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FTE Global 2022 Exhibitor & Sponsor Preview Part 2 – digital twin, artificial intelligence, robotics, IoT and automation solutions

The following article was published by Future Travel Experience
In the second part of the FTE Global 2022 Exhibitor & Sponsor Preview, we highlight…

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The following article was published by Future Travel Experience

In the second part of the FTE Global 2022 Exhibitor & Sponsor Preview, we highlight innovative technology that will be on display next week, including digital twin, artificial intelligence, robotics, IoT and automation solutions.

The upcoming Future Travel Experience Global 2022, taking place in Las Vegas on 6-9 September, will feature our largest showcase of innovative solutions with over 85 exhibitors and sponsors already confirmed.

This year’s focus is on solutions that can help future proof the sector through cutting-edge technology and innovation, including parallel reality, digital twins, NFTs, biometrics and digital identity, cloud computing, baggage handling systems, contactless offering, security processing and many more.

In the second part of the FTE Global 2022 Exhibitor & Sponsor Preview, we highlight a selection of some of the most innovative solutions that will be on display in the exhibition.

>> Read Part 1 of the FTE Global 2021 Exhibitor & Sponsor Preview here 

A-ICE

A-ICE provides value added IT solutions and integrated applications to airports, airlines and ground handlers, with a specific experience in the implementation and support of mission critical systems. A-ICE relies on its strong relationship with the air transport community, addressing and anticipating the needs as they evolve. With over 25 years of experience in this field, it provides the most up to date software and IT solutions to satisfy customer requirements. A-ICE offers a consultative approach, which allows the company to tailor each solution to each customer’s individual requirements. Visit A-ICE’s booth at FTE Global 2022 to see their IT solutions and integrated applications for airports, airlines and ground handlers, including the Airport in Cloud integrated suite of cloud-based solutions and the intelligent decision-making software tool, CLOS (Collaborative Logistics Optimization System).

ADB SAFEGATE

ADB SAFEGATE provides integrated solutions that raise efficiency, improve safety, boost environmental sustainability and reduce operational costs for airports, airlines and ANSPs. ADB works with airports and airlines to solve operational bottlenecks, helping them navigate today’s challenges and prepare for tomorrow. Solutions encompass airfield lighting, power and control systems, smart airport and tower software solutions, intelligent docking automation and apron management, as well as aftermarket services. With 1,200 employees, ADB SAFEGATE serves over 2,500 airports in more than 175 countries, from the busiest and largest like Atlanta, Beijing, Dubai, Heathrow, Charles De Gaulle, Frankfurt, Istanbul, New Delhi and Changi to fast-growing airports across Asia and Africa. ADB SAFEGATE comes to FTE Global 2022 this year to share how its Digital Apron offering can help airports and airlines with their post-COVID-19 recovery efforts, as well as facilitate a future-proof digital transformation. The Digital Apron is a connected ecosystem of processes and solutions focusing on an augmented intelligence, human-cantered operational model to support real-time decision making and performance. Intelligent management of apron operations leads to shorter turnaround times, fewer safety incidents and improved revenue, among other benefits.

AirFi America

AirFi is a global leader in portable IFE and inflight retailing technology for airlines. The company offers a full suite of flexible and low capex solutions that enable streaming IFE, enhanced crew efficiency, third-party commercial integrations and a healthier bottom line overall. Its innovative solutions include Connected Crew for onboard sales and ancillary revenue, as well as LEO ­– inflight connectivity offering for payment verification and other low-bandwidth data communication purposes. At FTE Global 2022, live demonstrations of the AirFi “Mall in the Sky” will be on display, plus the company will also be showcasing the vast options for revenue to the airline. Its FASE (Fully Autonomous Semi Embedded) units, will be live and available for interactive use.

Amadeus

Amadeus’ solutions connect travellers to the journeys they want through travel agents, search engines, tour operators, airlines, airports, hotels, cars and railways. The company has developed its technology in partnership with the travel industry for over 30 years. It combines a deep understanding of how people travel with the ability to design and deliver the most complex, trusted, critical systems its customers need. This year, the company will be showcasing a complete end-to-end biometric passenger flow from check-in through to boarding. Attendees are encouraged to bring along their passport to the booth to experience for themselves the ease of a biometric end-to-end airport process. “We’re excited to be back at the FTE Global show in 2022 as the aviation industry rebounds,” the company says. “FTE Global in December 2021 proved to be dynamic restart and we look forward to building on this in 2022. We believe there will be strong interest in biometrics and processes that employ low touch automated technologies to enhance the passenger journey. We are therefore keen to engage more deeply with potential customers and determine how we shape the industry not only to recover but take significant strides forward. FTE Global has always been about innovation and progress, which is why we have been a long-standing supporter and why we are eagerly looking forward to the 2022 edition.”

Register to attend FTE Global 2022 today >>

Analogic

Analogic Corporation, headquartered in Peabody, MA, USA is a global leader in design, development, and manufacturing of advanced and cost-effective imaging and detection for security, healthcare, and other high-end industrial markets. Analogic has been an innovation leader in the field of computed tomography imaging for over 40 years, with over 2,000 CT systems and gantries deployed at airports worldwide through its Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) security partners. Analogic’s latest innovation is its ConneCT Computed Tomography (CT) checkpoint security screening system, which has been qualified by the US TSA for deployment at US airports in base, mid-size, and full-size configurations. FTE brings together innovators from the entire travel community, which makes it an ideal place for Analogic to showcase its ConneCT Computed Tomography (CT) checkpoint security screening system. The ConneCT is truly the future of aviation security. It was designed to address the needs of forward-thinking airports and airlines that want the very best in passenger experience, operational efficiency and aviation security. The ConneCT’s sleek, modern, “jet engine” design has overnight set the standard for the look and feel of checkpoint security solutions.

BAGTAG

BAGTAG, a member of the FTE Baggage Innovation Working Group, is here to revolutionise the way we travel with baggage forever. Their Electronic Bag Tags (EBT) give passengers, full, paperless and easy-to-handle control over the baggage check-in process. Doing so, BAGTAG pulls the check-in process entirely off-airport. At a time when reducing touchpoints and frictions such as queuing at the airport has become more imminent than ever, BAGTAG enables airlines to further future-proof travelling. In recent news, the company has partnered with Alaska Airlines, which is poised to become the first U.S. airline to launch an electronic bag tag programme later this year. BAGTAG’s electronic tags will allow guests to skip the step of printing traditional bag tags upon arrival at the airport. Instead, guests will be able to activate the devices from anywhere – their home, office or car – up to 24-hours before their flight using the Alaska Airlines mobile app. Meet BAGTAG at FTE Global to find out more.

Blupura

Blupura provides state of the art hydration solutions all-the-while respecting the environment. Developed for the specific needs of each and every user, their extensive range of highly innovative products has led to the worldwide distribution of Blupura. Blupura products are hygienically safe, economically smart and environmentally friendly. At FTE Global, the company will be presenting its latest sustainable products for making your journey unforgettable with its high design water dispensers.

Brock Solutions

With over 600 employees around the globe, Brock Solutions is a global automation, operational software, and professional services company with expertise in the manufacturing, transportation, and utilities business sectors. Its solutions empower its clients to transform their operations using real-time data to drive performance, profitability, efficiency, and excellence. Over the past 25 years, Brock has successfully completed over $1B in baggage handling projects with its partners. The company has built an excellent reputation for delivering complex solutions in a wide variety of high volume and high risk industrial and operational environments. This year at FTE Global 2022, the company will be highlighting and demoing its latest SmartSuite solutions designed to enhance and streamline the passenger and baggage journey. Brock Solutions is a Strategic Partner of the FTE Baggage Innovation Working Group.

Register to attend FTE Global 2022 today >>

Copenhagen Optimization

Copenhagen Optimization excels in improving airport operations through data-driven analytics and strategic consultancy combined with its innovative software solution Better Airport®. It covers the entire airport experience, from curb to gate, allowing airport operation teams to forecast, plan, optimise, and operate on a single platform. The system contains six core modules – Better Forecast, Better Check-in, Better Security, Better Border, Better Baggage, and Better Stand & Gate – enabling you to opt in to any one module at any time. Today, airports are using Better Airport to solve a range of tasks from forecasting, schedule handling, planning, staffing, break optimisation, virtual queuing, RMS functions, and more across all the operational areas. At the Copenhagen Optimization stand, attendees will be able to see a product demo of the software solution Better Airport® and explore the innovative Virtual Queuing solution for airports.

Custom America

Custom America, Inc. is a division of Custom S.p.a. of Parma, Italy that designs, manufactures and distributes thermal printing and Point-of-Sale hardware.  We reach a variety of vertical markets and technology sectors through six major lines of business while supporting attended and unattended solutions.  Our complete solutions integrate hardware, software and services. Custom America offers both a wide range of standard products in addition to the ability to provide complete product development and customisation to meet specific application needs. Specifically, Custom America designs and manufactures a wide range of Aviation printers.  Our product portfolio offers robust and compact kiosk and attended solutions for boarding pass, luggage tag and ATB printing. Present in over 150 airports, we leverage the same print-engine for kiosks and check-in counters while integrating RFID, multi-feeder and linerless printing capabilities.  Our designs reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for dedicated airlines and airports alike by utilising a single hardware platform across various printing needs. Custom America also designs and manufactures a wide range of Ticketing, Printing, and Point-of-Sale solutions to meet complete airport infrastructure needs. Custom America is differentiated by providing Italian quality and design, supported by a global manufacturing network providing local customised solutions.

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) has been serving passengers since 1947. Prior to the COVD-19 pandemic, the airport welcomed more than 9.1 million passengers in 2019, serving a record number of local passengers. As the airport has recovered from the pandemic, it still serves more than 50 nonstop destinations – the most in the region. CVG is diversified in both passenger and cargo operations with an annual economic impact of $6.8 billion. It is the 7th largest cargo airport in North America – home to Amazon Air’s primary U.S. Hub and DHL Express Global Superhub for the Americas. Moreover, CVG – a member of the FTE Innovation & Startup Hub, works closely with the startup ecosystem, and at the airport’s booth at the show, attendees can meet with representatives from their current startup partners. Additionally, at the conference, CVG’s Chief Innovation Officer Brian Cobb will deliver an exclusive presentation title “What is the future of flight, how is it powered and how is it paid for?”

Daifuku Airport Technologies

For 100 years, the Daifuku Group, of which Airport Technologies is a key division, has pioneered the development of material handling solutions. Daifuku delivers value to its customers through innovation and meaningful partnerships, deeply understanding their needs, while supporting day-to-day operations and planning for the future.

Register to attend FTE Global 2022 today >>

Denali Advanced Integration

Denali Advanced Integration delivers exceptional technology solutions and services, powered by strategic experts and industry-leading partners to help guide our clients through the most complex IT challenges. Since 1992, Denali has been among the most trusted and prominent technology providers in North America.

DESKO GmbH

DESKO has been developing professional solutions for passport and boarding pass scanning, access control, security checks and passenger handling for 30 years. At this year’s FTE Global, the company will present its brand-new full-page passport scanners PENTA Scanner 4X and the OEM version PENTA Scanner 4X Cube, the latest generation of the class-leading PENTA Scanner family. Besides the new PENTA 4X scanners, DESKO will present a selection of highly efficient boarding gate scanners, swipe readers and keyboards for the check-in. DESKO welcomes visitors at booth B6 to test the airline/airport product range themselves. Live product presentations will be performed during the exhibition to give a practical insight into DESKO’s latest technologies and developments.

dormakaba

dormakaba supports airports and airlines to meet the complex challenges posed by access control and security to improve their operating efficiency. The company’s products range includes automated, secure solutions that meet the specific needs of all touchpoints in the passenger process. dormakaba will present the new Argus Air series: Argus Air Security, Argus Air Boarding and Argus Air Lounge. Also there are the proven solutions for self-boarding, boarding pass control, automated border crossing and exit lane breach control. Good information talks with our experts about actual solutions, necessary developments and dormakaba’s response to the ever-important issues seamless travel, One ID and passenger experience are possible.

EASIER

EASIER is one of the leading manufacturers of intelligent passenger processing equipment for airports, airlines immigration and public transportation. Its portfolio includes e-gates, kiosks, baggage drop, exit lanes, printers and scanners. EASIER’s solutions integrate curb-to-gate biometrics, DCS and common use connectivity. In the US, EASIER is helping airports and airlines implement biometric boarding for international flights, in support of CBP’s US Exit initiative. Its solution is fully operational and integrates state-of-the art biometrics, an interface to CBP’s TVS and connectivity to any airline via its pre-existing and common-use certified interfaces. EASIER’s unique pre-integrated software eliminates the need for third party software integration. At EASIER’s stand, attendees will be able to discover and test their latest innovations such as the Skycheck, EASIER’s latest generation of self-service check-in kiosk compatible with biometrics; and also the latest generation of check-in printer, the “Sprinter”, renowned for its robustness regardless of the volume of printing required and for its reduced footprint allowing it to be integrated into all check-in counters.

eezeetags®

eezeetags understands that airports and airlines aren’t just looking for products. They want solutions that will materialise into cost savings and increased efficiencies for their business. That’s why the company has developed eezeetags’ self-service bag tags, with a successful track record of helping the airline industry to improve operations. Its self adhesive linerless tags for baggage at airports completes a fully touchless tagging procedure. eezeetags’ innovative bag tag is currently being used to streamline and enhance the self service check in process at over 100 airports and airlines. Gateway Business Communications based in CT, is the exclusive sales agent for the Americas and will be present to meet with customers at the eezeetags® stand.

Register to attend FTE Global 2022 today >>

Embross

Embross develops passenger self-service technology solutions for the travel industry. Embross has more than 30 years of software and hardware development experience across passenger travel. The company will be showcasing its latest end-to-end passenger solution TravelStream.

Entrust

Entrust keeps the world moving safely by enabling trusted identities, payments and data protection. Today more than ever, people demand seamless, secure experiences, whether they’re crossing borders, making a purchase, accessing e-government services or logging into corporate networks. Entrust offers an unmatched breadth of identity verification, seamless travel, digital security and credential issuance solutions at the very heart of all these interactions. At the show, Entrust’s VP of Identity Verification Gordon Wilson will deliver a presentation, titled “Delivering seamless travel and “zero touch” border management – Learnings from the Chain of Trust, and Eurostar pilot” as part of a session, focusing on Digital Identity Innovation Future Visions & Case Studies.

Gunnebo

Gunnebo is a major global provider of gated control solutions and passenger automation within airports. Its access control solutions provide streamlined, efficient and touchless automated security in support of One ID and single token travel, improving the passenger experience at all key security touchpoints in the terminal. On the Gunnebo stand, visitors can experience mobile enrolment for passenger boarding with a demonstration of a biometric-enabled boarding gate (AFL). They can experience the complete passenger One ID journey using facial biometrics – visitors can touch, feel and view the product from a user’s point of view. The Gunnebo airport security experts will be on hand to answer any questions and discuss all requirements.

International Air Transport Association (IATA)

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the trade association for the world’s airlines, representing over 290 airlines or 83% of total scheduled traffic. The association supports many areas of aviation activity and help formulate industry policy on critical aviation issues. IATA is led by Willie Walsh, Director General & CEO since March 2021.

iboardings

iboardings offers cutting-edge technology solutions that help travel industry stakeholders succeed. The company has designed the Cabin Baggage Checker to solve the carry-on baggage weight and size control nightmare and in doing so, improve airport operations, OTP and increase ancillary revenues. During the COVID-19 pandemic, iboardings enhanced the capabilities of its Cabin Baggage Checker, to feature UVC light to disinfect baggage whilst at the same time, take the temperature of the passenger.

Register to attend FTE Global 2022 today >>

IDEMIA

IDEMIA I&S is a leader in identity security and authentication services to governments and private companies, operating in North America. IDEMIA’s best-in-class technology delivers Identity with Integrity and helps authenticate and secure physical and digital transactions. IDEMIA is recognised by the National Institute of Standards (NIST) as a top-ranking participant in the Institute’s passenger facilitation simulation testing as well as in its regular Face Recognition Vendor Test (FRVT) rankings, reinforcing the trustworthiness and reliability of IDEMIA’s facial recognition solutions for government and consumers alike. FTE Global attendees can experience IDEMIA’s innovative solutions for a new world of frictionless travel. Additionally, IDEMIA SVP of Travel and Transport Lisa Sullivan will be speaking on advancing seamless and secure travel experiences.

JR Technologies

JR Technologies is committed to helping the airline industry evolve from the commoditised, ticket-based reality of today, to the customer-centric world of tomorrow. Its technology is flexible and the team’s expertise is vast enough to partner with your airline as you transition into this new world seamlessly. Whether you are looking to move immediately to NDC and ONE Order, or looking for a controlled transformation, the JR Technologies team is here to support you with the technology solutions, consulting services, and business advisory teams you require in order to achieve your airlines’ vision.

Kore.ai

Kore.ai is a global leader in enterprise conversational AI platform and solutions helping enterprises automate voice and digital interactions that deliver extraordinary experiences for their customers, contact centre agents and employees worldwide. More than 200 global 2000 companies trust Kore.ai’s experience optimisation (XO) platform and industry solutions to automate conversations and deliver extraordinary outcomes for over 200 million users worldwide. Kore.ai is recognised as an enterprise conversational AI platform market leader by top analysts. The company is headquartered in Florida USA with offices in India, the UK, Japan, South Korea, Europe, South America, and the Middle East. Visit kore.ai at FTE Global to learn more.

Living Map

Living Map is a UK based digital location, wayfinding and mapping business, providing digital products to address the challenges faced in the use and management of complex public spaces. Living Map’s products sit within clients’ touchpoints, be they digital kiosk, web, or native mobile app. They combine to address a number of key industry use cases. Built on the company’s unique hardware agnostic ‘blue-dot’ location software, mapping and wayfinding design heritage, these technologies are used by public bodies, enterprise clients and institutions globally across transport, healthcare and responsive spaces. Living Map’s partnership with Star Alliance has developed a set of tools uniquely suited to specific airport and airline use cases; answering operational challenges, improving on-time performance and driving ancillary revenue while also improving the passenger journey.

Register to attend FTE Global 2022 today >>

Lufthansa Systems

Lufthansa Systems is one of the world’s leading providers of IT services in the airline industry. It draws its unique strengths from an ability to combine profound industry know-how with technological expertise and many years of project experience. Formed as a spin-off of the Lufthansa Systems Group’s Airline Solutions division, the company continues the brand now familiar to the airline industry worldwide. The company offers its more than 350 customers an extensive range of successful and in many cases market-leading products for the aviation industry. The innovative IT products and services in its portfolio offer customers a wide range of economic benefits while also contributing to improving efficiency and competitiveness. In addition, as a tech company and airline consulting provider, Lufthansa Systems is committed to identifying its own environmental footprint and improving that of its airline customers.

Lufthansa Industry Solutions

Lufthansa Industry Solutions helps companies to digitise and automate their business processes – from medium-sized to Fortune 500 companies. In doing so, we do not just focus on the IT needed, but on our customer’s business as a whole, including its internal and external challenges. This is because digital transformation affects a company’s entire structure and culture, and reaches beyond company borders to collaboration with partners, customers and suppliers.

Luggage Logistics

First-time exhibitor at FTE Global, Luggage Logistics is a supplier of innovative baggage, passenger and ULD management IT solutions designed for airports, airlines and ground handling companies. It provides an extensive, cost-effective product suite to its customers with the mission to resolve their key operational challenges. Used in more than 200 airports – from major hubs to smaller regional airports – Luggage Logistics provides customers with complete end-to-end baggage and ULD reconciliation and management capabilities, including all key components of IATA Resolution 753. Visitors to their stand will be able to see first-hand how our innovative Baggage Management system can help solve their operational issues and meet their baggage management requirements.

Magnetic Ticket & Label

Magnetic Ticket & Label (MT&L) has been the leading provider of aviation travel documents and management solutions for over 30 years. MT&L is privately owned with manufacturing plants located in Dallas, Belleville and Nashville. MT&L is relationship-driven with a commitment to excellence. The company offers full service to its customers and works with many OEMs in its industry.

OpticWash

OpticWash is showcasing its automated kiosk dedicated to cleaning and sanitising eyewear. Offering the perfect solution to some of the world’s most commonly used (and germ-infested) items, OpticWash uses cutting-edge tech to deliver a fast, affordable, and convenient way to clean and remove bacteria build-up while leaving surfaces scratch free. OpticWash has solved a problem that no one has been able to solve until now – how to clean your glasses without scratching them or touching the lenses, and we do it without chemicals. So how does it work? RO (Reverse Osmosis) water is filtered to the point where it has no minerals or organics. It actually loses its PH balance and attacks and absorbs the dirt. Once the RO water touches the item, it changes the appearance almost immediately. The OpticWash kiosk uses ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) as a disinfection method that uses ultraviolet (UV) light at sufficiently short wavelength to kill microorganisms. It is effective in destroying the nucleic acids in these organisms so that their DNA is disrupted by the UV radiation, leaving them unable to perform vital cellular functions. Using the UVGI device in the filtration system creates a deadly effect on micro-organisms such as pathogens, viruses and moulds that are in these environments. Coupled with a comprehensive filtration system, the UVGI removes harmful micro-organisms providing the client with a 99.9% bacteria-free wash.

Register to attend FTE Global 2022 today >>

Paragon ID

Paragon ID is a global leader in identification solutions in four key areas – Smart Cities & Mass Transit, Payment, e-ID and Track & Trace which includes its airline solution of RFID & conventional baggage tags. The company’s Track and Trace expertise includes RFID retail labels alongside RFID baggage tags and a multi-technology fully integrated asset tracking and geolocation platform combining hardware and software to meet its client’s diverse requirements. Paragon ID has over 30 years’ experience in the aviation sector providing passenger handling, and operational products to airlines and other transportation companies as well as some innovative applications including a dedicated service for luggage trolley tracking. “Paragon ID exhibited at Future Travel Experience in 2019 and 2021 and we were really encouraged by the quality of attendees and the opportunities that followed,” the company says. “As a global supplier to the industry and with two manufacturing sites in the US, we feel that it is very important to participate to FTE22, to understand and discuss market trends, customers’ expectations and innovations. We are really looking forward to being able to, again this year, meet in person our clients, partners and other industry professionals to promote our brand and solutions and discuss the future of aviation post-pandemic.”

Plan3

Plan3 is a passenger-focussed disruption management system that puts unrivalled ease of recovery in the hands of disruption customer care teams. Simply put, Plan3 solves every aspect of passenger disruption, automatically sourcing holistic solutions with eyes on the entire passenger journey. Using Plan3’s Option Creator tool, airlines can easily bundle together and publish relevant options (e.g. new flight, hotel, transportation, digital meal vouchers), and passengers can self-serve their way to a seamless onward journey.

Quantum Aviation Solutions

Quantum’s sole focus is IT solutions for “below the wing”​ operations. Customers include airlines, airports, ground handlers and IT integrators. Headquartered in the U.S., Quantum has a U.K. office and operations across the globe. Quantum has been a pioneer in hosted applications for the airline industry. Meet the team at FTE Global to find out more.

Regula

Regula is a global developer of forensic devices and identity verification solutions. With our 30+ years of experience in forensic research and the largest library of document templates in the world, Regula creates breakthrough technologies in document and biometric verification. Its hardware and software solutions allow over 1,000 organisations and 80 border control authorities globally to provide top-level client service without compromising safety, security, or speed. Regula was named a Representative Vendor in the Gartner Market Guide for Identity Proofing and Affirmation in 2022. Visitors at Regula’s stand will have the opportunity to see the identity verification process with their own eyes. The company will showcase both its software and hardware performance, and namely the ability to thoroughly check any document in a matter of seconds; how its solutions help spot fraud and forged documents; how biometric identification allows to speed up flight check-in and boarding; how technologies help automate travel document compliance verification, and many more.

Richtech Robotics

Richtech Robotics is bringing its latest and greatest from its robotic solutions lineup to the FTE Global exhibition floor. The company is introducing ADAM, its bartender/barista/boba tea making robot that generates revenue and provides an exciting customer experience. Also on display will be Matradee and Richie robots, which primarily function as serving robots, but can also operate as mobile vending machines. The DUST-E robots will also be there to show their floor cleaning prowess.

Register to attend FTE Global 2022 today >>

Rohde & Schwarz

Recently, Rohde & Schwarz announced that its QPS 201 people scanning technology has achieved the TSA qualified products list (QPL) making it possible for air carriers and airports innovating their passenger experience to purchase and deploy the new screening solution. The QPS 201 is fast, accurate and makes air travel more accessible than legacy screening technology (this is the first new AIT system to make the TSA list in 10 years) with a friendlier screening pose (hands slightly apart from hips rather than over head); screening 5x the speed of the blink of an eye which reduces false alarms (and the invasive secondary pat downs) that are often the result of movement during screening. This is also gender-neutral screening, designed and engineered so that its algorithms don’t need gender information to accurately screen. Amid staffing shortages coupled with “revenge travel” leading to pre-pandemic travel volumes, technology that enables faster throughput (as many as 100 passengers per hour more than legacy technology) while making travel easier for passengers may be an important addition to any airports security lanes.

SITA

With around 2,500 customers, SITA’s solutions drive operational efficiencies at more than 1,000 airports while delivering the promise of the connected aircraft to customers of 18,000 aircraft globally. SITA also provides technology solutions that help more than 60 governments strike the balance of secure borders and seamless travel. SITA’s communications network connects every corner of the globe and bridges 60% of the air transport community’s data exchange. SITA is 100% owned by the industry and driven by its needs. It is one of the most internationally diverse companies, providing services in over 200 countries and territories. During the conference, SITA’s Head of Technology Strategy, Americas Sherry Stein will take part in the FTE Biometrics & Digital Identity Summit.

Sittig

Sittig is a German market leader for automatic announcement systems at airports. The software-based PAXGuide system automates general and boarding announcements in over 40 languages in high quality. This leads to a significant increase in process efficiency and customer experience. For targeted and intelligent automation of announcements, the PAXGuide system is connected to AODB/FIDS systems as well as camera and sensor systems that provide relevant live data. Airlines can use Sittig’s multi-airport solution to deploy automated announcements in a cost-effective and scalable manner at many different airports.

Sherpa

Founded in 2015, sherpa° is a leading global provider of travel requirements and intelligence for the travel industry. Using a modern tech stack and enterprise-grade security protocols, sherpa’s flexible solutions and exceptional customer support delivers a seamless and secure experience. The team is excited to return to FTE Global in Las Vegas and to share the story of why many of the world’s leading airlines, including American Airlines, Air Canada, British Airways, Air France-KLM, Turkish Airlines and Cathay Pacific have partnered with Sherpa to make border crossing more seamless and secure for their passengers.

Snowfall

Snowfall is a UK-based, Swedish-founded travel technology company which has delivered products, services and partnerships since 2003. Its next-generation platform empowers travel businesses to deliver value, efficiency and exceptional travel experiences. Snowfall unlocks the power of technology and delivers travel that is accessible, flexible and convenient. By incorporating all aspects of travel in a single, dynamic operating system, the company is transforming the travel industry and empowering travel suppliers to change the way consumers experience travel for good. Snowfall brings hands-on experience from leading roles with SAS, Emirates, Etihad, Sabre, and TUI, and is one of the few travel technology companies in the world to expand into all four verticals – air, rail, ferry and bus. Snowfall provides its partners with the opportunity to offer greater value and efficiency to their customers, realise the power and promise of smart movement, and deliver better travel for every person for every journey.

Register to attend FTE Global 2022 today >>

Softtek

Softtek helps the air travel industry by encouraging digital progression and by helping enterprises shift from a labour-intensive and reactive approach to an automated and virtual model that ensures stable and secure operations. The company specialises in delivering unique and tailored technology and consulting services.

Synaptic Aviation

Synaptic Aviation LLC provides unprecedented visibility into ground operations; avoid delays, lower injuries, minimise damages, and operate at your best. With the help of artificial intelligence, you gain control of turnaround activities to prevent avoidable service failures and become predictive over time. Synaptic Aviation’s AI system automatically captures turnaround activities starting when the aircraft approaches a stand. It converts video images into data that is actionable in real time to keep your operations running according to plan. Moreover, the technology enhances collaboration, increases safety, lowers costs and reduces CO2 emissions. 

TeamVan Outsourcing

TeamVan is a global provider of expertly Managed Contact Centre Operations and Client Services, including outsourcing, staffing, logistics and operational design. The company has more than 60 years of combined experience in the operations management industry. Visit their stand at FTE Global to find out more.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA)’s mission is to protect the US transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce. Its vision is to be an agile security agency, embodied by a professional workforce, that engages its partners and the American people to outmatch a dynamic threat. At FTE Global, the TSA Innovation Task Force will lead guided tours and deliver a briefing to showcase the latest iteration of the future checkpoint site running at Harry Reid International Airport, which is trialling new technology and new approaches to gather data and feedback on whether the technology is something TSA wants to use at airports nationwide. It will also share its future plans around the evolution of security processes.

TRG Solutions

TRG is a global solutions provider focused on enterprise mobility, point of sale and payments. With facilities across the United States, Canada and Europe, the company provides the most comprehensive suite of lifecycle management services – from warehouse to boardroom and deployment to retirement. TRG’s mission is to make technology simple, helping customers accelerate projects, drive application success, improve employee & customer experience and maximise ROI.

VidTronix

In addition to being one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of boarding pass and baggage tag printers for the aviation and travel industry, VidTroniX offers a full line of check-in and security related products. Since 1999, VidTroniX has installed over 85,000 ATP and MAP printers and recently expanded its global presence in the marketplace with major installations in the Middle East, portable check in stations, incorporation of its printers into large scale kiosk projects and RFID baggage tag printers. The new VidTroniX ATP6 printer offers both wireless and Bluetooth connectivity along with 10ips print speeds. The embedded Linux operating system facilitates ATP6 remote management and integration into a user’s custom application.

Register to attend FTE Global 2022 today >>

Veovo

Veovo is showcasing its AI-powered platform, which connects people, systems and sensors across the ecosystem to provide instant situational awareness. With smart automation and intelligent recommendations, the solution perfects the way forward, delivering brilliant outcomes in every situation. Veovo is headquartered in London, UK with its 110 airport customers supported by teams in the US, New Zealand, Poland and Denmark. Join Veovo at FTE 2022 and experience how holistic, smarter decision-making can transform airport performance, travel experiences and financial outcomes. Plus, the company will announce a major deal with an airport operator at the show.

Veridos

Veridos is a global provider of integrated identity solutions. Governments and public authorities in more than 100 countries trust the company’s uniquely comprehensive product portfolio. The company creates end-to-end solutions and services perfectly tailored to meet every government identity need. These range from paper to security printing, electrical chip components, enrolment, identity management systems, personalisation and issuance, mobile ID solutions, and border control solutions including eGates. Governments can acquire best-in-class passports, ID cards, driver’s licenses, and more, or even the facilities to manufacture their own.

Whill

WHILL connects the world with short-distance mobility products and services. Along with designing and selling short-distance mobility vehicles, WHILL provides Mobility-as-a-Service solutions, offering autonomous and manual transportation services that make public spaces more accessible. WHILL now offers products and services in over 20 countries and regions globally.

Willow

Willow is the digital twin for the built world. Through its software platform WillowTwin, Willow creates a digital replica of a built asset that collects and aggregates data into a “twin”. Through this approach, Willow enables the owners and operators of major portfolios and infrastructure to make smarter, more proactive, and data-led decisions.

Register to attend FTE Global 2022 today >>

STARTUP ZONE 

Airware Solutions

Airware is disrupting the contactless self-service airport market. The company provides simple software components for airline mobile apps that enable passengers to use its low-cost airport devices to weigh, tag, drop bags and board for a fully contactless airport journey. Passengers can pay for ancillary services directly on their phone and airline agents can focus their attention of serving passengers through agent apps on a tablet or phone. New airport services can be created and delivered across an airlines network quickly and at substantially lower cost than present passenger processing technologies permit. After launching in the European market, Airware is now entering the American market. “We are excited to introduce our innovative concept and engage with industry stakeholders on the vast benefits for both airports and airlines. Our team will be at FTE Global to demonstrate the capabilities of this revolutionary solution, showcasing Airware-enabled bag tag and boarding and look forward to discussing opportunities,” the company says.

Ariadne Maps

Ariadne is the operating system of airports that provides advanced, real-time passenger analytics enabled with award winning accuracy and certified privacy compliance. Ariadne’s low-cost, plug-and-play solution allows airport decision makers to anonymously track the passenger journey, making process simpler, more data-driven, better targeted and with higher ROI. The company states that it has helped clients cut their costs by $7 million per year and increase their sales in the duty-free areas beyond expectations. Visit Ariadne’s booth at FTE Global to find out how it has helped customers achieve this.

Register to attend FTE Global 2022 today >>

Avvinue

More than 37% of families travel with their pets which has increased 19% over the last decade, and the airline industry has not adapted to this change. Avvinue has launched the Pet Reservation System (PRS) for airlines to generate ancillary revenue and streamline the entire pet transportation process. The PRS system offers dynamic pet pricing RBDs, inventory management and a central warehouse for pet policies. Meet the Avvinue team at FTE Global to learn more about their Pet Reservation System (PRS) and how your airline can reduce expenses and increase revenue by over $1 million this year.

Exhibition Wrap-Up session highlights

Avvinue will be hosting a pet-friendly travel giveaway at its booth with games and activities. Stop by their booth during the Exhibition Wrap-up session on 8 September between 17:30-18:30 to enter the competition!

DutyFreak – Airport TR-Marketplace

DutyFreak helps airport retail stores get more travellers through the digital reach through the power of the DutyFreak App. Travellers can discover all available products to buy even before departure. The DutyFreak Marketplace App is designed to: increase visibility and reach of the store and products; help travellers experience and discover all shops; generate revenue increase through pre-order in addition to impulse purchases offline only. Meet the team at FTE Global to find out more about how the DutyFreak app can help and increase your travel retail business.

Falco Systems

Falco Systems is a technology systems company dedicated to increasing security and improving business processes through the use of biometrics and facial recognition. The company has developed biometric boarding technology by using facial recognition to confirm passenger identity at the boarding gate. It can replace the traditional manual check of the passport and scanning the boarding pass. Its system is designed to integrate with U.S. Custom & Border Protection’s Traveler Verification Services (TVS).

Register to attend FTE Global 2022 today >>

femPAQ

femPAQ provides accessible menstrual hygiene care in every space that women and all menstruating people exist. The company helps businesses to improve productivity, boost company morale but most of all it help them to create a more inclusive environment for their menstruating customers and employees. femPAQ  is coming to FTE Global to showcase its hand-held convenience kits and to support airlines and airports in creating a more inclusive environment for their largest customer segment.

Exhibition Wrap-Up session highlights

Visit femPAQ’s booth during the FTE Global Exhibition Wrap-up session on 8 September between 17:30-18:30 to experience a demo of what menstrual cramps feel like from a male perspective. The company will also demonstrate its digital dispenser for airports.

IDENTY

IDENTY delivers multi-factor authentication based on high performance touchless biometrics, right from most mobile phones with standard cameras. It does it so that liveness is ensured all around the remote authentication journey, while making usability a differentiation.

Make Some Noise

Make Some Noise brings together entertainment and wellness through unique experiences – with the mission to reduce stress and anxiety for travellers. Following the successful launch of the entertainment concept, the HUM, at SXSW in March 2022, Make Some Noise is now bringing this unique experience right to FTE Global attendees’ fingertips.

Exhibition Wrap-Up session highlights

Visit Make Some Noise’s booth during the FTE Global Exhibition Wrap-up session on 8 September between 17:30-18:30 and enter their exciting raffle. The company will select eight winners to try this one-of-a-kind sound experience.

Oreyeon

Oreyeon has developed a modern, low-impact, cost-effective approach to building data-driven and automated awareness of the airfield’s condition. Its primary goal is re-imagining airport security by implementing proactive safety features, eliminating human error, and reducing costs through the use of Artificial Intelligence.

Register to attend FTE Global 2022 today >>

SeatCash

SeatCash is an innovative travel lifestyle technology company, delivering an improved travel purchase and management experience to consumers and travel suppliers. Bringing 100+ years of combined travel industry experience, the SeatCash team is using technology to disrupt the frustrations of today’s travel environment utilising the latest in predictive sciences, AutoML, and FinTech innovation.

Shabstec

Shabstec specialises in providing products and services to the aviation baggage community. The company’s solutions process baggage from passenger pick up, check-in to aircraft hold. On display at FTE Global 2022 will be Shabstec’s low cost TagForLife innovation is aimed to help reduce the use of baggage tags and provide a simplified passenger travel experience.

UCPlaces

UCPlaces is a mobile web platform that allows any user to create and sell guided tours on one hand and provides a mobile app that turns your phone into your private tour guide on the other. With UCPlaces, travel companies can provide customised and personalised GPS-guided tours that start directly from the customer’s hotel door or vacation destination. UCPlaces GPS-guided tours provide your customers with hyper-local tips, interesting historical stories, little known facts, and unforgettable memories, all with the easy-to-use UCPlaces app.

ZestIOT

ZestIoT focuses on IoT, Camera AI-based end-to-end solutions for multiple industries like aviation (airports, airlines, ground handler, fuellers, caterer), oil & gas, steel industry, and ports sectors. ZestIoT has delivered end-to-end automation solutions for airports, airlines & Ground handlers to enable real-time tracking of aircraft, vehicles (ground assets), dollies & containers carrying cargo enabling end to the visibility of flight turnaround operations. As a result, aviation customers have observed significant improvement in operational efficiencies, improvement in productivity like additional flights per parking stand & operational cost savings in day-to-day operations.

Register to attend FTE Global 2022 today >>

Article originally published here:
FTE Global 2022 Exhibitor & Sponsor Preview Part 2 – digital twin, artificial intelligence, robotics, IoT and automation solutions

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International

Weekly Digest – December 16, 2022

Friday, December 16, 2022Volume 3, Issue 59 Quote of the Week “Remember that you must behave as at a banquet. Is anything brought round to you? Put…

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Friday, December 16, 2022
Volume 3, Issue 59


Quote of the Week

“Remember that you must behave as at a banquet. Is anything brought round to you? Put out your hand and take a moderate share. Does it pass by you? Do not stop it. Is it not yet come? Do not yearn in desire toward it, but wait till it reaches you. So with regard to children, wife, office, riches; and you will some time or other be worthy to feast with the gods. And if you do not so much as take the things which are set before you, but are able even to forego them, then you will not only be worthy to feast with the gods, but to rule with them also. For, by thus doing, Diogenes and Heraclitus, and others like them, deservedly became divine, and were so recognized.”

— Epictetus, The Enchiridion, 15


Fortune Cookies

Fortune cookies are entertaining because they come with a vague statement that can often be interpreted positively. But they are usually not to be taken seriously. This is why I find myself annoyed when I read “fortune cookies” on Twitter that provide vapid advice claiming to make inherently difficult things easy to accomplish. 

Since we are approaching the end of the year when many people start thinking about New Year’s resolutions, I thought that I would provide eight (hopefully) higher quality “fortune cookies” of my own that took many years to figure out. 

  • Almost nothing worthwhile can be achieved without considerable effort. If you want something, be prepared to work very hard to get it.
  • If you hate your job, find a different one or switch to a different career. If you are still young, “retirement” is almost certainly a mistake. Find something that you are good at and enjoy doing and then commit to it wholeheartedly. 
  • Commit to reading 25 pages per day. That is over 9,000 pages per year and will put you at the very top in terms of attainment of wisdom, provided that you read with purpose. While difficult at first, it will get easier in time. Eventually, it will be very difficult to not read on a daily basis. Such days will feel incomplete.
  • Start a journal. Writing for fifteen minutes every morning can make a big difference in setting the tone for the day and keeping your goals on track.
  • Avoid hatred at all costsHatred leads to disaster and harms the person doing the hating more than the target of hatred. Instead of falling into hatred, disassociate from toxic people, especially in cases of lies and deception.
  • Be kind to others, especially those who through no fault of their own have been dealt a bad hand. But never allow someone to take advantage of your kindness. Provide a helping hand, not a handout, and never facilitate dysfunctional behavior. Cut people out of your life who are only interested in money.
  • Avoid envy. The people you see on social media who appear to have “perfect lives” almost certainly do not. Many are secretly miserable and hide behind beautiful fictions posted on social media to fool themselves as well as others.
  • Do not confuse frugality with cheapness. Default to generosity when it makes sense. Being cheap when it comes to health and well-being is stupid, and the same is true for intellectual pursuits. Books distill thousands of hours of the author’s time for the cost of a restaurant meal or less. Never budget for books.

These might be “fortune cookies”, but they could actually make a positive impact even though none are necessarily easy to implement. I can say that all of these concepts have helped me despite taking years or, in some cases decades, to really figure out.


Articles

Consoles and Competition by Ben Thompson, December 12, 2022. This article provides over forty years of history of the video game industry before analyzing the FTC’s attempt to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision. As someone who is not familiar with the intricacies of this case, I found the lengthy discussion of the industry’s history very valuable since it provides necessary context. “For the record, I do believe this acquisition demands careful overview, and it’s completely appropriate to insist that Microsoft continue to deliver Activision titles to other platforms, even if it wouldn’t make economic sense to do anything but. It’s increasingly difficult, though, to grasp any sort of coherent theory to the FTC’s antitrust decisions beyond ‘big tech bad’.” (Stratechery)

Sea Change by Howard Marks, December 13, 2022. In this memo, Howard Marks points out that forty years of declining interest rates represented a major tailwind for investors. He likens falling interest rates to a moving walkway in an airport. Just as moving walkways make life easier for weary travelers, falling interest rates act as an assist for investors. However, this secular decline in interest rates appears to be at an end which represents a sea change in the investment landscape. Investors need to be aware that the strategies that worked well over the past forty years may not lead to outperformance in the future. (Oaktree Capital)

The California Effect by Mr. Money Mustache, December 10, 2022. The cost of living is famously high in the San Francisco Bay Area where Mr. Money Mustache recently spent a few days observing the attitudes of people with very different approaches to spending money. The reality is that even in the most expensive regions, spending excessively is always a choice, not an inevitable mandate. “San Francisco professionals live in a place where 25-year-old tech workers enjoy $200,000 starting salaries, yet still have credit card debt and car loans, and they think that is normal.” (Mr. Money Mustache)

The College Essay Is Dead by Stephen Marche, December 6, 2022. Will artificial intelligence kill the college essay? Anyone who has played with ChatGPT, a new AI tool that recently opened to the public, might be asking the question which this article explores. I admit to being a little baffled about the handwringing. After all, when I was in college three decades ago, we took exams using technology no more advanced than blue books and a pen or pencil. AI might help students cheat on work done outside the classroom, but you cannot fake your way through an exam where there is no technology other than paper and a writing implement. (The Atlantic)

Ideas That Changed My Life by Morgan Housel, December 7, 2022. Among other topics, Morgan Housel makes an excellent case for reading. Otherwise, your personal experiences will excessively influence your perception of how the world works. “Your personal experiences make up maybe 0.00000001% of what’s happened in the world but maybe 80% of how you think the world works. People believe what they’ve seen happen exponentially more than what they read about has happened to other people, if they read about other people at all. We’re all biased to our own personal history.” (Collaborative Fund)

Thankfully, Life Is Full of Problems by Lawrence Yeo, December 7, 2022. I was reminded of Viktor Frankl when I read this article. Frankl held that people gain a sense of purpose not through a tensionless state but by struggling and striving toward a personally meaningful goal. Lawrence Yeo makes a similar case. What we must do is to “upgrade” from dealing with meaningless problems to a focus on addressing “heavyweight” problems. (More to That)

The Gift of Time by Nick Maggiulli, December 13, 2022. Almost everyone thinks about money in terms of goods or services it can buy. But money is really the gift of time: “Because everything I write isn’t really about money, it’s about time. Time with your loved ones. Time to enjoy yourself. Time to live the life you want. In the end, all of your money will be converted back to time anyways. If not now, then later. And if not by you, then by someone else. Possibly after you’re gone.” (Of Dollars and Data)

Be Wary of Imitating High-Status People Who Can Afford to Countersignal by Rob Henderson, December 11, 2022. This article argues that we should avoid emulating people who have achieved status far above ours, and instead look to those who are just somewhat ahead of us. People with very high status can afford to exhibit unusual behavior. For example, a famous author doesn’t need to use Twitter personally to surface his writing because his fans will do this for him. That’s not the case for most authors seeking wider distribution of their work. (Rob Henderson’s Newsletter)

How Neuroscience Confirms the Most Ancient Myths About Music by Ted Gioia, December 12, 2022. Music has a tremendous capacity to influence our lives as listeners, often putting us into flow states conducive to productivity. For example, I often listen to The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s performance at Carnegie Hall in 1963 when I want to get serious work done. For musicians, performing can induce an even deeper flow state, as Ted Gioia describes: “In the midst of an intense performance, the music seemed to be playing itself.” This article on music and neuroscience is part of a book being published in installments on Substack. (The Honest Broker)


Podcasts

Tom Gayner Discusses the Evolution of Markel, December 14, 2022. 56 minutes. This is a wide-ranging interview covering topics including Berkshire Hathaway’s recent investment in Markel, the growth of Markel Ventures in the context of the company’s overall capital allocation strategy, the use of leverage, and how investing during the pandemic was more challenging than the financial crisis. (Boyar Value Group)

The Essays of Warren Buffett, January 20, 2022. 1 hour, 58 minutes. According to Lawrence Cunningham’s newsletter, which you can sign up for here, the sixth edition of his compilation of Warren Buffett’s shareholder letters will be released early next year. I have the first and second editions and highly recommend the book. While all of the letters are available on Berkshire’s website, the compilation is organized by topic and adds significant value. In this podcast, David Senra provides his enthusiastic commentary about what he took away from this book. (Founder’s Podcast)

Master of Precision: Henry Leland Founder of Cadillac, May 31, 2020. 1 hour, 10 minutes. I think Steve Jobs and Henry Leland had much in common in terms of insisting on high quality and viewing their role as craftsmen, paying obsessive attention to details. “There always was and there always will be conflict between Good and Good Enough. In opening up a new business one can count on meeting resistance to a high standard of workmanship. It is easy to get cooperation for mediocre work, but one must sweat blood for a chance to produce a superior product. —Henry Leland” (Founders Podcast)

DoorDash: Looking for Profitable Routes, December 14, 2022. “DoorDash was founded in 2013 by four Stanford students, who saw an opportunity to make it easier for people to get the food they love delivered to them. Today, DoorDash’s three-sided marketplace serves as one of the largest local delivery companies in the world, serving millions of customers and partnering with hundreds of thousands of restaurants across 27 countries, run rating at over $50 billion of gross merchandise value.” (Business Breakdowns)


Twitter Threads

This is a brief thread on the importance of reading. It is based on The Use of Letters, a journal entry I wrote early last year. Why would anyone voluntarily limit their understanding of the world to just their own direct experiences?

Checking quotes frequently is counterproductive. There is too much noise in quotes when checked on a daily basis and doing so is likely to make most investors miserable.

The origin story of the Eiffel Tower:


A Shepherd and His Flock in Winter

From Wikipedia:

Frederick Ferdinand Schafer (August 16, 1839 – July 18, 1927) was a German-born American painter. He was born in Braunschweig, Germany and he emigrated to the United States in 1876, at age 37. 

Schafer’s paintings, which mostly depict landscape scenes in California and other western states, are dated between 1873 and 1911. There are many scenes of Yosemite National Park included in a catalog of his paintings. As the weather turns colder, I thought that this scene of an unknown location captures the season quite well.

A Shepherd and His Flock in Winter, Frederick Ferdinand Schafer (public domain)

Here is a description of this painting by Jerome H. Saltzer, Professor of Computer Science Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:

“This painting might be described as luminist in style. Paintings such as this one may be the basis for the suggestion that Schafer’s later work was lighter, but the shortage of dated paintings makes it difficult to confirm that suggestion.”


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Government

FDA advisory committee votes unanimously in favor of a one-shot COVID-19 vaccine approach – 5 questions answered

Many questions remain about next steps for US vaccine policy. But the FDA advisory panel’s hearty endorsement of a single-composition COVID-19 vaccine…

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The FDA advisory committee discussed vaccine safety, effectiveness of the current shots, potential seasonality of COVID-19 and more. wildpixel/iStock via Getty Images Plus

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s key science advisory panel, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, met on Jan. 26, 2023, to chart a path forward for COVID-19 vaccine policy. During the all-day meeting, the 21-member committee discussed an array of weighty issues including the efficacy of existing vaccines, the composition of future vaccine strains and the need to match them to the circulating variants of SARS-CoV-2, the possibility of moving to an annual-shot model, the potential seasonality of the virus and much more.

But the key question at hand, and the only formal question that was voted on, following a proposal from the FDA earlier in the week, had to do with how to simplify the path to getting people vaccinated.

The Conversation asked immunologist Matthew Woodruff, who has been on the front lines of studying immune responses to COVID-19 since the early days of the pandemic, to walk us through the big questions of the day and what they mean for future COVID-19 vaccine strategies.

What exactly did the advisory committee vote on?

The question put before the committee for a vote was whether to move to one COVID-19 vaccine consisting of a single composition for all people – whether currently vaccinated or not – and away from the current model that includes one formulation given as a primary series and a separate formulation administered as a booster. Importantly, approved formulations could come from any number of vaccine manufacturers, not just those that have currently authorized vaccines.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently requires that the primary series of shots, or the first two doses of the vaccine that a patient receives, consist of the first generation of vaccine against the original strain of SARS-CoV-2, known as the “Wuhan” strain of the virus. These shots are given weeks apart, followed months later by a booster shot that was updated in August 2022 to contain a bivalent formulation of vaccine that targets both the original viral strain and newer subvariants of omicron.

The committee’s endorsement simplifies those recommendations. In a 21-to-0 vote, the advisory board recommended fully replacing, or “harmonizing,” the original formulation of the vaccine with a single shot that would consist of – at least for now – the current bivalent vaccine.

In doing so, it has signaled its belief that these new second-generation vaccines are an upgrade over their predecessors in protecting from infection and severe illness at this point in the pandemic.

If the FDA panel’s recommendation is endorsed by the CDC, only a single composition of vaccine – in this case, the updated bivalent shot – will be used for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Will the single shot remain a mixed-strain, or bivalent, vaccine?

For now, the single shot will be bivalent. But this may not always be the case.

There was a general agreement that the current bivalent shot is preferable to the original vaccine targeted at the Wuhan strain of the virus by itself. But committee members debated whether that original Wuhan vaccine strain should continue to be a part of updated vaccine formulations.

There is no current data comparing a monovalent, or single-strain, vaccine that targets omicron and its subvariants against the current bivalent shot. As a result, it’s unclear how a monovalent shot against recent omicron subvariants would perform in comparison to the bivalent version.

What is immune imprinting, and how does it apply here?

A main reason for the debate over monovalent versus bivalent – or, for that matter, trivalent or tetravalent – vaccines is a lack of understanding around how best to sharpen an immune response to a slightly altered threat. This has long been a debate surrounding annual influenza vaccination strategies, where studies have shown that the immune “memory” that forms in response to a prior vaccine can actively repress a robust immune response to the next.

This phenomenon of immune imprinting, originally coined in 1960 as “original antigenic sin,” has been a topic of debate both within the advisory committee and within the broader immunological community.

Although innovative strategies are being developed to overcome potential problems with routinely updated vaccines, they are not yet ready to be tested in humans. In the meantime, it is unclear how bivalent versus monovalent vaccine choices might alter this phenomenon, and it is very clear that more study is needed.

Is the committee considering only mRNA vaccines?

While a significant portion of the discussion focused on the mRNA vaccine platform used by both Pfizer and Moderna, several committee members emphasized the need for new technologies that could provide broader immunological protection. Dr. Pamela McInnes, a now-retired longtime deputy director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, highlighted this point, saying, “I would make a plea for ongoing research on broader protection, maybe different platforms, maybe a different approach.”

A good deal of attention was also directed toward Novavax, a protein-based formulation that relies on a more traditional approach to vaccination than the mRNA-based vaccines. Although the Novavax vaccine has been authorized by the FDA for use since July 2022, it has received much less national attention – largely because of its latecomer status. Nonetheless, Novavax has boasted efficacy rates on par with its mRNA cousins, with good safety profiles and less demanding long-term storage requirements than the mRNA shots.

By simplifying the vaccine schedule to include only a single vaccine formulation, the committee reasoned, it might be easier for competing vaccination platforms to break into the market. In other words, newer vaccine contenders would not have to rely on patients’ having already received their primary series before using their products. Companies seemed ready to take advantage of that future flexibility, with researchers from Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax all revealing their companies’ exploration of a hybrid COVID-19 and flu shot at various stages of clinical trials and testing.

Would the single shot resemble flu vaccine development?

Not necessarily. Currently, the influenza vaccine is decided by committee through the World Health Organization. Because of its seasonal nature, the strains to be included in each season’s flu vaccine strain for the Southern and Northern hemispheres, with their opposing winters, are selected independently. The Northern Hemisphere’s selection is made in February for the following winter based on a vast network of flu monitoring stations around the globe.

Although there was broad consensus among panelists that the shots against SARS-CoV-2 should be updated regularly to more closely match the most current circulating viral strain, there was less agreement on how frequent that would be.

For instance, rapidly mutating strains of the virus in both summer and winter surges might necessitate two updated shots a year instead of just one. As Dr. Eric Rubin, an infectious disease expert from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, noted, “It’s hard to say that it’s going to be annual at this point.”

Matthew Woodruff receives funding from the National Institute of Health and the US Department of Defense to support his academic research.

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International

Measles virus ‘cooperates’ with itself to cause fatal encephalitis

Fukuoka, Japan—Researchers in Japan have uncovered the mechanism for how the measles virus can cause subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, or SSPE, a…

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Fukuoka, Japan—Researchers in Japan have uncovered the mechanism for how the measles virus can cause subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, or SSPE, a rare but fatal neurological disorder that can occur several years after a measles infection.

Credit: Kyushu University/Hidetaka Harada/Yuta Shirogane

Fukuoka, Japan—Researchers in Japan have uncovered the mechanism for how the measles virus can cause subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, or SSPE, a rare but fatal neurological disorder that can occur several years after a measles infection.

Although the normal form of the measles virus cannot infect the nervous system, the team found that viruses that persist in the body can develop mutations in a key protein that controls how they infect cells. The mutated proteins can interact with its normal form, making it capable of infecting the brain. Their findings were reported in the journal Science Advances.

If you are of a certain age, you may have gotten the measles as a child. Many born after the 1970s have never gotten it thanks to vaccines. The condition is caused by the virus of the same name, which is one of the most contagious pathogens to this day. The World Health Organization estimates that nearly nine million people worldwide were infected with measles in 2021, with the number of deaths reaching 128,000.

“Despite its availability, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has set back vaccinations, especially in the Global South,” explains Yuta Shirogane, Assistant Professor at Kyushu University’s Faculty of Medical Sciences. “SSPE is a rare but fatal condition caused by the measles virus. However, the normal measles virus does not have the ability to propagate in the brain, and thus it is unclear how it causes encephalitis.”

A virus infects cells through a series of proteins that protrude from its surface. Usually, one protein will first facilitate the virus to attach to a cell’s surface, then another surface protein will cause a reaction that lets the virus into the cell, leading to an infection. Therefore, what a virus can or cannot infect can depend heavily on the type of cell.

“Usually, the measles virus only infects your immune and epithelial cells, causing the fever and rash,” continues Shirogane. “Therefore, in patients with SSPE, the measles virus must have remained in their body and mutated, then gained the ability to infect nerve cells. RNA viruses like measles mutate and evolve at very high rates, but the mechanism of how it evolved to infect neurons has been a mystery.”

The key player in allowing the measles virus to infect a cell is a protein called fusion protein, or F protein. In the team’s previous studies, they showed that certain mutations in the F protein puts it in a ‘hyperfusongenic’ state, allowing it to fuse onto neural synapses and infect the brain.

In their latest study, the team analyzed the genome of the measles virus from SSPE patients and found that various mutations had accumulated in their F protein. Interestingly, certain mutations would increase infection activity while others actually decreased it.

“This was surprising to see, but we found an explanation. When the virus infects a neuron, it infects it through ‘en bloc transmission,’ where multiple copies of the viral genome enter the cell,” continues Shirogane. “In this case, the genome encoding the mutant F protein is transmitted simultaneously with the genome of the normal F protein, and both proteins are likely to coexist in the infected cell.”

Based on this hypothesis, the team analyzed the fusion activity of mutant F proteins when normal F proteins were present. Their results showed that fusion activity of a mutant F protein is suppressed due to interference from the normal F proteins, but that interference is overcome by the accumulation of mutations in the F protein.

In another case, the team found that a different set of mutations in the F protein results in a completely opposite result: a reduction in fusion activity. However, to their surprise, this mutation can actually cooperate with normal F proteins to increase fusion activity. Thus, even mutant F proteins that appear to be unable to infect neurons can still infect the brain.

“It is almost counter to the ‘survival of the fittest’ model for viral propagation. In fact, this phenomenon where mutations interfere and/or cooperate with each other is called ‘Sociovirology.’ It’s still a new concept, but viruses have been observed to interact with each other like a group. It’s an exciting prospect” explains Shirogane.

The team hopes that their results will help develop therapeutics for SSPE, as well as elucidate the evolutionary mechanisms common to viruses that have similar infection mechanisms to measles such as novel coronaviruses and herpesviruses.

“There are many mysteries in the mechanisms by which viruses cause diseases. Since I was a medical student, I was interested in how the measles virus caused SSPE. I am happy that we were able to elucidate the mechanism of this disease,” concludes Shirogane.

###

For more information about this research, see “Collective fusion activity determines neurotropism of an en bloc transmitted enveloped virus” Yuta Shirogane, Hidetaka Harada, Yuichi Hirai, Ryuichi Takemoto, Tateki Suzuki, Takao Hashiguchi, Yusuke Yanagi, https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.adf3731

About Kyushu University
Kyushu University is one of Japan’s leading research-oriented institutes of higher education since its founding in 1911. Home to around 19,000 students and 8,000 faculty and staff, Kyushu U’s world-class research centers cover a wide range of study areas and research fields, from the humanities and arts to engineering and medical sciences. Its multiple campuses—including the largest in Japan—are located around Fukuoka City, a coastal metropolis on the southwestern Japanese island of Kyushu that is frequently ranked among the world’s most livable cities and historically known as a gateway to Asia.


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