Airport ground operations and baggage handling have traditionally been a manual and labor intensive task. But as airports and airlines look to automate these systems and bring greater visibility and accuracy into various processes, they’re turning to systems and software providers to ramp up results and take performance to new heights.
“What happens below the wing is a critical area that directly affects performance and results,” said David Kennedy, CEO at Quantum Aviation Solutions.
The company, based in Atlanta but with additional offices in New York and London, got its start in the business about a decade ago. At the time, it purchased an existing software system called BagScan from Lufthansa Group in Germany and began using it with companies that had already purchased the solution. It allows consumers and airlines to track luggage from check-in to baggage carousel via the Web or mobile apps. The upside was that the software purchase came with an existing customer base and revenues. The downside was that the software relied on a “slightly older architecture” that, while providing reasonably good functionality, did not provide a high level of agility and flexibility.
As a result, Quantum found itself running into challenges for local deployments, mostly at midsize and smaller airports. “At times, it was clunky and difficult to manage,” Kennedy said. What’s more, the software was not designed to be used within the cloud. “We wanted to move to a SaaS model, which we felt offered advantages and would be the next big thing. We believed that it would serve as a differentiator and allow us to grow as a business.” After setting forth on a code upgrade and migration initiative, Quantum Aviation turned to San Juan, Puerto Rico-based software development and engineering firm Wovenware to streamline the process.
The primary goal for the outsourcing initiative wasn’t to trim costs, Kennedy said.
“We wanted to take a more strategic approach and use our internal resources more effectively. We were looking to speed update cycles, improve time to market and make changes faster for customers. In many cases, we can now make changes immediately.”
An important piece of the equation was centralizing data centers and consolidating data streams through the cloud-based approach. In addition, Quantum Aviation wanted to introduce a more robust mobile platform and improve data access from iPads and other mobile devices. “We felt that outsourcing was the fastest and best way to improve our competitive position,” he said.
The results have been nothing short of impressive. Kennedy said that the move from a terminal-based approach to a SaaS architecture has been well received among existing customers and it has helped land new customers. No less important: the approach allows Quantum Aviation to manage multiple sites and services with a smaller team and monitor mobile devices and fix problem remotely.
“We are in the business of providing automation and greater efficiencies to airlines. We are now much better positioned to do business in today’s environment,” Kennedy said.