PANASONIC AND SAFETYAT BOLOGNA AIRPORT
PANASONIC TOUGHPAD FZ-A1 TABLETS SELECTED BY
BOLOGNA MARCONI AIRPORT
FOR INFRASTRUCTURE MAINTENANCE
Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport is one of Italy's largest, in terms of the number of international destinations served, and has cutting-edge safety and environmental protection systems. Serving a population base of 10 million, the airport management company is responsible for ensuring the ongoing availability of all infrastructure provided for ground handlers and airlines.
In order to ensure the maintenance and upkeep of the airport's infrastructure, the management company carries out ongoing monitoring and inspection of the area within the airport perimeter, using members of staff patrolling the airport to check for and report any issues, such as damage to the tarmac, unexpected items, any deterioration in surface markings, the presence of animals – all factors which may compromise the safety of aircraft movement on aprons, links, runways and taxiways.
In the past, these inspection and reporting activities were carried out entirely manually by staff, but back in 2013 the airport management company decided that the process had to be automated. So it set about identifying the most suitable software solution for the clear transmission of details and reports, and thoroughly researching mobile devices with the capability to support and deliver this software. As Roberto Raciti, Terminal Operations Engineering Manager of Bologna Marconi Airport (SAB SpA) explains: “We were looking for a rugged product, capable of performing reliably under all conditions. This is because our staff work outside and, although the device is installed in a vehicle, it is still exposed to widely fluctuating temperatures which at Bologna can range from -10°C on a snowy night to +40°C under hot August sunshine. Various products on the market were able to meet these requirements, but we chose Panasonic because it offered a wide range of both Windows and Android devices, with an excellent selection of screen sizes, which are not only robust but also bright.”
The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-A1, a 10.1", fully rugged Android tablet designed to meet the challenges of a mobile, outdoor working environment has now been in use for over six months at the airport. The Toughpad FZ-A1, tested to standard MIL-STD-810G, is impact and drop resistant to 120cm and provides the highest water and dust resistance thanks to its IP65 protection rating. Its 10.1" display is a high-brightness multi-touch capacitive screen which is visible in sunlight and has an anti-reflection coating; it also has a rechargeable battery, USB interface, external storage, integrated GPS and camera.
“Thanks to the Panasonic devices, staff can multi-task: reporting, recording and taking photos and videos," continues Raciti. “The Toughpad FZ-A1 is connected to a highly reliable professional GPS with an accuracy of around two metres, and has a camera so that, when staff find an issue, they can state its position accurately and take a photo to document the problem. The tablet acquires this data and transmits it via the 3G SIM to our systems, so whoever is doing the repair can be certain of finding exactly where it has to be carried out.”
The software installed on the Toughpad FZ-A1 tablets was supplied to the airport by Enter Med, a specialist consultancy which develops and manages integrated e-business services. This company, which has already been involved in similar projects with other airports, provided excellent advice to the management at Bologna Airport, designing a custom application, HEELP IMA, for the Android operating system and recommending Panasonic products. “Panasonic systems are the best from both an operating system and a hardware standpoint: they are the best rugged devices available on the market, capable of withstanding any temperature and providing maximum flexibility,” says Fabio Giannilivigni, CEO of Enter Med.
This made Panasonic devices the most appropriate choice for this type of application, in which staff carrying out their duties under critical conditions must be able to focus on what they are doing while having full confidence in a highly rugged device. Panasonic products have the kind of ruggedness which means that staff can work without frequent replacements being necessary, as often happens with consumer products.
And thanks to the excellent results at Bologna Marconi Airport, the partnership between Enter Med and Panasonic will continue into the future. As Giannilivigni explains: “Panasonic offered us its full cooperation, both technically and commercially, and this is why it has become a major partner for Enter Med – we are already working on new projects at other airports, and are planning on offering this solution in other countries too.”
“The solution selected for Bologna Airport is a perfect reflection of the partnership which has been developed between this Japanese multinational and Enter Med: Panasonic will make its know-how available to the software house so that software applications which make full use of the strong points of our products can be developed,” concludes Mauro Cofelice, Key Account Manager for Panasonic Toughbook-Toughpad.