Technology makes life better for airport operators, airlines and ultimately, for passengers. For example, automation through security surveillance systems enhances the level of security by imparting business rules and allows the system to give the right information rather than doing the same work through additional manpower.
Global positioning systems (GPS) give more control on movable assets such as vehicles and ensure better safety and security. Baggage reconciliation systems reduce the turnaround time for aircraft. A management information system (MIS) gives insights through delay analysis and allow the operations team to reduce delays. Master antenna television (MATV) enables automatic streaming of channels into display systems and provide important information for the passenger.
Passenger access systems ensure no passenger is missed out. Wi-Fi enables passengers are in touch with their personal and professional life by extending Internet facilities. Customer relationship management (CRM) ensures better relationship among all the airport stakeholders.
A service-oriented architecture (SOA) is used for integrating all the different applications and ensure they communicate with each other. SOA technology ensures messages are transferred irrespective of the availability of other applications and also converts them into the required format as desired by destination application. IBM’s Message Broker, WebSphere Process Server, Oracle WebLogic Server, Microsoft BizTalk Server are a few examples of SOAs.
Over the past decade, usage of radio frequency identification devices has been increasing and the growth seems very positive in the near future. Implementation cost and running costs have gone down considerably in the recent years. MIS gives better insight for top management and helps them in decision-making. At GMR, IBM Cognos was implemented as a business intelligence tool. Enterprise resource planning software such as SAP or Oracle Financials is the backbone for all the functional departments within an airport where all the back-end core functionalities take place. It is inevitable to have a CRM tool implemented in an airport to have better customer relations. MATV gives a comprehensive content management solution for streaming of TV channels and advertisements.
Most of the technologies are going to be enhanced and refined. Terminal emulation will pave the way to common user passenger processing system, which is going to be the common check-in platform. It reduces load on departure control systems by standardizing on the common platform instead of maintaining multiple versions. MIS will lead to data mining, which gives predictive analysis. Integration of flight information display systems and MATV for flight information may be a possibility. Extensive usage of GPS, Wi-Fi, GPRS and CRM technologies is anticipated. Ultimately, it is the business case that drives the need to consider different technologies.
Srinadh Prasad is head (IT operations), GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd.