Colombia. Airports around the world have faced a sudden change that has diverted them from their usual course. In this way and in the midst of uncertainty, every minute of every day, airports welcome and say goodbye to passengers.
Air transport has evolved beyond the movement of people from one place to another; Increasingly, passengers want a seamless, lag-free experience that includes dining, shopping, and entertainment.
To meet this demand, the national government of Colombia, through the Civil Aeronautics, made an investment of more than $481.5 billion in modernization of airport infrastructure, providing better conditions of security, operational capacity and connectivity for air transport.
Likewise, in the midst of the pandemic, the Ministry of Transport through Civil Aeronautics has been carrying out the reactivation of air transport in Colombia, achieving in the first half of 2021 the mobilization of 11,225,211 passengers and the transport of 411,433 tons of cargo.
According to the International Air Transport Association-IATA (2019), Latin America and the Caribbean has a volume of passengers transported close to 590 million a year. According to a report by Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), 2020, air transport has an average annual growth projection of 4.7% for the next 10 years in the region. This implies that airports in Latin America and the Caribbean will need to invest around USD 146 billion in the air sector to develop new infrastructure and maintain existing airport infrastructure by 2040, double what the European continent needs to invest during the same period.
In that sense, maintaining a safe environment for travel becomes the main challenge for airports. For this reason, the adoption of new technologies, such as flexible systems adaptable to the changing needs of an airport, is essential to be able to guarantee high security standards.
Nawel Vargas, manager of Genetec Colombia and sales director of Central America and the Andean region, attributed the changing regulations and policies established by government officials as the main causes of airports' struggle to adapt and adopt new procedures. Physical distancing is the most recommended preventive measure for the spread of the virus and air terminals must ensure that this measure is carried out and works.
"To do this, knowing how many people are inside airports has become more important during the pandemic. To meet the new health mandates and keep everyone safe, operators must find ways to monitor crowds and divide into groups of people when there is high influx in a space," Vargas said.
Similarly, the manager of Genetec Colombia, clarified that to effectively estimate crowd levels, many rely on tools such as infrared ray counters, thermal count sensors or video-based aerial sensors. And while these crowd detection technologies can be useful, they're not necessarily the best option for keeping track of a large number of people.
"Today, integrated software analytics can be the most economical and effective solution for tracking crowds. Crowd estimation analytics not only reduce the need to purchase and maintain additional hardware or navigate complicated integrations, but also help those responsible for physical security keep people safe in different places," Nawel Vargas stressed.
What is a crowd estimation tool?
A crowd estimation tool is a video analytics solution that calculates the number of people contained within a large group in the field of view of your cameras. That means there's no need to add new sensors or devices because the tool analyzes live video streams from your existing cameras to estimate the number of people in a crowd.
Another important feature of the tool, adds Nawel Vargas, is its ability to be configured on the days and times when you would like to run crowd analysis and specify unique criteria for each camera. This can help operators be more effective during peak hours and optimize their hardware for the best results.
"This tool can avoid overcrowding in air terminals, automatically alerting their operators to places where crowds are forming and thus generate actions that help disperse people," Vargas said.