Information & Infrastructure

Paul Bowers
Published in: 

Looking out the window of a cab snarled in traffic from downtown Montreal to the airport, I had time to reflect on the SWIFT conference that brought me to Quebec's fair city. All of the construction barrels and cranes reminded me that making improvements is just cause for temporary inconvenience.

But not all improvement projects necessarily require the pain of traffic jams. It was, however, an ironic setting to ponder a session that addressed speed and efficient operations and the importance of keeping things moving safely. Having the right data on hand, processing great amounts of it quickly, and interoperability of data were hot topics at the conference.

At the emerging airfield technology session I moderated, Moodie Cheikh of Searidge and Tim Neubert of Neubert Aero showed how companies are combining information in new ways to create opportunities that never existed before. Tools such as the iPhone have made their way from consumer products to business workhorses.  Airports are saving money and time by tapping into local cell phone networks to run programs and applications that used to require dedicated airport systems.

The stakes are high in our industry. Downtime on the airfield is measured in hours, and even minutes.  Technology can help keep airfield operations from becoming traffic jams, and it's exciting to see the great strides being made. The strategy of adapting proven technologies from other industries and integrating them into aviation is especially exciting, because it creates workable solutions that carry the legacy of proven performance. It's also cost-effective and taps into established support networks. 

In these times of uncertain revenue streams and careful budgeting, it's nice to know we can still find  ways to upgrade our systems and do more. We just need to know where to look.

Enjoy the issue.



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