Friday, December 10, 2010

Effective use of information

The difference in how airports are able to deal with their complexity is directly related to how well they manage and use information. In the words of the head of IT of a major European airport "It is not about measuring, it is about the use of information."

This reminds me of a discussion with an executive of an airport retailer. I had thought that they differentiate themselves from competitors by their shop concepts, by the range of products or in its collaboration with its brand and airport partners. Yet, he told me that the way they collect and use data about airport customers made the difference. Based on business intelligence they would know what to offer, when and where. Their key asset was not logistics but information about their customers.

What about airports and their knowledge about their customers? How well do airports use their information?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The problems with early flight arrival

My flight recently arrived early at an airport which completely surprised the place with no-one around to operate the air-bridge.

Does Collaborative Decision Making (CDM) address this problem? I would expect the ground handler to know what the estimated arrival time (ETA) of my flight will be. And, they should be ready when it does. With or without CDM.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Useless application of video walls

There is an increase in the application of large screen presentations of process information in airport operations control rooms. In addition to the standard screens on the operators' station, the control rooms are equipped with one or more video walls or large sized screens, displaying a summary of the process being supervised.

Often these overview displays look impressive and sophisticated. They surely contribute to a high tech appearance of the control room. However, further consideration may reveal that an overview display is a costly, often quite useless addition to the standard desktop work stations. See the following example where the center video wall continuously shows a Windows error message.

To be fair, there are a few applications of video walls in airport operation control centers, like to provide a common situational awareness to both controllers and visiting public or to highlight an area to focus on an issue for a specific group. One of the key success factors will be the layout design and the information design on the video wall, both derived from what the control center is aimed at achieving.