Digital Transformation Use Case: Rome Airport

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Digital Transformation Use Case: Rome Airport

The use of big data will improve your product, and stepping back, looking at the entire customer with the appropriate metrics enables you to improve the customer journey.

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The best use case I heard while at TIBCO NOW 2018 was presented by Emiliano Sorrenti, CTO of Aeroporti di Roma (ADR) which operates the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport and the Rome Ciampino Airport.

In 2015, the ADR ranked 17th out of 20 large airports in Europe with regards to the level of customer experience (CX) provided, based on research and surveys conducted by Airports Council International (ACI). ACI looks at all aspects of an airport's operations including security, check-in, Wi-Fi, comfort, atmosphere, luggage, security, cleanliness, as well as infrastructure.

Emiliano and his team used process redesign and strong people involvement to determine how they could use data to improve CX. They focused on a business strategy for improving CX rather than a digital strategy. Their business strategy had digital technologies as key enablers and accelerators. This served as a foundation for business continuity and resilience connecting operations with real-time control and short-time forecasting.

They took a pilot-first approach and tested on a small scale starting with land-side airport operations: preventing congestion by monitoring road traffic and passenger traffic in the airport with sensors. They integrated and correlated all information necessary to understand passenger behavior, support the management of operational situations, and prevent critical events.

Information collected encompassed the airport ecosystem, as well as services in the customer journey: reservations, parking, check-in, security, shopping, public transport, car rental, and others.

They use SteamBase and BusinessWorks to develop passenger flow services with heat maps to see passenger volume, density, congestion, and typical passenger paths. They were then able to drill down to see what may be causing a bottleneck. In one instance they were able to see an airline with too few ticket kiosks open. They notified the airline of the need to open more kiosks as well as to let security know they needed to open more security checkpoints since they were about to have an influx of passengers once they completed their business at the ticket kiosks.

The gates are the last point at which they capture WiFi data and correlate passenger flow with flight data, and flight data with boarding pass data used in the retail shops. By analyzing correlated data, they were able to use predictive analytics, study trends and historic buying patterns to identify improvements for the airport's retail businesses.

Similarly, they monitor airport operations for all stakeholders, airlines, handlers, security, air traffic control, ground control, facilities to better manage both air-side and land-side processes providing real-time tracking for common awareness and predictive KPI calculation to prevent critical situations. Doing so enabled them to minimize the impact of an air worker strike by reallocating service personnel based on real-time need. Ultimately, they have been able to better manage air traffic with fewer people.

Leveraging new technologies to optimize efficiency, Aeroporti di Roma built a new boarding area of 968,750 square feet at Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport. The expansion enables more than six million additional passengers per year. The project consists of two large structures, an innovative pier with 22 gates that doubles the airport's capacity for extra-Schengen destinations, innovative boarding and disembarking features that accommodate the world's largest aircraft, an exclusive shopping gallery with the best Italian and international products, and an Italian food street with a great restaurant selection.

In 2018, they became the second happiest airport in the world according to CNN. They won the SkyTrax award for greatest improvement. And they went from 3.73 to 4.4 in ACI's CX measurement to become the leader in Europe.

Moving forward Emiliano and his team plan to use digital instruments to personalize the travel experience and continue to improve CX. They will continue to invest in digital backend projects to improve services for airport ecosystems, increase efficiency, and reduce operational cost. They will continue to stop and take time to think and look outside for other inspiration to address the business requirements and goals for improvement by using IT to help integrate business processes and improve ecosystems.

big data, big data analytics, continuous improvement, customer experience, iot sensor data

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