FINNAIR IBM AND NOKIA IMPROVE PASSENGER SERVICE AT HELSINKI AIRPORT

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Radio Frequency Identification Technology Streamlines Airport Ground Handling

Finnair is improving the efficiency of its airport operations at Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport with IBMs RFID solutions. IBM is implementing and managing an innovative solution for the allocation of employee tasks at Northport Ltd, Finland's leading supplier of ground handling services and a member of the Finnair Group. The wireless technology for the IBM RFID solution is supplied by Nokia.

With air traffic volumes rising, the demands on ground handling staff and resources are increasing rapidly. Northport will implement new RFID technology to streamline the allocation, workflow and reporting of passenger services, baggage handling, lounge and check-in tasks. The RFID solution is expected to improve the quality of customer service through increased efficiency and a smoother passenger experience.

Northport has used RFID technology in the past to log ground staff working hours. The solution will now be expanded to streamline management of all ground staff tasks. Northport ground staff is being equipped with RFID-enabled Nokia 5140i phones. The handsets provide information on the sequence of tasks by reading RFID tags located at key work locations.

In the past, employees had to call a service centre and enter a pin code to obtain details of their next assignment and work location. With the new system, assignments are transmitted automatically to mobile phone screens. With real-time two-way data connections, ground staff no longer needs to wait or browse multiple voice menus to locate their next task.

The solution technology is based on the Nokia Field Force Solution, consisting of mobile phones, work location RFID tags and the Nokia Field Force Service Manager software. The Nokia software connects the mobile phones and RFID tags to an IBM WebSphere-based server application and the airport work management system. Information on the location of the phones and the status of each task is routed to management

Assigning personnel to all the tasks taking place at any given moment is a true challenge. The better information we have on all tasks, the better we can manage our workforce. Especially tough are the last minute changes of arrival schedules, which in turn result in changes in the allocation of tasks. The management needs data when and where staff is available. RFID provides us with this, comments Mr. Jari Viitanen, VP Business Development, Northport.

"This solution is an excellent example of how a long-term working relationship with our client brings new innovations providing real value. Identifying process needs has helped to integrate technology to create true business benefits in innovative ways. The importance of wide-ranging cooperation in this project can not be overemphasized," says Mr. Kari Hmlinen, Country Executive, IBM Global Technology Services, IBM Finland.

Finnair employees benefit from the ease of use and practicality of the real time solution, while carrying out their mobile work. Nokia and IBM bring the expertise on integrating emerging technology to meet the business needs of Finnair, and deliver a great customer experience, says Mr. Petri Vesikivi, Head of Nokia Workforce Solutions at Nokia Ventures Organization.

RFID technology is ideally suited to complex locations such as airports, where logistical efficiency depends on the coordinated allocation of thousands of individual tasks. With precise information on the flights of the day and their required actions, staff resources on duty can be assigned more effectively, while precise estimates and records of task duration help boost the flexibility and precision of airport logistics, providing a streamlined route to and from the plane for passengers.

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