Aviation security industry leader Mark Laustra is chair, Security Manufacturers Coalition. Mark recently joined Analogic as Vice President, Global Business Development and Government Programs. We sat down with him to get his perspective on where airport security is going.
You’re chair of the Security Manufacturer’s Coalition. For those not familiar with the SMC, what is it? What issues are you working on?
The SMC represents technology companies working to bring innovation to aviation security. We provide a unified voice on issues that affect the adoption of better security technologies. In a short period of time we’ve had a positive impact by advocating for common sense reforms such as a more transparent strategic planning and acquisition process by US TSA.
You joke that you have been in the industry so long you sold the first security system to the Wright Brothers! But seriously, you have a unique perspective. When you talk to airlines and airports, what are their top concerns?
Simple. The need to improve security AND make screening – especially at the checkpoint – more passenger and airport friendly. Everyone agrees security has to be the number one priority. But if we don’t reduce the lines at airports, if we hurt our aviation industry, if we undermine public support for the TSA and security screening, that’s also a victory for the bad guys. The good news is that there are solutions—better technology, better training, better processes—that can help improve things dramatically.
Let’s talk about technology. You recently joined Analogic Corporation, which is a leader in using computed tomography (CT) technology for aviation security. What are your impressions? Where do see the company going in the next twelve months?
I knew Analogic because they have been providing CT solutions for hold baggage screening to top airports globally. But now that I am on the inside, I have been really impressed by their engineering expertise and commitment to quality. But the biggest positive is the passion to “do something great.” Everyone at Analogic is totally committed to developing solutions that transform the experience of passengers and airports for the better.
Analogic announced that its aviation checkpoint screening solution, the ConneCT system, will be available soon. How is ConneCT an example of “doing something great”?
The ConneCT system is a game changer. Security experts have known that CT technology is superior from a threat detection standpoint. The problem is that until now, CT was perceived as too slow, too heavy, too complicated, and too expensive for airport checkpoints. ConneCT is the first and only system to address and solve those concerns head on.
Can you give specifics? Can ConneCT compete with current 2D X-Ray systems at checkpoints?
The short answer is “YES” and “YES!” ConneCT has a physical footprint that is comparable to leading 2D X-Ray, it has over twice the throughput of 2D X-Ray, and it will be priced to be very competitive with 2D X-Ray.
Sounds exciting. We look forward to updates on the ConneCT in the next several months.