Satyaki Raghunath seems like an excited pilot sitting in the cockpit, all set for a long-haul flight to the future. After an extensive two decades of experience in transportation and airport system planning across major cities – London, Chicago, Dubai, Houston and New Delhi, today Satyaki is responsible for Strategy and Development at BIAL. His dashboard is full of a lot of buttons–from frontend corporate strategy, traffic forecasting & market analyses, route development, cargo and aviation concessionaires, to master planning, the BIAL Centre of Excellence (CoE) comprising Innovation Lab, Business Intelligence and Capacity and Operational Planning–Raghunath is steering the airport amidst a lot of new realities.
Having been at the helm of GMR Airports Ltd, the London Stansted Airport, Dubai Airports, and LeighFisher, a specialist global airport advisory firm–he has his hands in full control of the Turn Indicator at BIAL as the organisation turns a new curve towards technology. We find out more about this ascent—with the current altimeter-reading around smart airport technology, IoT, privacy-balance, cybersecurity-turbulence etc.
What are the highlights of the technology footprint at the airport? Any recent additions that are bold and exciting?
Digital transformation became a strategic priority for us at BIAL as passenger volumes grew exponentially between 2016 and 2020. In addition to the capital investment programme, we embarked on a comprehensive digital transformation programme a few years ago. Our digital transformation is focused on fourkey areas–enhancement of customer experience; improvement in operational efficiency; increase in revenue generation opportunities and sustainability.
When it comes to offering delightful passenger experience, the Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru, fondly known as BLR Airport, is second to none. It sets the benchmark with path-breaking initiatives by leveraging technology with a firm focus on making the airport experience for passengers more seamless and enjoyable.
In conjunction with our partners, we have delivered multiple platforms focusing on enterprise process automation, contactless travel, improved web and mobile app experiences for customers and a business intelligence and data analytics platform to improve operations. This digital transformation has helped us enhance customer experience at every single touch point and at the same time drive operational and commercial performance.
Can you cite how?
Yes, a lot of top-notch tech initiatives have been implemented at BLR Airport. Like Contactless Processing. With greater emphasis on minimum touch and minimum exposure between passengers and Airport personnel, BIAL aims to minimize all physical contact at the Airport. We have also embraced Virtual Information Desk, OneID Kerb-to-Gate Biometric Boarding Solutions, Selfservice Bag Drops, Smart Security Lane with Automated Tray Retrieval, and Smart Washrooms in the same vein. In addition, we have deployed an Automated Irrigation System which has been implemented to provide uniform water distribution across the BLR Airport Campus to maintain our landscape, covering an area of over 122,500 sq. m. This technology has helped BIAL control the wastage of water during irrigation.
Is the ‘contactless’ factor pervading all areas of the airport? How much of this pandemic-triggered shift will continue and build up even after 2021?
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