Hosting the Opening Day Networking Party, 26 March 2019

27 March 2019

Products on show

Actionable insights for operational excellence
GRASP Innovations

GRASP has been founded by two former aviation security consultants, who over the last few years have been dedicated to improving aviation security, both from a passenger experience (shorter queues and less hassle) and from an operational perspective (increased efficiency and effectiveness).

Their experience led to the realisation that given the right actionable insight, operational excellence becomes the goal to work towards. Understanding the actionable insight required and how to accurately and effectively measure this became the next challenge. Together with its trusted technology partner Xandar-Kardian, GRASP has come up with a formula that enables operational excellence.

"Once we truly understand your situation and what actionable insight would enable operational excellence, we match our technology to your environment," explains company co-founder, Robert Schuur. "In short: matching the right tool for the job. The insight we provide can be delivered in various forms, be it in self-supporting dashboards customised to your environment or directly enriching existing IT-infrastructure. We care about the value the actionable insight has for you, therefore the method of conveying this insight is very flexible."

Stand 5135

Exhibitor interview: Robert Schuur, co-founder, GRASP Innovations
A new exhibitor at this year’s Passenger Terminal EXPO wants to apply some much needed science to airport operations, using radar technology to anonymously capture data and provide insights to enable far greater efficiency, particularly at security checkpoints.

When, and more importantly, why, did you launch your company?
GRASP Innovations launched at the beginning of 2019, initially as a spin-off from Point FWD – a specialised consultancy firm dedicated to improving aviation security both from a passenger experience and from an operational standpoint. We launched GRASP first and foremost because we are convinced of the product and capabilities we have and can provide.

Our previous work at Point FWD was heavily dependent on data gathering and often required going on site for labour-intensive data captures, where we would monitor a security checkpoint for up to a full week. Hence, we’ve been searching for and testing methods to automate this task – and in September 2017 we first met with Xandar-Kardian – whose capabilities provided the perfect match.

Xandar-Kardian is a high-tech development company based in Seoul, South Korea, which is focused on advanced radar signal processing. The core technology powering its solutions is radar based on Impulse Radio Ultra-Wide Band (IR-UWB). The hardware transmits up to 10 million nano-pulses per second to gather valuable information on its surroundings. This even enables the detection and monitoring of micro-movements and vibrations such as breathing and heartbeats.

Everything we do is based on the same piece of hardware, an IR-UWB radar chip. Initially we saw this technology as a method of substantiating the data-driven consultancy we provide with Point FWD. However, the IR-UWB radar-based algorithms enable a far broader range of solutions: from accurate occupancy sensing and people counting to life sign monitoring and high-level security. It didn’t us take long to determine that this was a truly unique technology with such a broad spectrum of opportunities that we needed to start a new company for it – GRASP innovations!

What benefits does IR-UWB radar offer over rival tracking technologies?
I don’t really want to go into a comparison between the technologies that are on the market. I think all around us we see a desire for more insight, be it in one’s personal life through fitness tracking, for example, or in a professional environment where data can help improve processes.

In general, I feel like the time for gut feeling-based decision making – especially in environments where a lot is measurable – is coming to an end. We want to make well-informed and substantiated decisions.

Our technology provides a large area of coverage, making it ideal for airports. It also ensures completely anonymous data capture, and is fully GDPR-compliant, helping protect privacy. Our measurements are also ‘tokenless’ – we’re not looking for wi-fi or Bluetooth signals – we continuously measure movement, resulting in very high sample rates. You can also install our technology behind panels, completely out of sight, as it can ‘see’ through most materials, making it very easy to integrate into existing infrastructure.

How could your technology help an airport?
Air travel is expected to double in passenger numbers in the next 15 to 20 years, while in the short term, airports need to cope with more and more passengers using their existing facilities. This often leads to crowded areas and queuing, which puts stress on a positive passenger journey experience. GRASP can accurately determine the usage of specific locations, including spread of people throughout the entire airport terminal.

By deploying Xandar-Kardian’s area counting solution, we can measure the amount of people in a predefined static area. With the same technology, we are able to provide bi-directional information on how many people are moving through, for example, a hallway, jet bridge or corridor. A count of the amount of passengers at strategically chosen locations throughout the airport terminal provides insight into the spread of passengers, including occupancy rate per location. When combined with footfall between these locations, insight is provided into terminal usage throughout the day.

With the provided insight, passengers can be actively informed about the occupancy of their locations of interest inside the terminal. A more even spread of passengers can be achieved in this way, enabling more efficient usage of facilities, and finally, an enhancement of the passenger journey experience.

Furthermore, analysis on historical occupancy and footfall data can enable a more efficient staff allocation at bars, restaurants, transfer desks, etc – ensuring both cost reductions and an improvement of the passenger experience.

So you just help count people, right?
It’s important to realise our expertise is a little wider than ‘just counting’ – we want to fully understand a situation and match one or a combination of our applications to the environment. This ultimately leads to creating actionable insight, sometimes achieved by counting people and sometimes through other measurements.

How can you help improve airport security, exactly?
The costs of providing security in airports, especially in facilitating passenger throughput, keep rising, despite efforts to enhance training of security personnel and to upgrade screening technologies. Meanwhile, passengers can experience the screening process as stressful, invasive and annoying. Airports need to take immediate measures to improve efficiency to be able to handle ever more passengers – but within the same square feet of security facilities.

Currently, you walk up to someone and they tell you where to go – but these lane assignment personnel have very little or no insight to go on: they simply point you to the lane that looks the least busy – but is this really the best queue to join? GRASP can use its radar-based solution to measure and analyse the performance of each step in the passenger screening process, such as the divest and reclaim locations in a security lane.

Combining this with Xandar-Kardian’s near-field sensing solution, occupancy and dwell times in these locations can be measured. To provide information on the passenger flow through a security lane, foot traffic count (i.e. the amount of passengers per time interval) at strategic points can be used.

Usage, occupancy, dwell time and flow in a security lane provide insights into the behaviour of passengers inside the screening process. With this information, potential bottlenecks of process steps are easily identified. Also, lane productivity (processed number of passengers per time unit) can be determined based on a foot traffic measurement of passengers entering and exiting the filter, rather than just being based on a visual ‘hunch’.

By adding up all the data points you get a much clearer overview of the performance of the security checkpoint, ensuring passengers are directed to the lane with the highest throughput or the most divesting spots open. In other words, you move from a gut-based decision to something far more scientific, with the load-balancing process completely automated across the whole checkpoint, improving efficiency and throughput.

With throughput bottleneck identification, effective measures per process step can be taken to improve the overall productivity of the security checkpoint. Due to the high granularity of the captured data, the effect of (potential) improvements in the security process can be assessed in detail. This enables airport security managers to implement and maintain a highly efficient security operation. Also, passenger arrival patterns and lane productivity enable a more efficient planning of security personnel, resulting in reduction of queue times and personnel costs.

Do you have any metrics yet on how your technology can enhance efficiency?
It’s hard to put a definite or exact percentage or figure on it, as it all depends on local situations and processes. It can potentially – when executed right and in cooperation – result in a situation where automatic lane assignment is possible, resulting in a decrease of lane-assignment officers and a corresponding reduction of cost.

Furthermore, automatic lane assignment will in turn result in a situation where the load on a checkpoint is balanced and tuned to the performance of the checkpoint. High-performing lanes can handle more passengers and lanes with problems can be relieved. Data-driven load balancing and guiding will lead to performance improvement overall, since the checkpoint will have an accumulated better performance.

This might not be the soundbite you’re looking for, but we don’t want to promise a percentage improvement that locally might not be achievable.

What is your key message to visitors attending Passenger Terminal Expo?
Easy - come by our stand to get to know us and get a free demonstration of our technology!

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