include generic, air transport-specific and
Although the Cloud has been
downplayed by some observers as simply
a dressed-up version of software-as-a-service (SaaS), Benoit Verbaere, SITA’s
senior product manager, innovation, says
there is a big difference. “SaaS applications tend to be one-size-fits-all,” he said.
Using the Cloud, “you can maintain
your level of customization.”
And airlines can decide what they
want to share. Alliance members, for ex-
ample, can share customer data to ensure
their customers receive consistent service,
down to getting the correct meal.
As is typical with Cloud computing,
SITA has servers in several locations—
Atlanta, Frankfurt and Singapore—to
meet the needs of users in different areas
of the world.
Verbaere said those locations maintain
a consistency that is as reliable as Lego
bricks. An airline manager is “assured
that the components are the same and
the design is the same,” he said. If he
is based in Europe, he is not going to
be surprised with an inability to make
something work in the US.
Tat consistency also means that
“you can offload some work to another
region,” Verbaere said.
Crew members can benefit from the
Cloud as well. “More and more crews
have a tablet or phone that gives them
access to information—flight planning,
passenger profiles, documentation, infor-
mation about the service on board—in
real time,” even if they are at home,
Verbaere said. “Tey can avoid going to
the airport four hours ahead.”
An airline’s growth, and the attending
growth in its IT needs, is very easy to
manage, he said. “You can scale without
a forklift. Te capacity is always there.”
According to SITA, the ATI Cloud,
which operates on a pay-as-you-go
model, can provide a virtual workspace
and publish it on a new agent’s device
within five minutes.
Deployment of a new release of a reservation application onto the desktops of
all ticketing office and call center agents
takes one hour.
A CLOUD THAT MAKES
FLIGHTS MORE COMFORTABLE
Honeywell has developed a cloud-based application that greatly
improves pilots’ real-time awareness
of what’s going on outside their
Better weather knowledge can
make life in the sky more comfortable
for passengers as well, according to
Blane Boynton, director of marketing
and product management for
aerospace services at Honeywell.
“If you go into a flight deck, you
see what the pilot has: a 10-inch
display with dots and lines. With the
weather radar, you might see a picture
[covering] 300 miles.”
On a 7,000-mile route, say from
Dallas to New Delhi, all the pilot can
see is 300 miles.
“You can take the printout, which
shows the big trends, but by the
time you’re over the North Pole the
information is hours old,” Boynton said.
Honeywell’s application shows
the entire route through satellite
It gathers data from all over the
world—from the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration,
WSI (the aviation arm of The Weather
Channel) and some private sources—
and visualizes the data in the best way
possible for pilots.
The application grabs the flight plan
from the avionics, and the pilot gets a
graphical image, “a top-down view of
the world,” Boynton said.
The next step is to help airlines
optimize flights, he said. Saving a few
minutes on the flight can also save fuel.
“The application was first created
for the business aviation sector and
is now undergoing trials with a few
airlines,” Boynton said.
“Certain airlines have said, ‘we
think this is important,’ ” he said. “We
are actively engaged with airlines
to make it available in the second
While no one can see clear air
turbulence, it can be predicted. And
that can help put passengers at ease. “I
was flying home from Minneapolis, and
it was getting bumpy,” Boynton said.
So he launched the app and showed
it to his seatmate, who was becoming
anxious. “I showed her it was only
going to last a few minutes,” he said,
“and she relaxed.”