Summer ‘22 has been quite chaotic for the aviation industry. An increasing shortage of staff, the impact of the pandemic, combined with in-demand travel for the summer, has led to a string of challenges, including hour-long queues for security checks and check-ins, parking difficulties, and delayed or outright cancelled flights. Industry experts predict the crisis will likely only get worse. Can Fyma turn the situation around?
Fyma is a computer vision SaaS company that collects and analyses data from video footage to understand and contextualise the activity and behaviour of people and objects in any environment. “Fyma can be virtually connected to any IP camera setup to create immediate or historic AI-powered analytics,” Brandon Undrus, Fyma’s sales manager, says. Since the platform upgrades and enables the existing camera infrastructure for the required purpose without installing any new hardware, there is barely any overhead cost in this regard.
“We started working on Fyma around two years ago when an urban development project had the requirement to use an existing street camera to monitor traffic counts as opposed to sensors. Fyma was able to provide the data more accurately, provide a wider variety of it and do it 4x cheaper per junction. That’s when we realised the potential of unused cameras everywhere,” Karen Burns, Fyma’s CEO, and co-founder told AI Magazine, recounting how the startup came into existence.
Thanks to Fyma, its numerous clients, including Viru Centre (a big shopping centre) and Ülemiste City (a business district with a smart city setup), now have access to previously obscure data points and can make customised and smarter business decisions.
Real-time airport situation updates
For the past two months, massive queues have been reported at airports all across Europe. But actually, the problem had been brewing since the beginning of the year. Aside from the huge inconvenience this is to travellers, it also spells a much more devastating financial impact on airports and airlines, most of which are already reeling under the effects of the pandemic. This is one of the areas where Fyma comes in – with real-time insights.
By integrating Fyma with their systems, the platform becomes accessible to airports and passengers. Brandon explains that Fyma has an API for streaming analytics to the airports’ websites and apps in real-time. By analysing data from live video footage at airports, Fyma can inform travellers of the average wait time at the check-in and security points and advise them on the general situation at the airport. This would enable them to plan and time their arrival accordingly, avoiding long queues, flight delays, and missed flights. At the same time, with the passenger flow spread out better, the airport staff would be able to perform their duties more efficiently without being overworked, as is currently the case.
Aside from that, with the availability of historical data and an understanding of clear patterns at airports, staffing can be done more effectively. “Also, traffic, passenger flows, and rush hours can be accurately predicted, and services can be better planned according to actionable empirical data,” Brandon adds.
Live insights on parking availability
Searching for a parking space can be a massive headache, and that’s not just about the inconvenience. It costs so much time and money. A 2017 report by transportation analytics company INRIX revealed that the average time spent looking for parking space in the United States was 17 hours, and the average cost per driver was $345. The scary part is that it gets messier when you factor in airports. This summer, just as travellers reported long check-in queues, they also lamented parking space shortages and parking difficulties. Again, Fyma offers a solution.
Rather than passengers driving around massive car parks trying to scan for a parking space with the agitation of running late for check-in, Fyma maps the geo-location of entry points and parking areas, and provides a real-time space availability overview of the parking lots and points out the drivers towards the unoccupied spots. And this solution is not limited to parking lots. The system can provide similar insights on occupancy in shops, restaurants, and other spaces within and around the airport. Already, the platform covers Ülemiste City’s nearly 2000 parking spaces adjacent to Tallinn Airport.
Fyma and ethical AI
As the fear of societal surveillance grows and the controversy over data privacy heightens, Fyma is one of the few companies that has taken a concrete stand on the matter. “Fyma has been built in a fully GDPR compliant way from the ground up, and our AI has never seen – and never will see – a human face,” Karen told AI Magazine. Karen herself is an ethical AI evangelist.
While many argue that AI can never be ethical, organisations can choose what and how to use their systems ethically. “Ethical AI for us is making sure that the AI can only be used for the benefit of humanity and not the other way around,” says Brandon, explaining what ethical AI is about for Fyma. “This means securing the data that gets fed into our algorithms and ensuring that algorithms are balanced and consider every data point available. For us, it’s things like not showing any faces to our AI or profiling individuals,” he adds.
Since being founded in 2019, Fyma has witnessed consistent growth and is currently implementing new projects in the Baltics, Finland, and the UK. Also, the startup will finalise its subsequent funding round by the end of the summer.
Co-author and postgraduate student