No-one likes queuing to drop off luggage or going through airport security, but ahead of the spring holiday weekend, here’s how IEC Standards are making air travel a little less laborious.
The spring holiday break is nigh and, for many living in the northern hemisphere, it’s an opportunity to travel to sunnier climes, after a long and rather harsh winter. Air travel is the option favoured by most -more bang for your buck!
But before relaxing and enjoying the flight, the average traveller will have to access the airport, check-in luggage, go through security, perhaps even wait a couple of hours in the airport lounge if the flight is delayed… . New technologies are making this form of travel arguably less laborious with the help of many IEC Standards.
Here are just a few of them:
>Flight information systems
New interactive LED displays can take any shape and push information directly to travellers’ smartphones. IEC Technical Committee (TC) 110: Electronic display devices prepares Standards relating to display technology, including LED, 3D,OLED, flexible or even touch screen.
Intelligent voice systems are also beginning to be used to pass information on to travellers. Software has been developed that can direct voice announcements to travellers in their own language.
This enables passengers to better respond to safety instructions, speeding up the security process. Together with ISO, the IEC has recently set up a Subcommittee (SC) which is to develop Standards in the area of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Since September 11 2001, security at airports has been reinforced in all sorts of ways. Airport checkpoint screening has been significantly tightened.
In addition to standard metal detectors, some airports now employ full body scanning machines which X-Ray passengers to check for potential hidden weapons or explosives. These enhanced screening techniques are viewed as a way of reducing congestion.
They eliminate the requirement for body pat-downs, making security checks more fluid. One of the IEC’s Subcommittees, IEC TC 45/SC 45B: Radiation protection instrumentation publishes Standards which deal with radiation-based security screening.
Many airports have introduced smart ways to track luggage thanks to radio frequency identification device (RFID) tag. These contain electronically-stored information which makes luggage easier to locate in real time and faster to recover when a mistake is made.
RFID tags are also starting to be used to track freight in the supply chain enabling shippers to to know where products are in the distribution channel. ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee (JTC) 1/SC 31 covers automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) techniques, publishing Standards for bar codes and RFID.
Smart tags and labels are one of the fields opened up by the use of printed electronics. Sensors are directly printed onto labels, greatly simplifying the production process. The IEC set up TC 119 in 2011 to prepare International Standards in that area.