“Passengers do not want to stand in queues at airports waiting to be checked. With the Getac tablet, staff can process passengers quickly at a number of locations throughout the terminal creating a seamless experience with minimal wait times. Passengers want to pass through the airport quickly without the need for numerous check points. The Getac tablet speeds things up and it’s a much better experience for passengers.”
~ICTS Europe Systems Product Manager, Jason Spencer
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ICTS Europe Systems has been responsible for checking travel documents and passenger profiling on US carrier flights for over 25 years. In the early days, security interviews were completed manually and relied on assessing appearance and behaviour, with no system at all. The advent of laptops and electronic passport readers meant that information could be checked electronically at the check-in desk and departure gate. But the system has its drawbacks, says ICTS Product Manager Jason Spencer:
“We used to use standard laptops, but these needed to be replaced numerous times due to damage through falls and general fatigue.
“Mobility is the key. Airlines are moving away from check-in desks and more towards kiosks with people located beside or near to them, so the tablet fits that profile. The airlines also prefer the mobility the tablet gives us and the more modern look to the service provided.”
The challenge was to find a more mobile alternative to laptops, which could scan passports, check information via a wireless connection, and be robust enough to stand up to rough handling all day long.
Jason and his team trialled the Getac Z710 alongside other tablets and their existing laptop system for a month before switching to the tablet for all of the ICTS hubs in the UK and Europe, including Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Paris, Rome, Madrid and Frankfurt. The platform which includes the Getac tablets, passport scanner and ICTS software, is used in more than 25 airports around the globe, checking around 35,000 passengers every day.
The tablets are also used for a system called SMART Q, which monitors and manages queues at security gates.
ICTS staff now carry a Getac Z710 tablet connected to a 3M mini passport reader and are able to take security checks to passengers, rather than making passengers come to them. The Z710 reads the passport and sends the information wirelessly to the ICTS server. The details are checked against data held on the server and the operator is advised of any additional questions that might need to be asked. And because the data is held remotely on the ICTS server, and not on the tablet
itself, data access is quicker and more secure.
“We have had no problems at all, and Getac have given good support when we have been developing software and applications, so the Z710 will definitely be our tablet of choice for our online operations in the future,” says Jason.
For US carriers and certain charter flights the system uses a traffic light system to highlight any potential issues. A green light means the passenger is OK to travel, yellow means some additional information is required, and red is no-go. The tablet can even send a message to the supervisor’s tablet if need be, and share
what the operator is seeing.
“Staff no longer have to carry heavy, padded cases with laptops and set them up on desks at the check-in,” explains Jason.
“We have been using the Z710 tablets now for about 7 months, and out of 250 units we have only had to replace one. You can throw them around, and they survive. So although they are more expensive, it has been a cost-effective decision in the long run. There is no comparison really.”
Flexible connectivity is another advantage of the Z710, he says. Different airports use different systems to access the ICTS server, and the Getac tablet is able to deal with all of them. Another key feature is the anti-glare screen, which make the units easier to use in the different light conditions that are found in airports – from sunny departure gates to the artificial lighting of check-in areas. Compatibility with bespoke software packages also makes the Z710 an ideal choice for ICTS.
Last, but not least, the units have shown that they can stand up to everyday life in the airport thanks to the certified, rugged build – so operators don’t have to worry that their device will suddenly stop working in the middle of checking passengers onto a flight. “The Getac Z710 is our all in one security solution,” Jason says.