T H E K I C K S TA R T E R
Project Runway Dallas Fort Worth International Airport flies into future technology under the leadership of a new chief innovation officer.
I S A M AT T E R O F S T R A tegy, says Paul Puopolo, chief innovation officer at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. A 13-year veteran of the innovation trade, Puopolo joined the DFW team in August 2018 to help move the airport forward in the evolving technology market and create a travel experience for airline passengers that is second to none. Innovation is “not just about coming up with some cool things,” Puopolo says. “It has to be things that solve a problem and have a business model around them.” When it comes to tackling DFW’s problems, tech like VR, AR, and biometric scanning are the tip of the iceberg. “There are a lot of things I think DFW Airport represents, much like a city. … We have the same challenges, the same issues, the same things cities are trying to solve,” he says. “The technology that can be applied to the city can be apDallas retail guru STEVE DENNIS plied at the airport.” Among the technologies already deN N O VAT I O N
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ployed at DFW are dynamic-glass windows, which use IoT to control room temperature and brightness, display messages, and monitor for break-ins; and VR and AR for training firefighters on airplane fires. Puopolo says the airport is a “hotbed of use cases for VR and AR.” He’s also thinking about improving transit with autonomous vehicles, offering reliable Wi-Fi, lighting the facility using IoT, and accommodating eVTOL aircraft. Frequent flyers will be glad to know that the airport plans to roll out passenger wait time tech to make security checkpoints more efficient in 2019. To do this, Puopolo is looking into AI technologies that can distill data and create proactive solutions for passengers in real-time. Progress comes with the promise of easing the airport experience for travelers passing through Dallas, Puopolo says. “We have to be able to provide stress-free travel experiences and an exceptional consumer experience. And we know we still want to be the front door to the communities that we serve. And that’s an important role to have—because we might be the first view that they get into Dallas and Fort Worth.”
A I R P L A N E : G U V E N D E M I R / I S TO C K P H OTO
Dallas-Fort Worth has seen its fair share of retail evolution this year, Steve Dennis, founder of SageBerry Consulting, says. Four standouts? In Plano’s Legacy West, Neighborhood Goods took a futuristically fresh take on the department store. In Irving, 7-Eleven started testing its convenience-based Scan & Pay service near its Irving headquarters. In Dallas, The Container Store got a 24,500-squarefoot technologyinfused Next Generation Store, and Sam’s Club opened an “epicenter of innovation” prototype on Lower Greenville. Between the corporate giants and the influx of technology-driven openings, North Texas is becoming a hub for retail
Now is the time for North Texas to grab its place in the tech universe.