Last week, Airport World Magazine published “Smart airports”, an article written by our Team. The article discusses trends driving the development of airports, and their potential to become living labs for innovation. Innovation at airports can include all processes that occur including passenger flow, mobility, workspace, food and beverage, logistics, e-commerce supply chain, as well as becoming hosts for technology innovation incubators.

One primary challenge all airports will need to address is how to deal with mobility and moving commuters faster and efficiently. Many airports are already over capacity during peak travel periods, and therefore must find new ways to embrace secondary services to personal cars and taxis, such as ridesharing services, autonomous vehicles (AVS) or find ways to integrate emerging platforms such as “Mobility-as-a-Service”, all of which will reduce dependencies on personal car ownership. While parking remains to be one of the largest sources of revenues for airports, these mobility trends will see reductions in parking revenue, parking utilization, as well as overall reduction in the size of parking lots. Airports will need to adapt to changing revenue streams, as well as facilitate seamless multi-modal alternative mobility to ensure competitiveness and modernity in airport infrastructure.

The article also explores the rise of technology innovation incubators, and how recent trends have seen airports and their surrounding areas become living labs for advanced research and development initiatives. By hosting a hub for research, airports can facilitate cross pollination between aviation, technology, and urban development. Innovation incubator spaces can take many flexible forms, including start-up businesses, laboratories, or testing facilities. Their presence can build and foster a co-working ecosystem that cultivates and manages collaboration.

Another key component for airport authorities to consider is the rapid evolution of e-commerce supply chains. Airports and their properties play a critical role in the last mile movement of goods and are a strategic location between air and ground transportation networks. Airports are seeing large developments and interests in commercial users to build fulfillment centers adjacent to air services, as on-demand shipment and fulfillment continues to grow globally.

The article delves deeper into these trends and provides more examples of types of companies and users are driving these changes. Click here to read the full article, as well as other airport-related news.