How a Swiss-Japanese partnership helped KIX to reduce wait time
Kansai International Airport (KIX) located outside of Osaka, Japan opened its doors in 1994 and has since become an important international hub for the country, providing one of the largest networks for both domestic and international routes with 24h operations. The airport is considered a gateway for the Kansai area, the Western part of Japan, and is with approximately 30 million passengers every year the 3rd busiest airport in Japan. Since 2016, Kansai International Airport is part of the VINCI Group.
While in 2009 a mere 13.5 million passengers travelled through Kansai International Airport the double-digit year to year growth in passengers over the last ten years have culminated in over 30 million passengers in 2019. This more than twofold increase in international passengers mainly from China and South East Asia made overcrowding a major issue, and thus, the need for digital transformation and people flow management inevitable. While a single Xovis sensor can cover up to 100m2, the high ceiling of the international departure terminal with exposed steel beams as opposed to a closed roof, posed a major challenge. Even though the sensors could be installed on the steel beams, there was no space to place a power socket, nor a switch to relay PoE (Power over Ethernet) to the sensor.
The Xovis installation at KIX included over 500 Xovis 3D stereovision sensors with over 360 sensors combined into one single multisensor that covers the entire 4th floor of KIX Terminal 1 with a surface of around 15’000m2. This hardware in combination with the Xovis software solution which allows for anonymous real-time tracking of passengers without being dependent on facial recognition technology. The software calculates and visualizes to operations staff the following KPIs:
- Check-in KIX T1: queue length, wait time
- Dep. Immigration KIX T1/ T2: queue length, wait time
- Security KIX T1/ T2: queue length, wait time, process time per lane, throughput
- Arrival: KIX T1/ T2: end-to-end passing time (quarantine, immigration, baggage)
To overcome the hurdle of adequate power supply, partner Nissho Electronics introduced NVT Phybridge FLEX24 switches that can deliver Ethernet and PoE++ (50 W) up to distances of 2,000ft (610m) – six times farther than the reach of standard Ethernet switches.
Having real-time information on passenger flow readily available enabled operations staff to take measures and prevent queues and wait times from growing. Therefore, peak wait times were significantly reduced from 45 to 15 minutes. As a result of informing passengers of the current wait times at various sites via screens and the airport website, balanced passenger flows through the different channels, decreased hassle and stress passengers faced and led to increased passenger satisfaction. Ultimately, by granting airport stakeholders access to Xovis data, KIX provides a tool to optimize coordination, capacity utilization, and passenger satisfaction further.
Using the enhanced FLEX24 switches allowed, despite the challenging terminal structure, for a cost-efficient and time-saving installation that eliminated the complexities and frustrations of an infrastructure upgrade of over $75’000 in just three months. For more information on the FLEX Family from NVT Phybridge visit www.nvtphybridge.com/flexfamily