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Travel Innovation Award for digital transformation in the Fraport Group

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Fraport Digital Factory shaping future world of travel, improving the customer experience group-wide.

Fraport AG has received the 2021 Travel Innovation Award for digital transformation and innovative projects. Plug and Play, the world’s largest early-stage investor, bestowed this kudo on the company during the Expo Day it held in Vienna on June 17 of this year. “This award goes to companies that have demonstrated exceptional effort and commitment in developing digital innovations,” explained Benjamin Klose, the CEO of Plug and Play Austria. “In less than a year, the Fraport Group worked with various startups in our ecosystem to launch more pilot projects with good prospects of a rollout than any of our other members.”

The Digital Factory 
With a virtual organizational unit called the Digital Factory, the airport operator is banking on digital and innovative solutions and technologies for optimizing services for customers and employees: “By developing and deploying creative digital solutions today, we are helping to shape tomorrow’s world of travel,” stated Claus Grunow, who heads Group Strategy and Digitalization at Fraport AG. “We’re striving to boost our group’s digital maturity and competitiveness. Due to the crisis, we’re focusing on projects that yield particularly great benefits.”

A team of experts on digitalization and other fields is developing innovative solutions for aspects of airport operation, and will present its first usable product within three months. It is focusing its efforts not only on Frankfurt Airport, but also on the group’s subsidiaries and holdings elsewhere in the world.

Plug and Play Innovation Partner 
Since launching its “Digital Factory”, Fraport has been working with the Plug and Play Tech Center (“Plug and Play”), the world’s largest early-stage investor, accelerator and corporate innovation platform with global headquarters in Sunnyvale, California in the Silicon Valley. Thanks to access to this platform with more than 30,000 technology and startup companies, the team is rapidly developing solutions for mastering operational challenges. Numerous projects have already been launched within the Fraport Group.

Improving the travel process 
In order to analyze passenger flows in the terminals at Frankfurt Airport more effectively, a new technology is being tested that anonymously and dynamically captures passenger volumes over a large area. Special “lidar sensors” generate a precise 3D image depicting their movements, which is then analyzed. “Among other things, this will allow us to forecast waiting times at the security checkpoints with a lead time of 10 minutes, thus improving passengers’ overall travel experience,” says Grunow.

Occupancy-based parking rates
In the future, the rates for parking close to the terminals will vary dynamically -  depending on the available space in the parking facilities. Passengers will pay less to park their vehicles at Frankfurt Airport in times of lower demand.

Automatic license plate detection
CargoCity South has also introduced a valuable innovation that benefits customers: if they register online beforehand, the gate automatically opens for them to drive in, saving 10 minutes each time. Assuming an average of 10,000 vehicles entering each week, a cumulative total of 10 years of time will be saved per calendar year. With this system the airport operator is responding to the increased traffic volumes resulting from the enormous and still-expanding cargo volumes that are handled here. The effect will be to achieve smoother operation of the complex logistical processes involved.

Active in other countries 
A project now being implemented by Fraport USA is focusing on a sensor-based solution combined with an analytical tool to shed light on which shops passengers visit and which products they purchase. The insights derived will help retailers develop targeted marketing campaigns and promotions to meet customer needs better.

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