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Advancements in Airport Security with Artificial Intelligence… and what AI can do for SMEs

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is quite the buzzword, with almost every tool we use in our businesses seemingly adding Artificial Intelligence into their offering. In this insightful blog we will explore what Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (ML) advancements are doing for airport security and then ways to introduce Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning into your small and medium-sized enterprise (SME).

How does Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning advance airport security?

Recent advancements at UK and Dubai airports highlight how Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are revolutionising airport security, potentially abolishing the need to queue. These innovations not only streamline the passenger experience but also enhance security protocols.

Most people have likely used the e-gates at UK airports, which use biometric verification to scan passports and facial features. They help to speed up the border control processes, as many e-gates can be opened, reducing the traffic on manned gates. It also helps to make better use of staff time, as people can be assigned to less repetitive roles that Artificial Intelligence cannot do.

The Dubai Airport has taken the use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for security to the next level, enabling them to focus on customer service by automating security procedures. A futuristic tunnel, which currently displays a virtual aquarium, but could be set up to display desert scenes or even advertisements, employs 80 facial recognition cameras to scan passengers as they walk through. The brilliance is that the engaging display encourages the passenger to look around, meaning the cameras can get multiple images from different angles. At the end of the tunnel, if the passenger is pre-registered, they are displayed a green ‘have a nice trip’ message, and if there is an issue, it will display a red alert for human intervention.

Source: A multi-channel soft biometrics framework for seamless border crossings – Scientific Figure on ResearchGate. Available from: [accessed 3 Jul, 2024]

What technology is used?

The data usage in these systems is impressive. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms play a crucial role in the airports of both the UK and Dubai. There is also significant infrastructure supporting these operations. This includes data warehouses for storing large datasets used in the implementation and training of Machine Learning models, as well as APIs for continuous improvement. For instance, Dubai airports use APIs to gather passenger registration details from airlines. Here are two examples of the technology in use:

  • Deep Learning models: Models trained on vast datasets to recognise facial features accurately.
  • Real-Time Processing: Ensures rapid verification without compromising security.

What are the potential security risks of Artificial Intelligence solutions?

While these systems enhance efficiency, as with any computer-based system they also pose security concerns:

  • Privacy: Potential misuse of biometric data.
  • Cyberattacks: Vulnerability to hacking and data breaches.
  • False Positives/Negatives: Errors in recognition affecting user experience.

Bias in data is another significant issue, particularly for ethnic minority groups. Continuously training models with diverse and representative datasets is crucial to mitigating this bias and improving the accuracy and fairness of Artificial Intelligence systems. Ensuring that the training data encompasses a wide range of demographic groups can help prevent skewed results and ensure that the technology works effectively for everyone.

These are a few examples of risks that could come about due to using technology in these examples. However, no process is risk-free, whether it uses technology or not. In all cases, you must make your best judgment of whether the benefits will outweigh the risk and cost of deploying such Artificial Intelligence innovations.

How can SMEs use Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in their business?

We’ve discussed two impressive Artificial Intelligence innovations used by large organisations, which is fascinating. However, how can SMEs leverage this technology to enhance their own operations?

The good news is that Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have become increasingly accessible to SMEs in recent years. And this isn’t just about using tools like ChatGPT to speed up research or writing. For example, Microsoft offers out-of-the-box solutions that allow you to ‘plug’ your data in and run 50 machine learning models without writing a single line of code. While these solutions won’t deliver the same results as years of research and development, like the examples mentioned earlier, they enable you to explore what can add value to your business and identify gaps in your data without significant financial investment. Here are three examples, with the relevant Microsoft tools, of how you could get started with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in your business:

  • Document Management: Automate document processing, increasing efficiency and reducing errors.
    • Example Tool: Azure AI Document Intelligence – Apply advanced Machine Learning to extract text, key-value pairs, tables, and structures from documents.
  • Sales and Marketing: Develop predictive models for sales forecasting or customer segmentation, allowing your business to make data-driven decisions and tailor your marketing strategies more effectively.
    • Example Tool: Azure AutoML – Rapidly create accurate Machine Learning models for tasks including classification, regression, vision, and natural language processing.
  • Warehouse Management: Monitor and track inventory levels, ensuring accurate stock management and timely restocking.
    • Example Tool: Azure AI Vision – Read text, analyse images, and detect objects with optical character recognition (OCR) and machine learning

The integration of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in both large-scale operations and SMEs highlights the transformative potential of these technologies. As demonstrated by the advancements at UK and Dubai airports, Artificial Intelligence can significantly enhance efficiency and security. SMEs, too, can leverage Artificial Intelligence to streamline processes, gain valuable insights, and drive growth.

At Objective, we’re experts in software development and data analytics, helping businesses of all sizes harness the power of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Call us to chat about how Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can benefit your business.