For many frequent flyers, the relationship between flyers and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been at times, turbulent. For the better part of the last two decades, going through airport security has been met with groans over long wait times as flyers are encouraged to get to the airport earlier and earlier.

TSA Lean Six Sigma tactics reduce wait time

However, the tide may be turning a bit, as recent reports have shown a decline in TSA’s wait times, which can be attributed to the agency deploying Lean Six Sigma tactics for increased efficiency. Lean Six Sigma tactics are techniques that rely on collaborative team efforts to improve processes. Safety is the top priority, but, through lean tactics, TSA can speed things up while keeping everyone safe.

In 2016, 98% of fliers waited 30 minutes or less for screening between Memorial Day and Labour Day, and, about 92% waited less than 15 minutes, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Even the seven busiest airports in the USA clocked average wait times of less than 10 minutes. All huge improvements from the horror stories we use to hear about missed flights and unruly customers across the country.

So, how is TSA speeding things up without compromising safety?

CLEAR: Efficient security navigation

One process improvement tactic that has shown great results in efficiency is the rising number of PreCheck flyers. TSA data also shows that the nation-wide average wait time for TSA PreCheck travellers is less than five minutes, compared to less than 10 minutes for travellers in standard screening lines. PreCheck flyers who pay an $85 fee for five years can expect to wait 5 to 10 minutes or less at security lines. PreCheck also reduces the number of people in the standard security line.

The security check with CLEAR is done through biometrics, making it safe, as well as efficient

CLEAR is a new form of efficient security navigation, allowing flyers to pay a fee, and skip ahead, beating the long lines of security. The security check with CLEAR is done through biometrics, making it safe, as well as efficient.

Smith's Detection improves processes

Faster wait times is what every flyer is after, but not at the risk of safety. This is why TSA and the DHS have been focusing on lean tactics that improve process, knowing full well that this innovation will lead to faster times for customers. One recent piece of equipment, the Smith’s Detection IONSCAN 500DT has been a major asset in both process improvement, leading to a safer, and faster experience for the flyer. This device can scan and detect over 40 substances in eight seconds flat.

The only hang-up with the Smith’s Detection device is its size, this is a 50-pound piece of equipment, and TSA soon learned that transporting the equipment was not realistic, given the number of flyers it needs to detect every day. If the device can’t be moved, it’s efficiency gets cut down drastically. The TSA needed to find a way to move this around, or it was just a heavy piece of equipment that was great, but not the asset they envisioned, as it wasn’t mobile.

Faster wait times is what every flyer is after, but not at the risk of safety
CLEAR is a new form of efficient security navigation, allowing flyers to pay a fee, and skip ahead, beating the long lines of security

In 2010 at the Boston Manchester Regional Airport in Manchester, New Hampshire; TSA sought after a form of mobile power to transport the IONSCAN DT to different places around the airport quickly and without putting too much strain on the equipment, and on the agents doing the labour. This newfound freedom of allowing the TSA agent to move freely with the Smith’s Detection device saved them several hours in a day, and countless steps. Thanks to mobile power, the Smith’s Detection device was the major asset TSA envisioned. Today, Newcastle System’s mobile powered carts for TSA can be found in hundreds of airports across the country. Less steps taken for the agent means more flyers screened in a shorter amount of time.

Although most flyers don’t know of Smith’s Detection device, in reality it is saving them a lot of time each time they fly.

Process improvement across aviation system

In 2016, the DHS hired 1,368 new Transportation Safety Officers (TSOs) and converted 1,865 TSOs from part-time to full time in order to catch up with the growing demand of flyers, and well-trafficked airports.

Investment and improvements in products are essential, but logistics and the power of people cannot be forgotten. Process improvement is the key to speeding things up in this vital industry. TSA screens over 2 million passengers per day, and that number is growing rapidly.

Last year, Congress approved the reallocation of $34 million to address passenger growth, improve checkpoint performance, and mitigate vulnerabilities across the aviation system. Of that budget, $26 million went directly to process improvement through staff. Tripling the amount of overtime allocated to officers, expanding the number of lanes for passengers, adding 780,000 screening hours, and hiring 768 full-time officers to high volume airports.

In May 2016, wait times exceeded 104 minutes of waiting in line for security
at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport

Lean tactics tighten airport efficiency

In the 21 largest airports in the U.S., DHS sent a team of lean experts to seek opportunities for improvement. The team reviewed airline schedules, passenger loads, line design, and checkpoint and baggage areas. By the end of all the visits, the team compiled to results for each airport’s Federal Security Director. By the summer travel season, each airport had deployed several lean tactics which drastically improved the efficiency of the security lines.

In May 2016, wait times exceeded 104 minutes of waiting in line for security at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. By August, those times were cut down to 6 minutes. A similar story rose out of Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, when they took action against the congested lines and added more lanes and conveyor belts for bins. This resulted in travellers speeding through the security lines 30 percent faster.

As for the actual mission of security, TSA broke records catching guns in carry-on bags at checkpoints, according to TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger. Neffenger said that officers found 2,200 by September of 2016, compared with a record 2,653 in the previous year.

When we think of lean six sigma and process improvement, our minds focus on manufacturing warehouses and distribution centres. But lean tactics can be used anywhere for anything – including teams focused solely on the safety and security of others.

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ASSA ABLOY's Yale celebrates 175 years, smart locks and new partnerships
ASSA ABLOY's Yale celebrates 175 years, smart locks and new partnerships

When Linus Yale Sr. invented the pin tumbler cylinder lock, it was the start of an iconic security brand that would eventually be known all over the world. What began in a lock shop in Newport, New York, would eventually evolve into the global presence of the brand “Yale” that we know today. The Yale brand was purchased in August 2000 by the Swedish lock manufacturer ASSA ABLOY Group, which expanded Yale’s global presence in the ensuing years and recently has led the way into smart locks and building automation. This year, ASSA ABLOY is marking the 175th anniversary of the Yale brand. Global home security brand “People all over the world trust the brand to protect what they love most in their homes,” says Kate Clark, Managing Director of Yale EMEA at ASSA ABLOY. Although Yale has a successful commercial sector business in the United States, in the rest of the world Yale is a residential brand. The Yale brand is well known in 130 countries from Australia to the Czech Republic to Colombia, and is popular in Africa, too. In the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) market alone, Yale has around 20,000 products; that’s without counting products sold in the Asia-Pacific and Americas regions. Yale is familiar as a generic term for “lock” in some areas and is one of the largest home security brands in the world. Expansion into digital locks Good old-fashioned cylinder locks still look nice and cost the right amount of money, so they are in demand “I think we stand for safety, quality and reliability, and that hasn’t changed,” says Clark. “It’s as important now as ever. We have tried to pioneer new technology in the industry, new innovations. The rate of acceleration has increased, and there are so many technologies we have to understand and work with.” Growing beyond its heritage in mechanical locking systems, Yale is now expanding into digital locks that can protect homes with a high level of security synonymous with the Yale brand. The current selection of locks includes partnerships with tech brands such as Nest Labs (Google) and Alexa (Amazon). There is a rapid acceleration of growth in the electro-mechanical lock market. But even as the focus expands to smart locks and partnerships with tech companies, Yale continues to dedicate time and resources to the design of their core mechanical products. Good old-fashioned cylinder locks still look nice and cost the right amount of money, so they are in demand. Yale padlocks and bike locks also keep the name top-of-mind. There’s an ongoing education process as home locks expand beyond the use of mechanical devices and even personal identification (PIN) codes. Beyond mechanical locks and PIN codes “It’s important for people to know that we have been around a long time, and we want to celebrate that,” says Clark. “It’s a fantastic story around the brand and what we have achieved. Internally we have a lot of people doing a lot of great things with the brand. We inspire people working with the brand and show them that this is the pedigree, and it should be cherished. We are also raising awareness among younger people, so they know that we are still relevant.” We have an obligation to show people that the new technologies are just as secure as mechanical locks" There’s an ongoing education process as home locks expand beyond the use of mechanical devices and even personal identification (PIN) codes. “We have to take people on a journey,” says Clark. “We have an obligation to show them that the new technologies are just as secure as mechanical locks. If we eliminate PIN codes, we have to do it in a secure and safe way. Then suddenly access to your home can be made available by a company you trust.” Smart home security “We have a responsibility to do our best job with the new technology – it’s wonderful, but it needs to be used correctly,” says Clark. “I personally feel a responsibility to do that in the right way.” For example, in working with Amazon and Alexa to remotely authorise the delivery of a parcel to a home, concerns of security must be weighed carefully along with issues of convenience. “It’s important that we get the balance right,” says Clark. “We need to know the right person is giving the right voice command to lock a lock. We have to be true to our core as ‘security first.’” Will Yale be here another 175 years? Clark says she doesn’t expect to be around to find out but will do her best to preserve and promote the brand until she hands it off to a new caretaker.

Smart home access control growth and the future of door security
Smart home access control growth and the future of door security

There’s growing noise around smart homes and smarter security. You’ve probably heard it. But there is a place where access control and more have been smart for decades: the workplace. Home automation and IoT are still playing catch-up with the commercial sector. A new insights report from ASSA ABLOY and IFSEC Global — “The Smart Door Locks Report 2018” — measures just how fast consumer smart technology is running. According to a survey conducted for the report, 61% of households now claim to own at least one smart home device or system. Energy monitors, home CCTV cameras, intruder alarms and smart door locks are the most popular, according to the report. All these functions, of course, have been available to businesses for years.61% of households now claim to own at least one smart home device or system Educating the smart home consumer Paradoxically, report data also questions how much consumers really know about their smarter home. A surprising 42% of those surveyed, for example, were unaware they could control a smart door lock from their phone. In fact, many leading smart door lock models offer this feature, delivered by Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and an app. Despite a wealth of features offered by the latest smart door locks — remote and location-based locking/unlocking; voice activation; timed access; emailed entry alerts; and integration with smart camera and lighting systems — most people still have limited knowledge of their capabilities.  Smart technology is increasingly becoming the new norm in terms of home security  Only 14% of survey respondents described themselves as “very familiar” with what a smart lock can do. Even though most of them probably use smart access control solutions at their workplace. Secure homes through smart technology Monitoring and security are not the only drivers for smart home adoption. We humans also love convenience, and modern living presents us with problems that smart home technology can solve. Ironically, given the report’s findings, it takes a smartphone to really unlock the convenient possibilities of smarter living. The device that’s “always to hand” is central to the newest generation of smart door locks.A smart door lock is a convenient way for a landlord or agency to offer round-the-clock check-in and check-out If homeowners wish to remotely manage property access for friends and family, many smart door locks oblige. You let in guests remotely, send them a virtual digital key, or provide a temporary or single-use PIN to unlock the door. It is just as easy to revoke a digital key, if you don’t want its owner to come around anymore. This is a significant improvement over sharing physical keys — or hiding one under the doormat. We cannot be totally sure where a metal key ends up and have no way to track or cancel it once it’s “out in the wild”. 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Selected customers of some major Scandinavian e-retailers could choose to have parcels delivered inside their front door, if it was equipped with a Yale smart door lock.  Home delivery is among potential smart services covered in “The Smart Door Locks Report 2018 ”. When asked whether the ability to receive parcels securely in a porch or lobby would make them more likely to invest in a smart door lock, 79% said it would.It is easy to revoke a digital key, if you don’t want its owner to come around anymore Holiday rentals and smart home tech ASSA ABLOY research published in 2017 forecasts continued growth in the European holiday rentals sector (at 5.8% CAGR). Smart door locks are also making an impact here, at both ends of the market: for service providers — agents and homeowners — and for travellers. A smart door lock is a convenient way for a landlord or agency to offer round-the-clock check-in and check-out, without creating extra work or staff costs. Both Intersoft, in Croatia, and Hoomvip in Spain have built holiday rentals management systems around an app and the ENTR® smart door lock. Agents issue, revoke, track and manage virtual keys for all their guests, saving everyone time and hassle. Travellers use their phones and an app to unlock their apartment. For these visitors the smartphone is already an essential travel accessory. It is a boarding pass, a credit card, a travel guide, and a postcard home... why not a door key, too? And if this key is backed by a trusted home security brand — and a company with vast experience in the mature market for commercial “smart” security — better still.

Bosch startup SAST addresses need for evolved solutions in security industry
Bosch startup SAST addresses need for evolved solutions in security industry

Security and Safety Things GmbH (SAST) is a new company that has announced its vision for an Internet of Things (IoT) platform for the next generation of security cameras. The Bosch startup plans to build a global ecosystem for the development of innovative security camera applications. Based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), SAST provides libraries, an API framework, and codecs for developers to work with. The SAST App Store will allow developers to build and market new applications, similar to today’s app stores for smartphone applications. We presented some questions to Nikolas Mangold-Takao, VP Product Management and Marketing, about the new venture, and here are his responses: Q: Why a new company now? What technology innovations have made this a good time to launch this company? The time is right to bring market needs and technological innovations together on one platform"Mangold-Takao: From a technical perspective we see two main drivers: increasing computing power at the edge and increasing internet connectivity, which will enable devices to directly communicate with each other and bring new technologies such as artificial intelligence also to the security and safety industry. At the same time, we see that this industry and its users are hungry for more innovative solutions – addressing new security needs while at the same leveraging the possibility to improve business operations for specific verticals, e.g. retail and transportation. The time is right to bring market needs and technological innovations together on one platform for this industry. Q: Why does SAST need to be a separate entity from Bosch? Mangold-Takao: SAST is setup as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bosch Group. We wanted to make sure that SAST is able to underline its role as an industry standard platform across multiple players. SAST is open to get additional investors and is being setup as a startup in its own offices in Munich to foster the environment where speed and innovation can more easily take place. Having said that, several entities of the Bosch Group are very interesting partners for SAST. The SAST App Store will allow developers to build and market new applications, similar to today’s app stores for smartphone applications Q: Please explain your "value proposition" to the industry. Mangold-Takao: We will bring new innovations and possibilities to the security and safety industry by providing an open, secure and standardised Operating System for video security cameras, to also address pressing issues such as cyber security and data privacy concerns. Devices that run then with the SAST operating system will work with an application marketplace provided and operated by SAST. Integrators and users can then use these apps from this marketplace to deploy additional functionality on these devices. With our platform we will be able to build up a community of app developers, including the ones not yet developing for this industry who have expertise in computer vision and artificial intelligence. Q: It seems what you are doing has parallels with the Apple and Android "app" stores. How is your approach the same (and how is it different) than those approaches? We are setting up SAST as a user-centric company and involve selected users very early on in the process"Mangold-Takao: The approach is similar in the way that we plan to generate revenue by operating the application marketplace and thus participate in the app revenue. The difference is that there is much more needed than apps and cameras to create a complete working solution addressing a user problem in this industry – we need to make sure that our own platform as well as the new applications being created will work as a part of an end-to-end solution. Q: "Critical mass" and wide industry participation seem to be requirements for your success. How will you achieve those goals? Will you involve integrators, consultants, or other parties in addition to manufacturers (to drive awareness)? How? Mangold-Takao: SAST is in close exchange with device manufacturers, integrators and consultants, as well as application developers and large end-users at the moment to ensure that we are building the right platform and ecosystem for this industry. We are setting up SAST as a user-centric company and involve selected users very early on in the process. We will run dedicated programs and hackathons to attract app developers, already active and new to our industry. We will also run selected pilots with end-users throughout 2019 to ensure we have all partners involved early on. SAST sees the industry is hungry for more innovative solutions – with the retail vertical market a target for these solutions Q: What timeline do you foresee in terms of implementing these initiatives? Mangold-Takao: While we start with first app development programs and plan our first pilots already for this year, we are planning our commercial launch for end of 2019. Q: How does your new company relate to the new Open Security & Safety Alliance (OSSA)? Mangold-Takao: The Open Security and Safety Alliance has been working very closely with SAST over the past year, defining some important concepts and elements required. One of the most important elements is an open and standardised Operating System, specific to this industry, which will then bring forward new innovative technologies and solutions. SAST is actively working on this Operating System, based on Android Open Source Project (ASOP), but is evolved and hardened with industry-specific features. Q: What's the biggest thing you want the security industry to understand about SAST? What is your "message" to the industry? Mangold-Takao: Our message is simple: let’s build better security and safety systems – together! But for real, innovating an industry is a joint effort, we can only bring new innovation to this industry with partners who share our vision and are excited about new technology. At the same time, we strongly believe that our platform allows every partner to bring forward what they do best but also invite new partners to our industry.