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OKI and the Changing Times

Part 19: Contributions to Airport Security and Aviation Safety

Since the 1990s, in response to globalization and growing international exchanges, OKI has developed automated gate systems that improve the efficiency of airport immigration inspections. In 2010, as part of an initiative to improve security still further, OKI developed and launched an individual personal identification automated gate system for next-generation immigration control based on biometric authentication technologies. This article discusses OKI's initiatives in areas related to airport operations and various factors that formed the backdrop for the new system.

Automated gate systems

The number of Japanese traveling abroad in 1990 topped 10 million. In the same year, Japanese immigration laws were revised to permit foreign nationals of Japanese ancestry to work in Japan free of job category restrictions. These measures were enacted before the collapse of Japan's economic bubble, at a time of growing need for labor from overseas.

Against this backdrop, the Immigration Bureau of the Ministry of Justice began considering the development of automated gate systems to improve the efficiency of immigration inspections and to increase convenience for travelers at international airports. OKI quickly became involved in developing a prototype system. Work accelerated from 2001 with the launch of the e-Airport Concept project at Narita International Airport.

As part of the e-JAPAN Strategy conceived by the Japanese government, the project was intended to showcase Narita International Airport as a world-leading model for airport use of IT technologies. One aspect was the e-Check-in support system. These efforts paralleled a global trend toward growing use of IT in travel procedures as part of the Simplifying Passenger Travel (SPT) project spearheaded by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, the worldwide focus shifted to anti-terrorist measures for aviation safety.

A wide range of accumulated technologies and expertise in biometric authentication

Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, attention focused on biometric authentication technologies. Biometric authentication seeks to assess and identify travelers via unique physical characteristics (such as fingerprints, iris patterns, and voice signatures). Preliminary studies for the e-Airport Concept had addressed these technologies, and OKI was involved in verification testing from 2003. OKI played a leading project role in the development of monitoring terminals, automated gate systems, and kiosk terminals.

Next Generation Automated Gate System
(Kansai International Airport)

The first automated gates in Japan based on biometric authentication were introduced following a revision of the immigration laws in 2007. Full-scale introduction began in 2010 at Narita International Airport, Kansai International Airport, and Central Japan International Airport. Automated gates were subsequently installed at the international terminal of Tokyo International Airport, achieving OKI's goals from two decades back.

OKI's project leadership was unquestionably based on the technologies and experience accumulated at a steady pace since the early 1990s through involvement in multi-bio, gate control, and immigration systems.

Launch of Universal Design for Airports

OKI is dedicated to creating new services at airports. OKI has also been involved in developing context-aware (i.e., providing services appropriate for a particular situation) and universal design systems for the Kobe Airport Ubiquitous Proving Test, carried out from March 2006. OKI has shared the designs for these systems with members of local government and business to help accelerate the development of future systems.

SUKIT terminals installed at Haneda
International Airtport

OKI has also provided 40 SUKIT kiosk information terminals for the international passenger terminal at Tokyo International Airport. SUKIT terminals manage all passenger boarding formalities from a single terminal, drawing on the full range of OKI technologies and expertise gathered through experience with bank cash machines, airline self check-in machines, and railway seat reservation machines. Acclaimed for their user-friendliness and thoughtful design, they provide a range of essential functions and devices for international flight check-in services, including passport readers, 2D barcode readers, and boarding pass printers.

Having developed and built key equipment and systems for air traffic control systems for some 40 years, OKI has a long history of involvement with airport operations and technologies. In particular, OKI excels in voice communications technologies. OKI systems are used at air traffic control desks (communications control systems) that play key roles in aviation communications and ensure reliable communication between air traffic controllers and pilots and between air traffic controllers. OKI continues to push forward with a wide range of initiatives, including the development of next-generation control systems and the international standardization of voice transmission technologies.

While B2B represents OKI's core, through such airport-related business, the company has played a direct and significant role in supporting both people and society. OKI will continue to contribute to security at airports and to safety and peace of mind in the air through services for air travelers and its control systems.

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