex co-ordination and communication require ments in crisis situations and emergencies. By their very nature such situations are stressful. Having a set of clear actions to follow for a number of different scenarios, with the relevant contact details and processes automatically displayed, is the most effective means of deploying internal resources – and also co-ordinating with intervention forces such as fire brigades, police, ambulance and security services if required.

Learning from experience

Gathering all the available information and providing the means to act upon it in the event of an emergency is the vital factor in ensuring the optimum and appropriate response. Learning from an incident and how those lessons can be applied in the future is also important. Verbal reporting from those involved in an incident is, of course, invaluable. Command and control systems can support the post-event evaluation process with reports containing specific information and data that is unclouded by emotion or the failings of human memory. By adopting command and control, airports can take a more holistic approach to protection and one that ensures that the response to any incident is made with complete situational awareness. www.siemens.com/bt/airports

The Siemens Group

Siemens AG (Berlin and Munich)

Siemens AG is a global powerhouse in electronics and electrical engineering, operating in the industry, energy and healthcare sectors. For over 160 years, Siemens has stood for technological excellence, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality. The company is the world’s largest provider of environmental technologies. More than one-third of its total revenue stems from green products and solutions. In fiscal 2010, which ended on 30 September, 2010, revenue from continuing operations (excluding Osram and Siemens IT Solutions and Services) totalled €69 billion and net income from continuing operations €4.3 billion. At the end of September 2010, Siemens had around 336,000 employees worldwide on the basis of continuing operations. www.siemens.com

Siemens Industry Sector (Erlangen, Germany)

The Siemens Industry Sector (Erlangen, Germany) is the worldwide leading supplier of environmentally friendly production, trans – portation and building technologies. With integrated automation technologies and comprehensive industry-specific solutions, Siemens increases the productivity, efficiency and flexibility of its customers in the fields of industry and infrastructure. In fiscal 2010, which ended on 30 September, 2010, revenue from continuing operations of the Industry Sector (excluding Osram) totalled around €30.2 billion. At the end of September 2010, Siemens Industry Sector had around 164,000 employees worldwide without consideration of Osram. www.siemens.com/industry

Siemens Building Technologies Division(Zug, Switzerland)

The Siemens Building Technologies Division is the world’s leading provider of safe, secure and energy efficient solutions for buildings (Green Buildings) and building infrastructure. As a service provider, system integrator and product supplier Building Technologies offers building automation, HVAC, fire safety, security, low voltage power distribution and electrical installation technology. With around 42,000 employees worldwide (30 September), Building Technologies achieved a turnover of €6.9 billion in fiscal year 2010. www.siemens.com/buildingtechnologies

 

About the Author

Uwe Karl has worked for Siemens in the field of fire safety, security and energy efficiency since graduating from university in 1981. He moved to South West Germany and became account manger for the Stuttgart region and after that key account manager for customers like Mercedes Benz, Alliance Insurance and Southwest German Broadcast in Stuttgart. Later in Munich he worked in the HQ for International Security Projects and in Karlsruhe he was head of a group for SBT Intercompany Business. Since 2002 he has been Director for BT Airport business and a member of the Market Development Board “Airports” representing the Division Building Technologies in airport projects, in conferences, on exhibitions and in professional articles. During that time he was core team member for the “Siemens Airports Business Strategy” and “Future of Airports 2030” project. The actual focus is on the regions EMEA and USA with Security and Energy Efficiency Solutions for Airports.

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