How Airports can enable Virtual Geo-fencing for Operations Safety

The on-going Covid-19 pandemic has created tremendous challenges for the air transport industry, a situation that could go beyond 2020. For some airports, this lull is the perfect opportunity to build infrastructure and accelerate planned upgrading and expansion projects in anticipation for when the industry recovers.

As the situation gradually improves, governments around the world are beginning to give the green light for construction works to resume. It is crucial that security is not compromised under any circumstance as construction works carry on. After a long hiatus from worksites, workers could have lost touch with their job or may be new to their environment, posing a risk to themselves and airport operations. Airports would therefore need a fool-proof solution to monitor and respond quickly in case of such geo-fencing breaches.

A leading aviation hub in Asia had turned to the use of technology to actively track and monitor the movement of workers, worksite visitors and vehicles from construction zones to operational areas. They also needed a system that is able to draw up boundaries for their workers on the ground, enhance operational efficiency, and ensure the safety of site personnel.

This is where our Personnel & Asset Tracker (PAT) solution steps in to provide the airport with the intelligence of the whereabouts of 700 tagged personnel – all from one intuitive display. The solution offers facility managers the peace of mind in a portable design, while delivering a comprehensive situational picture of their personnel to maintain security at all times.

Getting a Keen Sense of the Ground Situation

The airport needed a management system that was able to track, monitor and show the location of workers, contractors and assets on a simple map display, all in real-time. This is because every worker has to be accounted for, as the safety of workers and the security of airport operations are the main concern.

This system had to be equipped with a few key features:

Precise and accurate location reporting
Facility managers must be alerted immediately and be able to quickly identify and locate the worker in the event of him moving out of the virtual geo-fence zone into a restricted area. The information from the management system needed to be precise and accurate so that airport operations are not put to risk by the distracted workers and rectification can be done nimbly.

Rugged, compact and durable
For sustainability, the tracker should be lightweight, pocket-sized and easy to carry around. It should also be rugged and tamper-proof, and has to withstand harsh environments such as water, dust, heat and shock in construction sites. The extended lifetime usage of the tracker would be an investment concern for the airport.

Real-time data
Accurate and up-to-date data is critical to the management of the huge numbers of workers moving in and around premises. The number of workers to be monitored and tracked at a time could range from hundreds to thousands.

The above requirements will help the airport operator to ensure that any unauthorised movement outside defined authorised areas is detected quickly. This system is needed to provide a clear visualisation of the precise location of each and every worker and contractor on the ground at all times, so as to prevent unintended incursions into the operational areas which could disrupt operations.

Smart Tracker Solution for Safe and Secured Environment

The PAT 200 is a real-time location tracking system that is able to plot the location of every single tagged individual on a simple map, up to an accuracy of 3 metres. Individuals and assets are tagged with a pocket-sized tracker which reports its location to the system in intervals of up to every 4 seconds. The real-time update would ensure maximum accountability for the safe movements of the workers.

With a 12-hour runtime between each recharge cycle when the tracking interval is set at 4 seconds, each tracker contains sufficient battery to last the workday. If longer tracking hours are required, the reporting interval settings can be tweaked accordingly for an extended runtime.

The system also factored in the evolving needs of airport operators and comes equipped with several other features:

Staying connected in any situation
Through a one-stop PAT Management System portal that is easily accessible on a computer or via a mobile application, facility managers will have a good overview of their workers on the ground even on the move. Aside from the real-time locations, managers will also be able to playback the location history of each individual user.

When a user enters an unauthorised area, the tracker immediately notifies the wearer of the security violation, and security personnel will automatically be alerted when workers go beyond their predefined zones into areas with restricted access. This allows for fast intervention action to be promptly taken, so as to ensure airport security.

Multiple lines of communication
The PAT 200 tracker uses multiple Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) constellations such as Global Positioning System (GPS), GLObal NAvigation Satellite System (GLONASS) and BEIDOU (Chinese satellite navigation system) satellite data to determine the location of each individual user. It then communicates with the server over the ubiquitous 3G or GPRS mobile data connectivity. If mobile data networks are not present, the tracker can fall back on SMS communication.

Scalable and configurable system
The system allows users to configure multiple parameters that suit specific needs. These include drawing up of geo-fencing areas which makes the system easily customisable, as well as the reporting rate and the operating period. Up to several thousand units can be deployed in the field at any one time. The high accessibility of the management system and the ease of drawing-up geofencing areas makes it easy and flexible to manage users efficiently.

Beyond tracking of airport personnel, the PAT 200 can also be deployed in other operational fields such as assets tracking, fleet management, and outdoor excursions.

Having to manage the safety and security of millions of passengers and thousands of workers over large tracts of land is an enormously challenging task for the airport. As the pandemic presents the aviation industry with new challenges, circumstances, and uncertainties, the aviation hub needs to remain nimble as it navigates through this period – switching gears as it adapts to different operational challenges.

In light of the challenging environment, the novel tracking technology that PAT 200 proves to be effective in enhancing security, improving efficiency of ongoing construction works, and boosting the safety of personnel and assets.

Find out more about what our smart tracking systems can do for you here. Contact us at agiltrack@stengg.com.

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