Incorporated in 2001, Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) built, owns and operates the Bengaluru International Airport. Skytrax, a United Kingdom-based aviation research organization, rated it as ‘India’s best airport’ for 2011. Equipped with excellent technology, the airport is host to 13 domestic and 20 international airlines. It handles approximately 285 air traffic movements, services around 32,000 passengers each day, and 226,817 MT of cargo annually.
Committed to continually improve the quality of data on flights and aircraft operations, the technology-centric company had more than 600 desktops and laptops running Windows 7 Enterprise. These computers ran multiple mission-critical applications 24x7 for operations management and line-of-business applications.
BIAL was a satisfied Windows 7 customer because of its ability to deliver good user experience and enterprise grade security features such as Bit Locker. However, an advocate of the latest technologies, BIAL wants to improve passenger, partner and employee experience constantly. Thus, it was keen to evaluate the new Windows operating system (OS). To deliver improved services, BIAL needs new generation of tools for better, more effective collaboration, communication and connectivity. Its key goals include:
- Improve Employee Productivity and Experience: The goal is to enhance mobility and access to information on either company provided device or an employee’s personal Windows device such as tablets, phones etc.
- Commitment to Enriching User Experience: BIAL aims to improve services for its passengers and airline partners continually using technology.
- Green IT Initiative: BIAL works effortlessly to meet green IT goals, and tries to adopt environmentally responsible technologies and practices in line with today’s environmental concerns, vis-à-vis growing air traffic, and meet all the key business requirements.
Under the Microsoft license agreement, BIAL has access to the latest products, and updates, and can evaluate products prior to launch. It also has access to other Microsoft resources and support. For all these reasons, BIAL previewed Windows 8 Enterprise and its new features.
BIAL initially tested Windows 8 Enterprise Release Preview that not only works seamlessly on varied form factors but also allows the OS to boot and run from USB flash drives and external hard disk drives.
The IT team evaluated several features against its line-of-business applications. It found that all its applications were compatible with Windows 8 Enterprise. In addition, these worked equally well with keyboard, mouse and touch devices.
It also found that Windows 8 Enterprise helps increase productivity for employees on the field while maintaining security and device manageability. The OS works seamlessly in virtualized environments. More importantly, it is more power efficient and supports multi-tasking with longer battery life.
Consequently, BIAL decided to upgrade to Windows 8 Enterprise and deployed it as soon as the product was commercially available. The deployment spanned the entire organization, barring some desktops and laptops at the airport and in the operations and projects departments. This is because the line-of-business applications in use are awaiting vendor certification for Windows 8 Enterprise.
It took less than three weeks for BIAL’s IT team to upgrade desktops and laptops to Windows 8 Enterprise. “The upgrade process is far simpler and takes less than 45 minutes per computer,” explains Francis Rajan, Vice President - ICT, BIAL. In all, it upgraded 580 systems so far. During the upgrade process, it was business as usual at BIAL. There were no outages. It also upgraded all existing business applications to Windows 8 Enterprise platform.
Francis continues, “Also, the return on investment on our Enterprise Agreement has paid off, as BIAL could migrate from Windows 7 to Windows 8 Enterprise at no cost and so also from Server 2008 R2 to Server 2012 and Projects 2012 and Office 2013. Since we used our in-source resources to carry out the migration, we could manage to do without any OPEX exposure and bring value to the Enterprise.”
Access to Corporate Network
BIAL deployed Windows To Go, a unique feature of Windows 8 Enterprise. It creates a standard desktop image on a USB flash drive. “Using Windows To Go, contingent employees can access relevant business and productivity applications from any PC on the corporate network, without compromising on security,” explains Francis.
BIAL IT employees are currently testing Microsoft Office 2013, which is cloud-centric and works in perfect harmony with Windows 8 Enterprise. “Windows 8 Enterprise with Office 2013 creates a highly productive workforce. It allows employees to collaborate from within the applications and from anywhere. They can synchronize and access personal and professional data across multiple devices,” adds Francis. Soon, BIAL will upgrade its enterprise and community portal to Microsoft SharePoint 2013.
B2C Windows 8 Enterprise Applications
With the growing popularity of Windows 8 Enterprise, BIAL is leveraging the platform to communicate with passengers.
Airport and Flight Information: Provides real-time updates on flight arrivals and departures for over 350 flights on PCs and tablets. It allows passengers to plan and save time and enrich their experience.
B2B Windows 8 Enterprise Applications
BIAL is collaborating with UFIS Airport Solutions to deploy an application that captures airside performance indicators in near real time. BIAL has also launched an Ibhar application (Corporate Performance Manager), on which Mobility module has been built on, facilitating the airside and terminal team to track operational key events. These applications are purely business driven.
Status and Event Manager: Add-on from UFIS, this application would get into production in Q2 for this fiscal. It is a mobile app to capture operational KPI’s. It captures real-time data on-flights and status of each aircraft from landing, docking, deplaning passengers, cabin cleaning, catering, refueling, to take-off. All users, whether in the office or deployed on the field, have access to relevant information to improve services, and on-time performance, while reducing ground time of aircraft to minimum. This helps Airlines and Ground Handlers to measure the actual process and if need be effectively intervene for improving the on-time performance.
Corporate Performance Management(CPM): This is an application built by Microsoft partner, to capture data points from different applications and providing hour-on-hour, airport performance status with key metrics. It also provides to the end users an ability to slice and dice the data. BIAL has effectively used this platform to automate reports and dispense them with manual logs, using this platform to write e-logs. Recently it had extended the Mobility function for air-side controllers and Terminal Managers to go around with Windows 8 Tabs and use the application to track event status, write instant report and attach pictures, if required. The checklist that the teams would need to verify on a shift basis gets e-logged and when it is required to capture a PIC as evidentiary, it enables to do so and tracks all these operational events. It does away with physical logs and helps to be green in day-to-day efforts. Since BIAL has deployed WiFi across the airport, there is no limitation to access the application. The web reports provide details like number of passengers, number of aircraft movements, etc for the previous hour.
“Windows 8 Enterprise has redefined airport as well as passenger services,” says Francis. With the new operating system, applications work seamlessly and keep employees connected, thus enhancing experience.
Estimates Productivity Increase at 10 Percent
Windows 8 Enterprise empowers employees and partners to take quick informed decisions to fix operational issues on the field. Live updates facilitate employees to work quickly and reduce the on-ground aircraft time. “We estimate a 10 percent increase in employee productivity and efficiency due to seamless integration of Apps and multi-touch computing,” comments Francis.
New enterprise features, such as Windows To Go, enable contingent employees to work anytime, anywhere. In addition, other features allow quick and efficient application swapping, promoting multi-tasking thereby significantly improving employee productivity. Francis continues, “We moved on to the new operating system in less than three weeks. All this put together, coupled with higher productivity, resulted in very low ownership cost.”
From the organization’s perspective, Francis explains, “Windows 8 Enterprise platform makes applications available across different form factors, from desktop, notebooks to touch pads. This improves productivity across the enterprise and facilitates quicker access to information and data points.
Reduces Carbon Footprint
BIAL is aware that the take-off and landing process expels a significant amount of carbon in the atmosphere. For this reason, it likes to pay special attention to ensure that all the other aspects of the business contribute to ‘green’ efforts. BIAL ICT organization is an active practitioner of Green IT in essence and spirit. A conscious decision was taken to get laptops in lieu of desktops to save energy. With Windows 8 Enterprise the energy savings become more pronounced. By synchronizing all the mobile electronic gadgets, BIAL aims to reduce paper consumption by 10 percent. By August, once SharePoint Server is live, it expects paper consumption to come down further. Also, BIAL had built a tier-3 green data center and the DC software, which runs on the Windows platform.
Enhances Passenger Experience
With Windows 8 Enterprise Apps on their smart-devices, passengers will have access to reliable, real time flight information and updates. This allows them to plan accordingly, thus saving time.
Freedom to Use Any Device
Windows 8 Enterprise Apps is compatible across all Windows devices. When the enterprise to rolls out BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) culture, it will deliver greater agility, and enhance employee efficiency. Francis concludes, “Windows 8 Enterprise has improved productivity of our employees while they are on the move, without any additional investment or compromising on convenience and security. It is truly an enterprise-grade solution.”