This year, airports worldwide will spend $11.8 billion — 68 percent more than the level three years ago — on information technology, according to an estimate published this month by SITA (Société Internationale de Telecommunications Aeronautiques, an airline-owned tech provider).
A few trends are driving the rise of smart airports. Flight volumes are increasing, so airports need better ways to process flyers. Airports need better ways to make money, too, by encouraging passengers to spend more in their shops and restaurants.
Data is growing in importance. Everything happening at an airport, from where passengers are flowing to which items are selling in stores, generates data. Airports can analyze this data to spot opportunities for eking out fatter profits. They can sell the data to third-parties as well.