The sole solution

A little bit of technology can save hours of time and loads of frustration.

MagShoes 521 (photo credit: Courtesy IDO Security)
MagShoes 521
(photo credit: Courtesy IDO Security)
Communism is long gone (the Chinese may talk the talk, but they certainly don’t walk the walk), but Marx got one thing right – the “proletarianization of society.”
Especially when it comes to air travel!
In Marxist theory, the working stiffs are kept down until they can’t take it anymore, and rebellion ensues – whereupon the “classless society” becomes a reality, with everyone being treated equally. That prediction has come true culturally, if not economically. Even “elites” these days are fans of the kinds of things you would have expected only the “masses” to partake of in the old days – like hip hop music. When they can get $300 and up for tickets to a rap concert, you have to figure that at least some of the customers are from among, as they say at Occupy Wall Street, “the 1 percent” (or at least the upper reaches of the 99%!).
Nowhere is this proletarianization more apparent than at the airport, that great leveler of class distinctions. In their desperation to dislodge every dollar or shekel possible, airlines are now charging even “elite” (that word again!) passengers for a second piece of luggage on international flights, and have begun to nickel-and-dime passengers even in business class (they’ve been doing it to the “economy class proletariat” for years).
But if you really want to see proletarianization at work, go to the end of the security line – the part where they make you take off your shoes. There you’ll see a perfect metaphor for today’s society; Gucci loafers lying side by side with Crocs, flip-flops next to Ugg boots. Marx must be looking down (or up?) at us, gloating. Pass by his grave and you can almost hear him saying: “I knew it!”
Of course, there are good and important reasons for the patting down, the X-raying of luggage, the passing through the metal detector, and the shoe checking. For the latter we can thank Richard Reid, the almost-“shoe bomber” whose aborted attempt to smuggle a bomb onto a plane shortly after 9/11 prompted the added inspection.
Although we in Israel have generally been able to avoid shoe inspection (it is conducted in specific cases, I have been informed), it is de rigueur in many airports in Europe – and at all airports in the US. Poll after poll shows that out of all the inspections required by the US Transport Safety Administration (which has set the tone for security departments all over the world), shoe inspection is seen as the most annoying – at least in places where full body scanners or mandatory pat-downs have not been instituted.
But Israel’s IDO Security, a start-up based in Rishon Lezion, is doing what it can to restore some class to our lives. IDO makes a device called MagShoe, now in use in airports throughout Europe, that lets passengers keep their shoes on when passing through airport inspection. Now in its third generation, the MagShoe system not only detects all metals in the shoe and ankle/sock area (including ferrous and non-ferrous metals), but practically eliminates all false alarms due to the presence of prosthetics or metal normally found in shoes.
Using the MagShoe is easy for both passengers and security personnel. Passengers – or, for that matter, visitors to buildings (such as courts and government buildings) where shoe inspection is required – simply step into the MagShoe device, stand still for a couple of seconds, and move on.
A red light/green light indicator offers visual confirmation of the scan’s results. The system uses sophisticated algorithms and inspection methods to perform its inspection. If there is a problem the light flashes red, and MagShoe sounds its built-in alarm, displaying the results on its control console. The multi-sensory alert system ensures immediate response times, even in loud and crowded screening areas such as busy airports or noisy stadiums.
MAGSHOE NOT only saves time for passengers by eliminating one of the biggest bottlenecks in airport security – it also reduces tension, and lets inspectors keep a sharper eye out for real terrorists.
“The calmer the atmosphere, the easier it is for the inspectors to do the work they are really needed for,” says Dan Werber, vice-president of sales and marketing for IDO. “Shoe inspection is a major distraction and slows things up considerably for everyone, making it harder to keep track of real suspects. MagShoe has proven to be a great boon in airports and other sites all over the world.”
MagShoe has many other uses too, says Werber – for example, as a means to eliminate property theft in stores, offices and warehouses.
“Employee theft is on the rise in many of today’s most competitive industries, from electronics to jewelry to finance,” Werber says.
“MagShoe allows retail stores, warehouses and corporate offices to more effectively scan for valuable items hidden anywhere from the ankles down – without ever having to ask employees and customers to manually remove their shoes again.”
MagShoes are currently in use in Europe, Asia and even Africa – and of course, at Ben-Gurion Airport. And now IDO is making a big push to get MagShoes installed at airports in the US, the “hard core” of shoe inspection territory.
The system has numerous patents and is the most effective non-invasive shoe inspection system out there, says Werber, and passengers who have experienced the MagShoe say it makes things much easier, according to company research. It’s said that “shoes make the man/woman” – and the ability that MagShoe gives to allow us to keep our shoes on at the airport is at least one positive step in reclaiming our dignity and individuality from “the masses.” Take that, Marx!