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Airport turns to IBM to help it manage the demands of its passengers

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September 26, 2012

Bengaluru International Airport of India is turning to IBM to help it better manage the demands of its many passengers, local tenants and various airport operations.

IBM's solutions will also help control the volatile costs that often impact the airline industry, especially as it pertains to airports.

Dubbed 'Smart Airport Enabler' the system will not only lower the overall cost of deployment and maintenance of current and future customer terminals at the airport, it is also expected to bring about an overall increase in airport service quality.

It will also help increase the efficiency in most of the interactions between the airport, airlines and other stakeholders, lowering overall costs of most operations at the airport.

The facility is one of the first airports in the world to successfully implement the latest international standard Aviation Information Data Exchange (AIDX) format, created by international aviation bodies International Air Transport Association (IATA), Airlines for America (A4A) and Airports Council International (ACI) - to exchange flight information between airlines, flight data providers and airports using the IBM-designed architecture.

This will allow the airport to communicate real-time data about airport operations and situational awareness with other airport stakeholders.

IBM’s Smart Airport Enabler will seamlessly connect disparate systems and processes across the airport and create a scalable platform for future growth. This will ultimately help the Bengaluru Airport to bring together a common view of its operations across multiple internal and external stakeholders, with an aim to provide passengers, tenants and airport clients with efficient and best in-breed services.

As a leader of change in Indian aviation, Bengaluru's Airport has recognized the need to improve operational efficiency and capitalize on real-time insights in order to increase its competitive edge. The airport’s annual air traffic volume increased by 7 percent last year, and the number of passengers increased to 12.53 million from 11.24 million in 2010.

The airport will now use IBM’s Smart Airport Enabler to help manage the complexity of the airport and its operations. The Smart Airport Enabler, an aviation standards-based architecture and corresponding set of standard airport operating procedures, forms the foundation for future initiatives and airport expansions plans and will enable faster decision making, especially during the airport’s peak period.

The 'Smart Airport Enabler' is a component of the IBM Airport Operations Management Systems, a flexible IT platform to deliver operational efficiency, cross-stakeholder collaboration, and real-time information needed for timely decisions.

The capability is built using key IBM airport industry assets and products – the Intelligent Operations Center, the Smarter Airport Enabler integration platform, public safety, Smart Building solutions for terminal management, and mobile solutions for ground control.

The solution was developed by IBM’s Software Labs and implemented for Bengaluru International Airport by IBM’s Global Business Services division.

Recently, IBM launched its Airport Solutions Lab in New Delhi. India is one of the leading nations at the forefront of developing smarter airports that are designed to handle the exponential growth of air travel. The lab is staffed by a network of global experts that have deep expertise in aviation.

Overall, India is well positioned to move from the ninth largest civil aviation market to the top five in the world within the next ten to fifteen years. It's also projected that passenger loads could increase from about 143 million in 2010-11 to 452 million by 2020-21.

The quality of aviation infrastructure directly contributes to a nation’s economic vitality and competitiveness. Its physical and digital infrastructure needs to be able to expand and quickly adapt while at the same time maintain its level of customer service and operations management.

In other IT news

As most people know, since the beginning of the mass production of personal computers, Microsoft Windows has always enjoyed a seemingly insurmountable dominance over the operating system offered by Apple, but new market share figures reveal Apple's rapid rise is making some gaping holes in Microsoft's Windows OS. According to Horace Dediu, founder of market research firm Asymco, the ratio of shipments of Windows PCs to Macs peaked in 2004 at a huge 56-to-1 ratio. Since then, that number has crashed to a low 19-to-1. And, it keeps on dropping.

Some analysts are now predicting that the ratio will soon drop to 15-to-1. But that's only counting Windows versus Mac OS X. If you take into account mobile iOS devices such as the iPhone and the iPad, the ratio drops to less than 2-to-1. Those are very impressive numbers in deed.

"Considering the near future," Dediu writes on his Asymco blog, "it's safe to expect a parity of iOS plus OS X vs Windows within one or two years. The installed base may remain larger for some time longer but the sales rate of alternatives will swamp it in due course."

As Dediu rightly points out, sales ratios are not only a measure of overall market share, but more importantly, a measure of dominance-- businesses, software developers and the internet ecosystem itself tend to gravitate around the dominant player in any market. And personal computers are no different.

To paraphrase a truism coined in reference to IBM, 'no one ever got fired for buying Windows'. Or, as Dediu puts it, "The stronger you are, the stronger you get."

So what happened just eight short years ago? Dediu suggests that one factor might be the rapid rise in portable computing devices and the strength of Apple's laptop offerings. That may very well be true, but Apple's PowerBook line was already a success, and had been strengthened three years earlier when the titanium-bodied, sleek PowerBook G4 announced in January 2001.

More importantly, the years after the turn of the millennium saw an overall maturing of Apple's product line. After the PowerBook G4, for example, the Power Mac G5, released in June 2003, introduced an easily serviceable tower for grown-ups.

In August 2004, the iMac G5 replaced the iMac, which had itself replaced its fruity predecessors two years before with a more adult-oriented, consumer-assuring all-in-one product that Apple is known for producing.

Source: IBM.

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