Tokyo 2020: Robots to greet, guide visitors at Olympics

okyo Olympics 2020: With the presence of robots world travellers will see that Haneda Airport is transferred into an airport of the future.

travel Updated: Mar 07, 2020 15:23 IST

Asian News International

Asian News International
Tokyo, [Japan]

Tokyo 2020: Robots to greet, guide visitors at Olympics.

Tokyo 2020: Robots to greet, guide visitors at Olympics.(Unsplash)

Haneda Airport is the main gateway of Japan, connecting Tokyo with many cities around the world.

It is the closest airport to the capital; many local and foreign travellers choose this convenient airport.

The number of visitors to Japan is increasing year by year and it is expected to hit record levels when Tokyo hosts the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games.

Airport operators are making efforts to handle the situation with the help of unexpected workers!

They are the robots that will be greeting, guiding and helping travellers.

“We are using a total of four robots in Haneda Airport and the main concept is security but we can divide the four robots into two groups, the first group is digital signage guiding robots and the second group is autonomous security robots that can operate and move by themselves,” said Kazunori Maebashi of Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

Autonomous security and guide robot can be seen in the Airport lobby, this robot is able to stop automatically, to prevent collision and accident when it encounters people or object.

During the day, it guides visitors through the airport using a touch panel located at the front. In the evening, it takes on the duties of a security guard.

It has also observation skills and intruder-detection technology.

When it detects suspicious objects or left behind bags even under seats it automatically notifies guards.

“These robots are also crucial tools in solving the labour shortage due to population decline. It is hoped that using robots would reduce the burden of airport employees and create a better working environment,” said Maebashi.

The final goal is to improve the overall quality of service by finding a task that robots can do to make humans more efficient and customers more satisfied.

And with the presence of robots world travellers will see that Haneda Airport is transferred into an airport of the future.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

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Biometric passports, digital ID initiatives in Africa and contactless tech top this week’s biometrics news

Biometric passports, digital ID initiatives in Africa and contactless tech top this week’s biometrics news

The spread of biometrics systems in Africa in the public and private sector, in particular in Nigeria, topped the stories read by the most Biometric Update visitors for this week. Initiatives for national ID systems, detecting payroll fraud, ensuring student election integrity and secure retail payments in the country were matched by initiatives for mobile services, elections, and mobile banking in other countries on the continent. Airport identity systems were also prominent in industry news, and our series of feature articles providing a deep-dive into pressing issues for the biometrics ecosystem continues with a look at facial recognition policy, with a focus on possible U.S. regulations.

Nigerians have exorcised more than 17,000 ghost workers from the payroll of a single state with biometric registration and used similar technology for a student election, and can provide biometrics-backed NINs to its entire population given at most five years and another $2 billion. The troubles of Tanzania’s SIM registration and resistance to Ghana’s new electoral registration exemplify ongoing delays in implementation of digital ID projects in Africa, however. A separate story on two banks in Nigeria and South Africa launching facial recognition-based services, the former for card-less retail payments and the latter for mobile app authentication, also cracked the top ten Biometric Update articles of the week.

Remark Holdings has integrated contactless fever detection with its facial recognition product and Telpo has integrated its fever detection and face biometrics terminals with payment technologies for public transportation deployments as the coronavirus outbreak draws the world’s attention.

The national digital ID system of Singapore is adding facial recognition authentication service to kiosks at banks and government agency offices to do away with passwords for services. The government is also working on opening up its SingPass Mobile app, adding facial recognition for elderly and overseas Singaporeans who may need the service but not be able to get to the kiosks.

Lenovo Global Communications Manager Andy Barron tells part of the story of the creation of the FIDO Alliance and the specifications it creates in a blog post on the expected growth of passwordless authentication spurred by Microsoft’s adoption of them for Windows 10 last year.

In a busy week for travel biometrics, the ICAO published a Master List of digital certificates to help border authorities authenticate biometric passports, as well as to begin the process of extending the documents to “non-state non-commercial” applications, which might be part of seamless travel systems. The TSA, meanwhile, is rolling out a new portable document checker to airports across the country which verify the validity of photo credentials and provide flight information. The agency also announced that PreCheck has passed the 10 million-member milestone.

AirAsia is using biometrics and big data to transform its brand by offering customers new experiences, but as Ozy reports, its digital transformation efforts led by new CEO Aireen Omar are also drawing scrutiny. The company is running separate pilots of iris biometrics and the Fast Airport Clearance Experience System (FACES), developed by a partner, to clear travelers.

Two sets of guidelines for using biometrics and other AI systems were released this week by influential groups. The Pentagon’s five principles and the Rome Call for AI Ethics, from a Vatican-hosted group that also includes Microsoft, IBM and others, have a lot in common, starting with requirements for systems to be responsible and reliable.

One use of AI introduced by startup DoNotPay is automated data deletion demands, Fortune reports. The company’s Digital Health “robot lawyer” contacts more than 100 data brokers and informs them that an individual protected by CCPA is formally requesting their facial recognition, location, account or other data be expunged.

Contactless biometrics from Idemia have been successfully trialed at Japan’s Level5 stadium for a soccer league final. The company hopes to roll out its MorphoWave Compact scanners across the facility in collaboration with its partner Japan Aerospace Corporation.

Efforts by biometric technology providers and other stakeholders to steer policy-makers towards effective rules for facial recognition are examined in an in-depth feature article, through conversations with NEC, FaceFirst, IBIA, Identity Strategy Partners, and DHS representatives. As the issue bubbles to the surface, providing the information necessary to support legislation that allows government agencies and businesses to use facial recognition without degrading privacy and civil rights is becoming a priority for all involved. Thanks to those who shared their insights.

The implications of GDPR for facial recognition are examined by REaD Group Data Quality and Governance Manager Andy Bridges in a piece for Digital Marketing Magazine. Bridges argues the central issue is consent, and noting that the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office is planning to introduce new regulation within the next year, he urges businesses to perform Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs) and determine the lawful basis for biometrics use proactively. Yoti CEO and Co-founder Robin Tombs tells how face biometrics-backed digital identity technology can make it easier to have transparency, privacy, and compliance in online transactions in an interview from ICE London.

Our interview with Idex CTO Anthony Eaton on the impact the company’s new biometric-system-on-chip is expected to have on the fingerprint smart card market held on to its spot among the most-read news of the week.

Idex SVP David Orme describes the automatic personalization potential of smart cities, and the foundational role biometrics can play in the chain of trust that they will require, in an editorial for TechNative.

Please let us know of any articles, blogs, videos or editorials you would like to share with the broader digital ID and biometrics communities in the comments below, or the channel of your choice.

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Cybersecurity check-in: How airports are innovating against cyberattacks, security breaches and failing tech systems

By Orion Cassetto a day ago

Even before passengers arrive at the airport, there are many ways applications are helping to make the experience more efficient.

(Image credit: Image Credit: Joergelman / Pixabay)

Customer experience is paramount in an industry as competitive and prone to issues as air travel.  To deliver a great experience, airports are innovating, from mobile apps to mood lighting and entertainment systems.  An area that’s less visible to passengers is the activity monitoring and data collection airports conduct across a wide range of applications.  This information is used to improve operations that impact every stage of the traveller experience.  Even before passengers arrive at the airport, there are many ways applications are helping to make the experience more efficient, and as a result, more data than ever is being used to protect passenger privacy and keep departures on time.  But, as well as the opportunities this creates, it’s also important to be aware of the cybersecurity risks.

Ticketing, frequent flyer miles, and personal data: access points for identity theft and fraud

Looking at the recent experiences of some of the best-known airlines offers some valuable lessons.  In 2018, British Airways announced that its systems had been hacked and the credit card information of roughly 380,000 passengers had been stolen.  According to GDPR guidelines, the maximum penalty for a company hit with a data breach is a fine of either £17 million or four per cent of global turnover, whichever is greater.  In this case, authorities intend to order British Airways to pay a fine of nearly $230 million for the breach.

Two months later, Cathay Pacific reported that the personal information of some 9.4 million passengers had been compromised — a collection of sensitive data that included passport and other identification numbers.

Attacks like these have ripple effects beyond fines and public scrutiny: they impact customer confidence and brand reputation.  That’s why data encryption and tokenisation technologies to protect critical customer information —such as credits cards, identification numbers and bank accounts — are now so important to keeping every aspect of the travel process more secure.

Beyond credit card data, a growing black market for frequent flyer data is flourishing.  Visitors to the ‘dark web’ can find hundreds of thousands of airline miles available at a fraction of the cost they would pay to airlines or credit card companies.  Those ill-gotten miles can then be used to redeem gift cards or other points-based rewards – a simple form of illicit arbitrage.  These miles can also be resold and put toward first-class upgrades and other bonus offers, according to Comparitech’s study into the black market for frequent flyer miles conducted last year.

That resale market has created a demand for bad actors to crack frequent flyer accounts. It’s also created a need for analytics to eliminate an unrelenting risk.  For any application of this nature, software can be implemented that can spot behaviour-based anomalies — such as repeated password reset requests on the same account or login attempts from an odd location — to identify possibly illicit account access.  Customers can then be alerted before the problem develops further.

That process starts with collecting data and tracking every incident, whether benign or threatening, and defining what constitutes normal account use.  By leveraging machine learning and analytics, it’s possible to create a baseline of standard behaviour for the individual.  This makes it easier to spot behaviours that fall outside that norm.  Appropriate action can then be taken to stop the activity and build processes to address them.

Baggage and luggage: Turning to analytics

Several airlines have discovered baggage handlers that have checked an extra bag filled with rare and high-tariff goods into the system for an accomplice to collect at the destination.  In such cases, neither the passenger, airport nor the airline are aware of the illegal use of identity and systems.

Now that all appears to be on the brink of change: as of June 2018, the International Air Transport Association issued Resolution 753 requires that airlines track baggage at four key points: passenger handover to airline, loading to the aircraft, delivery to the transfer area and return to passenger.

Airports and airlines are turning to data collection and analytics to solve this problem.  Beyond tracking the location of a piece of luggage at a given time, analytics can spot unusual patterns, such as bags unexpectedly entering the system on loading or baggage handlers that stand out for baggage that is persistently misrouted — a sign that they may be using passenger bags to route illicit goods to an accomplice.

In the end, that means nothing gets on the plane that shouldn’t, which plays a significant role in keeping planes and passengers secure.

Runways and perimeter breaches: Securing access to the plane

Between 2004 and 2015, there were 268 perimeter breaches at airports that handle three-quarters of U.S. commercial passenger traffic.

For example, there was the mentally ill man in L.A. who hopped the fence eight times in less than a year and twice reached stairs that led to jets.  There was the man who threw his bike over a fence in Chicago, riding the bike across a runway and knocking on a terminal door.  Then there was the man who drove an SUV through a security gate in Philadelphia and played chicken with a plane trying to land.  In the UK, consumer drones entering the airspace of London Heathrow forced the entire airport to shut down.

Much of the protection required to prevent those breaches is physical, with additional barricades and security personnel on the ground.  But there’s also the need to protect what’s on board because, in the modern airline industry, threats don’t always take a physical form.

Every month, there are 1,000 cyberattacks across the air transport industry.  At the same time, just 35 per cent of airlines and 30 per cent of airports believe they are prepared to deal with cyber-threats today.

But, the same technology that is creating these new vulnerabilities is also being used to stay ahead of them.  Machine learning, big data and analytics are all being used to gather data and set a baseline of normal behaviour, which makes threats and anomalous behaviour easier and faster to identify.  Systems that can detect and escalate unusual patterns and help pinpoint event timelines provide deep insight on security events that may be the source of the anomalies.  Gaining access to that insight before something happens is critical because it allows officials to stop problems before they start. 

If something does come to pass, advanced tracking and analysis also facilitates a faster investigation — and ultimately find a faster way to resolution.  The right tools can transform a process that typically takes weeks of searching through multiple months-worth of raw incident logs into one that takes only seconds — and presents a timeline for each security incident.  And the faster you can find your way to the root cause of a problem, the quicker you can implement policies and procedures to prevent the same thing from happening again. 

Planes, ageing fleets and controls: Securing the plane


Analytical insights are used every day to secure the plane from emerging and potential threats.  In the past several years, a few examples of cybersecurity attacks on planes have surfaced.

In 2015, a cybersecurity consultant told the FBI he was able to successfully hack into an airplane’s computer system and force it to climb.  Then, a year later, a Department of Homeland Security official remotely hacked the systems of an airplane parked at an airport in Atlantic City, N.J.

With a significant portion of every airline’s fleet made up of older airplanes, how do aircraft mechanics and maintenance teams track when those older systems are about to break or need to be tuned?  At the same time, airplanes are coming onto the market with new bells and whistles, greater energy efficiency and their own unique vulnerabilities.

So how do we ensure both old and new airplanes are safe and secure?  And how do we prevent cybersecurity attacks?

The answer, once again, lies in software. 

Newer planes can harness the power of data to spot red flags and identify possible security breaches as they’re happening.  As standard procedure for newer planes, all flight data from a single flight is automatically downloaded when the aircraft is parked.  This data will be used to gauge what’s happening in flight and pinpoint any anomalies in the plane’s functions.  Airlines then run applications that log the files and use machine learning to analyse them for irregularities onboard and during the flight.  Data collection and analysis ensure that problems don’t repeat themselves over time.

Flying remains one of the most convenient and safest ways to travel.  As the travel industry continues to provide better and more personalised experiences, analytics software will continue to drive innovation through the entire journey for passengers.

Orion Cassetto, director product marketing, Exabeam


Innovative infrastructure: how technology is changing airport construction

By Ross Davies Share

From component tracking systems to building information modelling, airports are increasingly turning to new technologies to facilitate the construction of major projects. Here is a look at five case studies.

New global airport construction projects are springing up like never before. According to a recent report from Business Wire, the value of projects at the execution stage totals $377.6bn, while those in the planning stages account for $215.8bn.

The aviation industry should be applauded for its forethought. With global passenger numbers expected to hit 8.2 billion per year by 2037, airports cannot afford to let themselves buckle under the strain of such an inordinate swell in custom.

Constructing an airport – like any architectural undertaking – is a complex business, involving a whole host of stakeholders, from designers and contractors to construction managers and executives.

Increasingly, airport operators are turning to large-scale technology to make sure projects run as efficiently as possible and – most important of all – are completed on time. Below are some hubs that are looking to harness state-of-the-art tech to their advantage.

Heathrow Airport: innovative component tracking

According to its latest masterplan, Heathrow – Europe’s busiest airport – aims to have a third runway up and running by 2026. The airport operator is hoping the introduction of a new pilot component tracking system will help it attain this goal on schedule.

Using technology developed by Siemens Digital Logistics, the system will track millions of vital construction components destined for the site of the new runway in real-time

Heathrow is currently in the process of weighing up four logistic hubs, which will be connected by the centralised system. Acting as a kind of ‘nerve centre’, the system will link up off-site construction centres, allowing for the seamless delivery of parts to the hub outside West London. It will also serve to provide regular updates to the construction sites.

Glasgow Airport: betting on a digital toolset

Glasgow Airport might be a fraction of the size of Heathrow but remains an important cog in the Scottish economy. Welcoming 9.7 million passengers last year, it generated in excess of £1.44bn, while supporting more than 30,000 jobs north of the border.

As part of its 2040 masterplan, which is aiming to increase its passenger share to 17 million within the next two decades, Glasgow – which recently introduced its first A380 service to and from Dubai – is betting on digital technology as part of its future expansion efforts.

According to Glasgow head of capital Gordon Bain, digitisation, including the likes of automated communication and real-time data on project performance, will provide clearer, more up-to-date information for engineers on-site.

“We are in the process of developing a digital portfolio and programme management toolset that will enable us to track project performance and KPIs in real-time and improve interfaces with the business,” said Bain, writing in an op-ed in BIM+, a Chartered Institute of Building publication.

“This will allow us to reduce feedback loop delays between what is happening on-site and the key decisions that need to be made by the business to ensure the smooth delivery of projects.”

Los Angeles International Airport: going big for GIS

As the second-largest airport in the US behind Atlanta, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) saw an astounding 87.5 million passengers squeeze through its doors in 2019. Little wonder then that it is in the process of expanding, with two new terminals and several gates expected to be ready in time for when the West Coast city hosts the Olympic Games in 2028. The facelift has been costed at around $14bn.

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), the airport’s governing body, has deployed a geographic information system (GIS) in order to better streamline the workflow of multiple on-site projects while minimising disruption to day-to-day operations.

The GIS platform also includes 3D modelling capabilities, geared towards aiding engineers in the optimisation of space and surfaces. LAWA is reported to have used 3D simulations in the design of everything from passageways to baggage claim areas and ticketing counters.

Copenhagen Airport: virtual reality meets BIM

Serving as the busiest hub across the Nordic countries, Copenhagen Airport is planning to be able to handle up to 40 million passengers a year in the near future. This has necessitated the construction of a new pier – Pier E – which covers 36,000m2, marking one of the biggest building projects at the airport for a number of years.

Partially opened in June, Copenhagen has gone about construction using building information modelling (BIM) which it believes will benefit workflows during the duration of the project. This includes the creation of BIM process standards, which comprises a specification of a level of detail required for new construction projects.

As part of the design phase, the airport has also made use of virtual reality and 3D modelling based upon drawings, surveys and field inspections.

Hong Kong International Airport: digital modelling at the forefront

In January, TDS, a UK-based structural steel and architectural metalwork design office and consultancy, was awarded a $5m contract to help in the construction of a new 9,000-tonne roof structure at Hong Kong’s Terminal 2.

Working directly with the Hong Kong International Aviation Association – which falls under the management of Airport Authority Hong Kong – TDS is set to provide digital modelling of the roof.

Speaking at the time, TDS CEO Daniel Leech explained: “The most exciting and radical element of the story is that this digital modelling is taking place right at the beginning of the design process, providing an open and collaborative digital workflow for all those involved at each stage thereafter.”

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Drone Sightings Cause Madrid Airport to Divert Flights

Airlines & Airports Mackenzie Cullen February 03, 2020

Mavic Pro 2 Drone in action. (photo via DJI)

A reported sighting of drones near Madrid’s Adolfo Suárez-Barajas airport on Monday caused operations to close for over an hour. Twenty-six flight had to be diverted to other airports during this time.

Two pilots had allegedly seen drones near the airport after the Spanish air navigation authority, Enaire, reported the possible presence of drones in the area.

The Transport Ministry closed the airspace around Madrid’s international airport, while Enaire activated a special procedure to prevent further landings and takeoffs and to divert flights to other airports.

Enaire later warned, “A drone is not a toy, it’s an aircraft” via Twitter.

Air traffic restrictions were lifted at 14.15 p.m. (1315 GMT). Spain’s Civil Guard has launched an investigation into the incident.

The Adolfo Suárez-Barajas international airport is one of the busiest airports in Europe, operating an average of 1,200 flights per day.

According to the airport manager, AENA, nearly 62 million passengers went through the airport last year.

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US airports to keep our photos from facial recognition scanners for 75 years

sparking privacy fears

  • Katie Byrne for Fox News
  • 4 Feb 2020, 12:43
  • Updated: 4 Feb 2020, 14:22

FACIAL recognition technology is being used in an increasing number of airports around the world to speed up the time it takes for passengers to go through security.

But it comes with growing concern over privacy as it’s revealed photos of travellers could be stored for up to 75 years.

 Facial recognition technology is increasingly being rolled out at airports around the world
Facial recognition technology is increasingly being rolled out at airports around the worldCredit: Alamy

Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is the latest to roll out the technology in the US.

At PHL, the machines are set up at three international gates. Passengers will step up to the machines and have their faces scanned before boarding their flight. CBP officials say it takes less than two seconds and has a 99 percent matching rate.

Jeni Best, a branch manager with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), explained: “So, this is an electronic way, basically, to verify identity.”

“It reduces your impostor threat, and it provides a secure and efficient way to verify identity.”

According to Jeni, the ultimate goal is for the machines to eliminate the need to show passport – but some people fear the technology threatens their privacy.

Paul Hudson, president of the nonprofit Flyers Rights, has been working for the airline passenger advocacy group for more than 20 years and his concern is where the photos from the machines end up.

CBP officials say all photos of US citizens are deleted within 12 hours, but photos of non-US citizens can be stored on CBP systems for up to 75 years.

Paul said: “It’s really a very big deal. The databases are, first of all, are not immune to hacking.”

But CPB’s Jeni explained: “[IT] is a practice that CBP already has in place for all visitors.”

 Philadelphia International Airport is one of the latest to test the technology
Philadelphia International Airport is one of the latest to test the technologyCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Paul thinks more research needs to be done.

He said: “Before you do something like this, there needs to be a buy-in by a large majority of the population.”

Passenger Ellyn Phair agrees.

She said: “I’d have to think about it for a little bit.

“There are so many things going on with hacks on the computer systems and that is increasing these days, so I feel like that could be a problem.”

At least 27 airports in 16 states and D.C. are using facial recognition technology. In Philadelphia, the machines are part of a pilot program, so passengers have the ability to opt out of using them.

Jeni said: “They just let either the gate agent know or the CBP officer.”

 There are privacy fears around the technology from some passengers
There are privacy fears around the technology from some passengersCredit: Getty – Contributor

But opting out isn’t as easy as it seems.

Paul said: “Based on research I’ve seen, only two per cent actually opt out, so that would indicate that people either don’t understand it or […] it’s too bothersome to deal with.”

Angelo Reid, who has been working at PHL for more than 40 years, said: “Right now, it’s an experiment.”

He thinks face scanners are just another way to keep people safe.

Angelo added: “Just like anything else, people will grow into it. They’ll get used to it. And they’ll realise it’s for their own safety.”

At PHL, the face scanners are running as a pilot program for 45 days. Once the program ends in early March, the airport will likely decide whether to implement them long-term.

Watch video and full content here :

Another amazing feat by Sharjah Airport

Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Sharjah Airport received a record 13.6 million passengers in 2019 with a year-on-year increase of 13 per cent compared to 12 million passengers in 2018, and that’s certainly an amazing feat.

Continuous enhancement of services and amenities, introduction of various smart applications and the prioritising of the happiness and comfort of passengers, customers and employees by the Sharjah Airport Authority (SAA) have clearly paid rich dividends.

The Sharjah Airport had recently added another feather to its cap by ranking first in the Mena region and fourth internationally in terms of ‘on time performance’ and punctuality as highlighted by OAG, the world’s provider of airport and airline information.

During the first half (H1) 2019, the accuracy in flight departure times from Sharjah Airport was as high as 91.1 per cent — a major achievement both domestically and internationally.

Figures speak volumes about the airport’s success story.

Ali Salim Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Airport Authority, has revealed that aircraft traffic (both scheduled and unscheduled flights) increased 6.45% to 86,506 take-offs and landings as compared to take-offs and landings in 2018 as a result of the airport attracting new airlines and adding new flights.

This is undoubtedly a response to efforts to promote Sharjah Airport’s importance and appeal and to the increasing number of options provided to passengers, including connections to more than 105 destinations around the world.

The latest smart services and applications developed to meet the needs of the airport’s customers and passengers also proved to be a positive game changer.

In 2019, an updated version of the Sharjah Airport application was launched, a pioneering step in the digital transformation of airports in the Middle East.

With important information designed to meet passenger and customer needs, the application provides an enjoyable and unique travel experience. The smart gates too played a major role in making passenger traffic smoother and more flexible by reducing transaction time to a maximum of 20 seconds.

As officials point out, this is in line with the airport’s strategy to make the travel experience more accessible by providing services at the highest international standard.

Incidentally, more than 3 million passengers used the smart gates in 2019. The festive seasons, summer holidays and new destinations have contributed to the airport’s record growth.

The airport authorities have kept the needs of the community in mind. Sharjah Airport extended support to the local community with various initiatives and by sponsoring different events. A strong belief in the importance of social responsibility has strengthened the airport’s local, regional and global status.

SAA is continuing its comprehensive Dhs1.5-billion airport expansion plan, which includes a project that will enlarge the terminal and increase capacity. In Ali Salim Al Midfa’s own words: “During 2019, there were a number of achievements in all areas – including services that aimed to enhance customer happiness and provide an exceptional passenger experience. We look forward to further accomplishments including the completion of expansion plans for the airport, which will increase capacity to 20 million passengers per annum by 2025.”

Thanks to the speed and efficiency of procedures and services, Sharjah Airport has gained the confidence of a broad segment of passengers and attracted new airlines while maintaining its appeal for airlines and passengers.

This has immensely helped in enhancing Sharjah’s positioning as a preferred tourist destination and an important hub for trade and business.

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CES 2020 Recap: Practical Meets Personal


We share our highlights from CES and elaborate on the trends that are reshaping technology in 2020.

CES also served as a reminder of the power and influence that millennials wield and how their habits can disrupt industries.

This year’s CES showed us that many companies are not only focused on developing next generation technologies, but also equally focused on commercializing those technologies to bring them to the masses.

In our annual visit to CES, one of the world’s largest gatherings of new electronics and vehicles, we met with CEOs and product managers to discuss their latest innovations in disruptive trends like the internet of things, electric and autonomous vehicles, robotics, and video games. While in previous years, the conference exuded futuristic idealism, promoting products that were neither technologically viable nor commercially feasible, this year’s conference appeared much more balanced between the practical and the fantastical. We view this change as an appropriate maturation of the consumer electronics industry, optimizing between commercialization, technological progress, and investing in the next generation of disruptive products. In addition to the newfound practicality, we noticed an accelerating trend of mass personalization – products that seek to deliver unique experiences to users based on learned preferences.

In this piece, we share our highlights from CES and elaborate on the trends that are reshaping technology in 2020.

There’s a War for Your Smart Home

Smart home devices have often felt ahead of their time. Why would I need a connected refrigerator or a smart closet? But the technology continues to improve, costs keep falling, and the software platforms that integrate devices work better than ever. As a result, the internet of things is entering a new phase of true connectivity and personalization. “Alexa, play The Witcher” can automatically dim the lights, close the blinds, and start up your favorite show. Ballie, the softball-sized rolling robot from Samsung can roam your home, detecting security threats, spills that require cleanup from your robot vacuum, and receive commands like a Google Home on wheels.

Yet as a fully integrated smart home becomes more feasible, the war for controlling your smart home devices is intensifying. US companies like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) are bumping up against competitors in Europe (Bosch (OTC:BSWQY)) and South Korea (LG (OTC:LGEAF) and Samsung (OTC:SSNLF)) to become the brains of your connected home (and car). These firms realize that as your home and vehicles become smarter, they become your point of purchase. The smart refrigerator that detects what food you own and suggests recipes based on your latest purchases and dietary restrictions is now a virtual portal to the Whole Foods dairy aisle and can automatically reorder the milk. The smart closet that recommended a trendy blouse and pants combination is now a virtual dressing room to buy the latest fashion from your favorite retailer. While smart devices add tremendous functionality, convenience, and personalization, make no mistake: they are valuable extensions of search engines, e-commerce sites, and device manufacturers, and these companies want to own the experience.

Robots Just Want to Be Friends

Uttering “CR15, give me a mint” into a microphone, prompted a lime green robotic arm to identify and delicately pick up a tin of mints from a disorganized pile. This “cobot” (collaborative robot) demonstrated at CES works safely alongside humans, utilizing sensors to know when a human is near, which slows movements to 1/4th of its typical operating speed. If a human hand gets too close, it stops entirely at a moment’s notice.

3D vision, enhanced dexterity, and flexible end of arm tooling are enabling robots to carry out a broader range of tasks in more environments than ever before. Whether it’s unpacking a pallet or picking strawberries, robots are slated to play an increasingly important role in warehouses and fields alongside humans. In addition to greater functionality, a plethora of sensors are monitoring a robot’s health to predict failures ahead of time and avoid unplanned downtime.

To further enhance results, robots are increasingly training ahead of performing a task through the use of digital AI simulators, or digital twins. The simulators can run thousands of iterative processes in seconds, creating vast amounts of data that can be transferred to the physical robots. In the past, training robotics was laborious, requiring time, capital and engineering expertise. Today, AI simulators are increasingly accurate as they transfer virtual learning to real world applications.

Reality is in the Eye of the Beholder

Delta (NYSE:DAL), the first airline to attend CES, introduced a compelling new technology dubbed “Parallel Reality”. The system uses cameras in an airport to tag travelers when they arrive and track their movements throughout the terminal. Knowing exactly where each passenger is located, the system utilizes specialized monitors to display personalized information, such as one’s flight status – that only that individual can see. Someone else standing nearby can receive a unique, personalized message from the same monitor. The system works without any glasses or devices. While the technology makes plenty of sense in an airport, there are many other use cases that could be valuable, such sharing personalized navigation on highway signs or targeted advertisements in stores.

Formula One (NASDAQ:FWONA) (F1) also showed off its hyper-realistic driving simulator that allows gamers to line up on the grid to compete versus both gamers in the virtual world and drivers in real races in the physical world. This blending of the virtual and physical worlds represents an enormous opportunity for fan engagement and e-sports as digital experiences play an increasingly important role in millennial and Gen Z entertainment.

Electric and Autonomous Cars Focus Go Mainstream

Electric vehicles were historically developed for the luxury market as small scale led to higher prices. Yet as battery and component prices fall rapidly, manufacturers are designing new EV car models and business models to target a broader audience of drivers. One example is the Fisker Ocean, which the company announced would sell for $30,000 (after subsidies) or offer a flexible month-by-month lease program. Given the lower maintenance associated with EVs, the firm expects to re-lease vehicles multiple times throughout its usable life. Many other EVs were announced at CES, confirming our view that electric mobility is coming to market in waves, many of which rely on top battery producers like Panasonic (OTCPK:PCRFY), LG Chem (OTCPK:LGCLF), Samsung SDI (OTC:SSDIY), and CATL.

At precious CES events, moonshot auto technologies focused on developing technology to serve level 4 or 5 autonomous driving (near or fully autonomous driving). But this year scaled back expectations, with a focus on the more immediately viable and significantly cheaper technologies capable of levels 2 and 3 (L2/3) autonomous driving. L2/3, which consists of partial vehicle autonomy with a driver present, can be immediately available in higher-end cars utilizing radars and cameras rather than expensive and data-intensive lidar systems. Such L2/3 features include highway lane control, auto-valet parking, adaptive cruise control, and emergency breaking.

Millennials are Hungry for Change

CES also served as a reminder of the power and influence that millennials wield and how their habits can disrupt industries. And those habits include their appetites. Impossible Foods (IMPF) announced its Impossible Pork and discussed its ambition to use plant-based substitutes for meat products to help solve climate change. Plant-based products only require five ingredients: soy, coconut oil, sunflower oil, whey stream (binding agent) and heme. Plant-based meat alternatives consumers skew towards millennials and Gen Zers as they eschew the $1.7 trillion meat market and move toward vegan or flexitarian diets. In 2020, the company aims to introduce Impossible Seafood, including shrimp.


This year’s CES showed us that many companies are not only focused on developing next generation technologies, but also equally focused on commercializing those technologies to bring them to the masses. We believe this represents a critical inflection point for many disruptive themes as companies believe technologies like robotics, AI, the internet of things and electric vehicles are ready for mass adoption.

Related ETFs

SNSR: The Global X Internet of Things ETF (NASDAQ:SNSR) enables investors to access a potential high growth theme through companies at the leading edge of IoT, an approach which transcends classic sector, industry and geographic regions to target this emerging theme. In a single trade, SNSR delivers access to dozens of companies with high exposure to emerging IoT technology.

BOTZ: The Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence ETF (NASDAQ:BOTZ) seeks to invest in companies that potentially stand to benefit from increased adoption and utilization of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), including those involved with industrial robotics and automation, non-industrial robots, and autonomous vehicles.

AIQ: The Global X Future Analytics Tech ETF (NASDAQ:AIQ) seeks to invest in companies that potentially stand to benefit from the further development and utilization of artificial intelligence (AI) technology in their products and services, as well as in companies that provide hardware facilitating the use of AI for the analysis of big data.

HERO: The Global X Video Game & Esports ETF (NASDAQ:HERO) seeks to invest in companies that develop or publish video games, facilitate the streaming and distribution of video gaming or esports content, own and operate within competitive esports leagues, or produce hardware used in video games and esports, including augmented and virtual reality.

LIT: The Global X Lithium & Battery Tech ETF (NYSEARCA:LIT) invests in the full lithium cycle, from mining and refining the metal, through battery production.

DRIV: The Global X Autonomous & Electric Vehicles ETF (NASDAQ:DRIV) seeks to invest in companies involved in the development of autonomous vehicle technology, electric vehicles (“EVs”), and EV components and materials. This includes companies involved in the development of autonomous vehicle software and hardware, as well as companies that produce EVs, EV components such as lithium batteries, and critical EV materials such as lithium and cobalt.

MILN: The Global X Millennials Thematic ETF (NASDAQ:MILN) seeks to invest in companies that have a high likelihood of benefiting from the rising spending power and unique preferences of the U.S. Millennial generation (birth years ranging from 1980-2000). These companies come from a broad range of categories, including: social media and entertainment, food and dining, clothing and apparel, health and fitness, travel and mobility, education and employment, housing and home goods, and financial services.

Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. There is no guarantee the strategies discussed will be successful. International investments may involve risk of capital loss from unfavorable fluctuation in currency values, from differences in generally accepted accounting principles or from economic or political instability in other nations. Emerging markets involve heightened risks related to the same factors as well as increased volatility and lower trading volume. Narrowly focused investments may be subject to higher volatility. There are additional risks associated with investing in lithium and the lithium mining industry. The investable universe for thematic ETFs may be limited. The funds are non-diversified.

The investable universe of companies in which MILN may invest may be limited. The Fund invests in securities of companies engaged in Information Technology which can be affected by rapid product obsolescence and intense industry competition. International investments may involve risk of capital loss from unfavorable fluctuation in currency values, from differences in generally accepted accounting principles or from social, economic or political instability in other nations. MILN is non-diversified.

Video Game and Esports Companies are subject to risks associated with additional regulatory oversight with regard to privacy/cybersecurity concerns, shifting consumer preferences, and potential licensing challenges. Declining or fluctuating subscription renewal rates for products/services or the loss or impairment of intellectual property rights could adversely affect profits. Thematic companies may have limited product lines, markets, financial resources or personnel. They typically engage in significant amounts of spending on research and development, capital expenditures and mergers and acquisitions.

The investable universe of companies in which BOTZ and AIQ may invest may be limited. The Funds invest in securities of companies engaged in Information Technology, which can be affected by rapid product obsolescence and intense industry competition. International investments may involve risk of capital loss from unfavorable fluctuation in currency values, from differences in generally accepted accounting principles or from social, economic or political instability in other nations.

Information Technology companies can be affected by rapid product obsolescence, and intense industry competition. Risks include disruption in service caused by hardware or software failure; interruptions or delays in service by third-parties; security breaches involving certain private, sensitive, proprietary and confidential information managed and transmitted; and privacy concerns and laws, evolving Internet regulation and other foreign or domestic regulations that may limit or otherwise affect the operations. Healthcare, Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology and Medical Device companies can be affected by government regulations, expiring patents, rapid product obsolescence, and intense industry competition.

International investments may involve risk of capital loss from unfavorable fluctuation in currency values, from differences in generally accepted accounting principles, or from economic or political instability in other nations. Emerging markets involve heightened risks related to the same factors as well as increased volatility and lower trading volume. Narrowly focused investments may be subject to higher volatility. There are additional risks associated with investing in lithium and the lithium mining industry.

Carefully consider the Funds’ investment objectives, risk factors, charges, and expenses before investing. This and additional information can be found in the Funds’ summary or full prospectus, which may be obtained by calling 1.888.493.8631, or by visiting Please read the prospectus carefully before investing.

Global X Management Company LLC serves as an advisor to Global X Funds. The Funds are distributed by SEI Investments Distribution Co. (SIDCO), which is not affiliated with Global X Management Company LLC or Mirae Asset Global Investments. Global X Funds are not sponsored, endorsed, issued, sold or promoted by Solactive AG, nor does Solactive AG make any representations regarding the advisability of investing in the Global X Funds. Neither SIDCO, Global X nor Mirae Asset Global Investments are affiliated with Solactive AG.

Shares of ETFs are bought and sold at market price (not NAV) and are not individually redeemed from the Fund. Brokerage commissions will reduce returns. This information is not intended to be individual or personalized investment or tax advice and should not be used for trading purposes. Please consult a financial advisor or tax professional for more information regarding your investment and/or tax situation.

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Editor’s Note: The summary bullets for this article were chosen by Seeking Alpha editors.

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Leeds Bradford Airport investing £5m “to profoundly change perception and reality of customer experience”

Leeds Bradford Airport is investing £5 million (€6m) this summer in a programme of upgrades and customer service initiatives to enhance passenger experience.

“We are committed to making the journey through Leeds Bradford Airport smoother and passengers can expect to see a shift change in the way we do things. We’re really excited to introduce a number of customer service initiatives over the coming months to the benefit of all,” says Joanna Wild, Chief Commercial Officer, Leeds Bradford Airport.

The programme includes improvements to washrooms and airport lounges, providing a greater level of comfort for travellers. Meanwhile, reorientation of the security hall and behind the scenes upgrades to baggage systems will create greater operational efficiency and improve passenger flow through the airport.

Investment in technology means passengers will benefit from a smoother transition through the airport, including the introduction of an order and pay service at the Saltaire and Cabin Bars, plus digital flight updates via WhatsApp. Passengers will also have more choice for retail and food & beverages with new and upgraded offerings.

“Our vision is to serve our region as a truly outstanding airport and to profoundly change the perception and reality of customer experience for passengers,” says Joanna Wild, Chief Commercial Officer, Leeds Bradford Airport. “While we have a long-term plan to make this vision a reality, we recognise that our passengers need to see some immediate improvements to our services and facilities, and we are committed to getting this right. We have listened to passenger feedback and assessed each and every part of our existing terminal to create a priority list of enhancements, which includes everything from improved wayfinding to new staff uniforms so that passengers can find our teams when they need them.

“We are committed to making the journey through LBA smoother and passengers can expect to see a shift change in the way we do things. We’re really excited to introduce a number of customer service initiatives over the coming months to the benefit of all.”

The airport recently unveiled fresh plans to build a state-of-the-art terminal, which aims to dramatically improve passenger experience, deliver one of the UK’s most environmentally-efficient airport buildings, and support greater economic prosperity for the Leeds City Region, Yorkshire and the North of England.

These new plans, to be submitted in spring 2020, replace the recently consented scheme and the existing terminal building, with a more efficient and sustainable development. The plans propose the construction of a three-floor, 34,000sqm terminal on an alternative site within the airport’s boundary.

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