Unusual Gathering | Episode XXVIII | Elizabeth Wharton and Damon Jackman

Conversations At The Intersection Of IT Security And Society

Guests
Elizabeth Wharton | Damon Jackman

Hosts
Sean Martin | Marco Ciappelli

ITSPmagazine’s Unusual Gatherings XXVIII:
Just How Smart Are Smart Airports?


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Think about the last time you were in an airport, any airport.
Now think about the best mall you have ever been inside.

Was it the one with the best shopping or restaurant experiences? Did it have comfortable waiting areas? Or maybe the TSA security check lines were moving smoothly and the check-in process welcoming? Were the amenities clean? Or, perhaps, you felt a sense of security.

I bet that if you have seen some of the largest and most modern airports in the world you might have had the thought along the lines of something like "Wow, these are like small cities! I could almost live here." I also bet you were likely annoyed - even just a little bit - by the amount of time you had to present your passport, your boarding ticket and to have your identity questioned.

But here is one thing that you probably did not ask yourself:

What does it take to run this thing - this airport that feels like a small city?

Most of us do not worry about all of that, not in an airport. We don't think about this at Disneyland, nor in our town. But someone has always been making decisions for how things should work to ensure things run smoothly and efficiently — because, when things go awry, oh boy, can we go crazy. Think about that flashing traffic light that doesn't work, or a ride that is "Out of Order" at the theme park, or even a 10-minute delay during the airplane boarding process.

So let's sum it up.

Technology is helping more and more to run these microcosms, to give us more services, more entertainment, and to make our travels faster, smoother, and more secure.

Technology needs data to do all of this, and as with many — I dare say all things — in life, it all comes with a trade-off.

Something for something.

Security for privacy.

Convenience for a cost.

Things we discussed

  • What are some of the core elements that make a city smart and how does that transfer over to the airport world?

  • What should those responsible for running the airports consider from a cybersecurity and privacy perspective?

  • What should citizens be aware of when they travel to a smart airport?

  • Where does policy fit in and who has ownership of the policy? What about oversight and enforcement of the policy?


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