Celebrity or Technology Spotting at Airports?

Author: Rachael Pugh, Sales Enablement Specialist at Panasonic TOUGHBOOK

Have you ever played the look-a-like game? It starts at the airport when you head off on holiday. If you spot anyone that looks like a celebrity, you highlight it to others in your party. If they agree that it looks like the celebrity, you get 1 point. It’s 5 points if you spot a real celebrity and 10 points if you find a way to interact with them. The person with the most points when you return to the airport at the end of the vacation is the winner. It’s a fun game and it’s amazing how often you spot a real celebrity when you really start looking, especially at the airport. 

But as a certified TOUGHBOOK geek, I’ve taken to giving this game a new spin when I travel through airports for work. Instead of celebrities, I play spot the TOUGHBOOK. It’s amazing how many different purposes TOUGHBOOK devices are used for in the aviation industry.

Take Frankfurt airport, for example. The ground handling staff, such as baggage handlers, passenger bus drivers and aircraft push back vehicle operators, all use TOUGHBOOK G1 tablets – sometimes mounted in the front of the vehicles; sometimes held by a hand strap. The teams looking after waste management and de-icing vehicles use the TOUGHBOOK 33 detachable notebook, and the Facility Management teams use the TOUGHBOOK M1 tablets for their work.

And it doesn’t stop there. At Switzerland’s Geneva airport you can see the easyjet staff using our TOUGHBOOK N1 handheld devices with a barcode reader to scan boarding passes to speed up pre-flight boarding and increase departure gate flexibility - saving time and money.

For Iberia at Madrid airport, the devices are used to digitalise and coordinate ramp services, so all staff have access to real-time data and ultimately increase the efficiency of aircraft turnaround. And at Italy’s Bologna airport, TOUGHBOOK A1 Android tablets are used to inspect the infrastructure within the airport perimeter. When staff find an issue, they use the tablet’s camera and accurate GPS capabilities to take a photo and report it. 

And there are many other uses at airports across Europe. These include management of SCADA systems and line maintenance, ground staff location tracking, baggage tag scanning, parts inventory management and as electronic aircraft technical logs to name just a few more.

When you start to think about it, it’s no surprise that rugged devices are in demand in aviation. Firstly, they are built for the environment. As 24-hour operations, airports have to work in all weathers and mobile devices have to be able to deal with extreme temperatures, as well a knocks, drops, rain and dust. Airports cover vast areas, so reliable connectivity and highly accurate GPS location technology is also essential – even in areas where signals can traditionally be difficult to maintain. 

Special functionality is often required within many mobile devices to carry out different tasks around the airport and airfield, such as integrated barcode readers for scanning luggage labels and boarding passes, or signature capture for signing off e-tech logs. Having devices that can be modular equipped to meet specific tasks means workers do not need to carry around multiple devices to do their job.

Good data security and long battery life are a must, as is the ability to dock the mobile device quickly and securely in different vehicles. Lastly, the aviation industry adopts technology slowly because of the many regulatory approvals that must be secured before new systems are introduced, so when deploying mobile devices, they are looking to invest in equipment that will last for the long-term. 

The TOUGHBOOK ticks all these boxes, so in many ways it could be considered a technology celebrity of the aviation world. If you’re not nerd enough to want to try the Spot the TOUGHBOOK game next time you travel through the airport, I don’t blame you. But give the Celebrity look-a-like game a try. It can make a dull start to the holiday fun for all the travellers. Happy hunting!

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