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Thailand’s U-tapao airport to become smart

Image Credits: Bangkok Post, Press Release

Thailand’s largest mobile operator by subscribers has partnered with U-tapao airport to support digital infrastructure for a 5G network, WiFi 6 and other tech solutions in a bid to turn it into a smart airport. U-tapao airport is located in the Eastern Economic Corridor, one of the government’s strategic priorities under the Thailand 4.0 policy.

The Chief Executive of the telecom stated that 5G tech deployment and digital solutions could be a way to shore up the economy in the wake of the pandemic. The digital infrastructure, 5G tech and WiFi 6 are expected to support new digital solutions. WiFi6 and the 5G network are already deployed at terminal 2.

The telecom has been trusted to jointly develop digital solutions for terminal 2 since September 2018 to improve service and management at the facility. The company worked on applications, video analytics, computer systems and communication systems to enhance the service capability at the airport. The cooperation will also touch on strengthening airport management and improving the customer experience.

The new digital services that have been ushered in to enhance the airport’s capabilities cover six categories.

  • The first concerns smart video analytics solutions, aimed at enhancing the terminal management system with intelligent video image analysis and processing technology.
  • The second is the Thailand Smart Airport application, which allows passengers to access aviation service and airport information in one app. Travelers can download the app through Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store.
  • The third is thermal scan technology, which should improve the measurement of passengers’ temperatures. The system is connected to the airport’s security management.
  • The fourth is robots developed by the telecom Robotic Lab research team that can screen passengers’ temperatures.
  • The fifth concerns the 5G network that will help increase passenger and public services within the airport and support the roll-out of new services.
  • The sixth feature involves WiFi6 technology, the latest WiFi standard with the fastest speed.

The General Manager Vice Adm stated that the airport handles 2-2.3 million passengers a year with 17 airlines en route for the facility. The U-tapao airport and Eastern Airport City Development project is of strategic importance to the government and the project’s investment includes other commercial services.

Recently OpenGov Asia reported that the Thai government is teaming up with another telecommunication juggernaut to bring 5G networking and services as a part of the nation’s ‘smart airport’ initiative, starting with Krabi airport as a pilot project. The National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC) and the Department of Airports (DOA) have signed a 5G Smart Airport MoU for technical cooperation and services.

Under the terms of the MoU, 5G technology solutions will be developed and applied to Krabi airport first, before expanding to the 28 other airports overseen by the DoA throughout the country. Additionally, the Thai subsidiary of the telecom is also in line to sign another MoU to provide free 5G tech support, solutions, and equipment that is worth 10 million baht (approximately US$322,800) to enable the smart airport project.

The NBTC Secretary-General stated that the installation of 5G infrastructure is expected to “start within a month”. The telecom will provide additional innovations and services at the airport for free to ensure passengers’ safety in the new normal era after the Covid-19 outbreak, such as robots that can detect passenger density in airport areas, thermal scanners, and UV treatment equipment for passengers’ luggage.

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