Smart airports: Optimizing operations and safety with 5G

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This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: Microsoft Tech Community - Latest Blogs - .

5G technologies are a key component to implementing smart airports. In this blog you will find Microsoft’s vision for smarter, safer airports and how they drive value from a business perspective. You can also learn how Microsoft thinks about smart airports from a technical perspective in a section that explores how the combination of 5G technology, edge devices, and the cloud create a new application paradigm.


A vision for smarter, safer airports


People all around the globe rely on airports each day for safe and efficient travel. While airports today are rightfully concerned with recouping revenue lost over the last few years of reduced travel and building resiliency for future disruption, they must continue to prioritize their core requirements: safety and security.


Airport operations rely on a vast ecosystem of people, processes, and technologies working together in sync. From perimeter security to runway safety to reducing passenger wait times, it’s a complex interrelationship we often take for granted, as much of the activity occurs behind the scenes. 


But because safety and security depend upon people interacting with processes and technologies, most accidents and safety breaches are caused by human error. Airport owners and operators can leverage the power of technology to minimize this human error. Creating an end-to-end connected airport system to improve safety and security through automated approaches is the future of airport operations and experiences—this is the vision for smart airports.


Smart airports leverage technology to expand air transport movement (ATM) capacity and thereby increase flight volume and related business opportunities for airport owners and concessionaire companies. At a high level, the value drivers for smart airports are:

  • Improving safety and security
  • Enhancing operational efficiency or reducing cost
  • Increasing revenue (both aeronautical and non-aeronautical)


Smart airports illustration.jpg


The key to implementing a smart airports use case is connectivity. Airports face unique challenges in terms of connectivity—scenarios like advanced perimeter security and runway safety require continuous monitoring and surveillance, which is enabled by real-time computation and analysis of a high volume of images and data spanning the entire area of the airport.


A smart airport built with 5G connectivity enables reliable, near-instant detection of scenarios like perimeter breach or foreign object debris on the runway. While no single use case justifies the investment in a 5G network, the investment in a scalable infrastructure creates the foundation for many use case possibilities that rely on real-time, mission-critical connectivity now, and in the future.


At Microsoft, we are deeply committed to 5G technology. 5G is not just a new network standard—it is a technological breakthrough helping to create a new application paradigm that empowers organizations to solve complex problems with network-intelligent applications.


To learn more about the business value behind smart airports, request to download our smart airports business case document, which explores the use case, value drivers, technology, and total cost of ownership in more detail.


The combination of 5G technology, edge devices, and the cloud create a new application paradigm


At the heart of smart airports are modern connected applications that require higher network capacity and speed, ultra-reliability, and low latency to support mission-critical functions in real time. The impressive connectivity of 5G technology enables intelligence at the edge that powers these applications with instant adaptability to adjust to changing conditions in real-time while unlocking innovation at scale as the applications include more devices across broad environments like airports.


While 5G provides impressive connectivity, it’s only one side of the equation. Smart airports depend on significant compute power to support the analytics required to derive insights from all the collected data. This computing can occur either in the cloud, or closer to the source—referred to as “the edge.”


Edge devices are critical to enabling low-latency communications, shaving off milliseconds of delay that could help save lives. With a cloud backend, data from across the airport can be aggregated together to improve the AI models at the edge and identify deeper insights that affect your entire infrastructure.


To help implement smart airports today, Microsoft has developed a Smart Airports Technical Design and Architecture Guide, which walks through the key considerations and components of the application infrastructure, application architecture, and network architecture that are all a part of our smart airports vision.


The guide also provides information to help you familiarize yourself with the concepts and components of 5G networking and edge computing. You’ll be able to see different options and recommendations for how to approach those technologies based on the needs of your unique infrastructure. Additionally, the document provides an overview of the airport-specific devices, including cameras and sensors, needed for smart airports today.

Request to download the technical guide to learn more about the design and architecture. 


It’s time to get started with 5G


The vision for smart airports is here, and Microsoft has resources that can help you get started on building modern connected applications using 5G, edge computing, and the cloud today. You can use the links below to learn more about smart airports and other use cases, access developer resources, or connect with a Microsoft representative.



Learn more about how 5G is opening up new opportunities for smart roads and airports

Request to download the business case and technical design guide for deeper understanding of the value drivers and technical approach for smart roads and airports

Learn more about our vision for 5G in a blog post by Microsoft Executive Vice President Jason Zander (available 2/27)


Read more about how to create your own modern connected application using the solution accelerator (available 2/27) and upskill with the 5G Cloud Skills Challenge

Sign up to participate in AI Ops Fundamental skills challenge to learn more about the AI technology embedded in Azure’s AI Ops Services

Build your own Private 5G network with the 5G Starter Kit


Connect with a Microsoft expert to get started with a proof of concept or to learn about total cost of ownership for 5G use cases

Sign up for news and updates on 5G Modern Connected Applications

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