The statutory governing body responsible for an international organization experienced practical and technical challenges with the efficiency of its baggage carousel management system. It was a daunting task to managing the information and the belongings of thousands of arrivals and departures that requires exceptional management skills and advanced technologies. Nevertheless, Big Data Architect Limited (BDA) was well prepared to help with it.
Optimizing the efficiency of a baggage carousel in any transportation station is complex. Information regarding the status of the carousels is vital for management team to have a comprehensive overview of how to best utilize the system. Furthermore, the carousel status is constantly changing; in other words, a system updated frequently is required.
The previous solution relied heavily upon manual work which could not satisfy the demanding flows anymore. An inefficient baggage system would also result in delays of flights and dissatisfaction of passengers.
Flight data is sent to this government body many months before the actual flights commence in order to help management team make earlier decisions. Due to factors such as weather or passengers missing their flights, the data can change up to the very last minute. This meant that BDA had to deliver a tool that would effectively predict the passenger flows so management team would better prepare airport resources to accommodate arrivals and departures.
Search for the Solution
BDA identified the organization’s difficulties and delivered the appropriate solutions. IBM Infosphere Change Data Capture (CDC) allows the data related to the baggage carousel systems to be replicated in nearly real time. A CDC system works by capturing data having changed directly from the database logs rather than constantly querying the database. The system can then be monitored closely and alerts the appropriate personnel of any changes or urgent issues.
Big Data Architect also introduced IBM Datastage for the ETL (Extract, Transform, and Load) phase of the process. Due to Datastage’s powerful Graphical User Interface (GUI) system, users can easily understand the workflow of information in nearly real time – making maintenance much easier. Besides Datastage used for the ETL process, IBM Cognos was also adopted in order to visualize the information so that the decision makers of the organization could understand the data easily.
Along with third party consultants that helped with data structuring, BDA developed a dashboard that enabled the decision makers to better predict what needs to be assembled for incoming and outgoing flights. The dashboard provided nearly real-time flight information such as number of passengers onboard, arrival and departure gates, arrival/departure times, which baggage belts are currently being occupied and by which flight.
Challenges with Implementing the Solution
Sensors are scattered throughout the baggage carousel to give nearly real-time updates about the status of the system. This created a physical limitation due to the mass amounts of sensors sending information at the same time – causing a delay with the startup time. Although this delay causes inefficiencies, there is no alternative solution that BDA (or any other consultants) could introduce in order to streamline the systems startup time.
Another challenge that BDA encountered was the large technical teams that were also working to solve similar problems for this government body. Whilst implementing the actual solutions, teams would need to discuss and agree on an appropriate layout of information so that it is intelligible for everyone. Occasionally, these teams would find it difficult to agree on a final layout as every IT expert has their own opinion about what information is/isn’t important or what the correct way is to present information.
Results and Benefits
Requirements with the reports and dashboards are constantly being developed due to changing business environments. BDA’s team provided a flexible design so that this organization can easily prepare for future changes.
A major specification that this organization required was a system that is able to update its information frequently. This requirement was satisfied due to the powerful solutions provided by BDA. Now this government organization is able to receive nearly real-time information. With this feature, the decision makers can better prepare themselves and the resources of the organization to give passengers the best experience.