Microsoft Windows Mobile Customer Solution Case Study Airport

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					                                                 Microsoft Windows Mobile
                                                 Customer Solution Case Study




                                                 Airport Authority Doubles Sign Inspection
                                                 Efficiency with Mobile Solution



Overview                                         ―Windows Mobile 5.0, SQL Server 2005 Mobile
Country or Region: Canada
Industry: Transportation
                                                 Edition, and the .NET Compact Framework provide an
                                                 exceptional foundation on which to build a mobile
Customer Profile
The Greater Toronto Airports Authority
                                                 asset tracking solution.‖
(GTAA) is a private, non-share, not-for-profit   Tuan La, IT and Telecommunications Manager, Greater Toronto Airports Authority
authority that operates Toronto Pearson
International Airport. GTAA has more than        The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) employs more than
1,000 employees.
                                                 1,000 people and operates Toronto Pearson International Airport,
Business Situation                               Canada’s largest. Tightened government guidelines prompted GTAA
In an effort to comply with government
guidelines stipulating biannual inspections      to devise a technology solution for tracking and inspecting its many
of roadway signs, GTAA needed an efficient       roadway signs. GTAA deployed ABOUTIME®, a mobile device–based
and reliable way to track and inspect its
many signs. Toronto Pearson has an               solution that uses Windows Mobile® 5.0, Windows® XP Tablet PC
estimated 10,000 road, building, and             Edition, Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2005 Mobile Edition, and the
internal signs.
                                                 Microsoft .NET Compact Framework to combine global positioning
Solution                                         system (GPS), Bluetooth technology, digital photography, and
GTAA deployed ABOUTIME®, an asset
tracking solution based on Windows               barcode scanning capabilities. The solution, a resounding success,
Mobile® 5.0, Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2005         is being extended to all Toronto Pearson’s signs. Besides achieving
Mobile Edition, and the Microsoft .NET
Compact Framework.                               regulatory compliance and mitigating possible lawsuits, it has
                                                 reduced GTAA sign inspection labor costs by more than
Benefits
 Reduced sign inspection labor costs by
                                                 CDN$100,000 [U.S.$89,289] while doubling sign inspection
  45 percent                                     efficiency.
 Doubled sign inspection efficiency
 Enhanced the availability and value of
  data
 Achieved regulatory compliance
―Windows is the only                             Situation                                           between the Sign Shop and the Pavement
                                                 Airports are often described as small cities.       and Grounds Department. This was not
technology platform that                         They encompass large areas of land and              considered to be either group’s primary or
can support a single                             numerous facilities. They employ vast               full-time responsibility, however, and
                                                 workforces and embrace newcomers nearly             inspections were therefore inconsistent.
application on both                              every hour of every day. They offer assorted
Pocket PC and Tablet PC                          public marketplaces, retail outlets, and            ―When we launched the ASIS project, we
                                                 eateries. And, of course, they facilitate the       were inspecting and maintaining our signs in
devices. It provides                             coming and going of both passengers and             piecemeal fashion. We didn’t have sufficient
tremendous flexibility.‖                         parcels on a non-stop basis.                        details related to their location, condition, or
                                                                                                     when they were last inspected,‖ Wiszniewski
Tuan La, IT and Telecommunications Systems       Managing, operating, and maintaining an             explains. ―The information we had was
Specialist, Greater Toronto Airports Authority   airport can be quite a challenge; just ask the      outdated, incomplete, and contained within a
                                                 leaders of the Greater Toronto Airports             single paperback notebook.‖
                                                 Authority (GTAA). Incorporated in 1993 as
                                                 part of the Canada Corporations Act, GTAA is        Although the ASIS project represented a
                                                 tasked with providing the Greater Toronto           reactive measure to government guidelines,
                                                 area with a regional system of airports that        GTAA leaders recognized this as an
                                                 meets current and future demands for air            opportunity to proactively prepare the
                                                 services. The not-for-profit corporation is         organization in the event of legal action. ―If
                                                 responsible for Toronto Pearson International       we are ever sequestered to court because a
                                                 Airport, which handled 31 million passengers        motorist gets in an accident on airport
                                                 in 2006.                                            grounds, historical evidence of sign
                                                                                                     maintenance and condition becomes
                                                 ―Managing an airport of this size is a              critical,‖ Wiszniewski says. ―We saw the ASIS
                                                 considerable and multifaceted task,‖ says           project as a way to mitigate possible legal
                                                 Peter Wiszniewski, Supervisor of the Sign and       action and better protect GTAA.‖
                                                 Graphics Department at GTAA. ―We are
                                                 continually making improvements to our              The ASIS project also represented an
                                                 operations, processes, facilities, and service.‖    opportunity to improve operational efficiency
                                                                                                     and reduce costs. ―Implementing a system
                                                 One recent improvement was brought forth            that helps us better track, inspect, document,
                                                 by the twofold impetus of tightened                 and maintain all of our signs doesn’t simply
                                                 government regulations and the potential for        put us in compliance with government
                                                 loss control and claims issues. In 1995, the        guidelines,‖ notes Wiszniewski. ―It also
                                                 Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO)         improves our productivity and reduces our
                                                 published the Manual of Uniform Traffic             everyday expenses.‖
                                                 Control Devices, outlining maintenance
                                                 protocols that include biannual inspections of      Solution
                                                 all roadway signage. To address this directive,     GTAA has more than 10,000 road, building,
                                                 GTAA established the Airport Signage Infor-         and internal signs in use at any one time, and
                                                 mation System (ASIS) project, designed to           devising a new system for tracking,
                                                 improve the tracking, inspection, and main-         inspecting, and documenting them all was no
                                                 tenance of such signs at Toronto Pearson.           small task. The ASIS team was aware of a
                                                                                                     project at Toronto Pearson that employed a
                                                 Prior to the ASIS project, the responsibility for   Windows Mobile® 5.0 powered Pocket PC to
                                                 inspecting airport signage was divided              inspect defibrillators, fire hydrants, and other
―To my knowledge,                        life-safety equipment. Upon further inquiry,      ―In the past, implementing, testing, deploying,
                                         they were placed in contact with Irwin            and troubleshooting mobile solutions were
ABOUTIME is the first                    Consulting Services, a Microsoft® partner         much more difficult because we were working
system to combine a                      working with other groups within GTAA.            with unmanaged, C++ code. Using managed,
                                                                                           .NET code, however, reduced development
Windows Mobile                           ―The ASIS project team approached us and          time by roughly 500 percent. And with the
powered device, GPS,                     asked what it would take to develop a mobile      new [Microsoft] Visual Studio® development
                                         solution that could help them track and           tools and XML Web Services, resolving
Bluetooth technology,                    inspect all airport signage,‖ recalls George      problems is much quicker on the rare
barcode scanning, and                    Irwin, President and CEO of Irwin Consulting      occasion that they do arise. Most often the
                                         Services. ―With extensive experience using        problems that we encounter are with existing
digital photography to                   Windows Mobile 5.0 and the Microsoft .NET         client applications that are not yet running
uniquely identify, map,                  Compact Framework, and having just                the .NET Compact Framework.‖
                                         developed an asset tracking solution for
photograph, and inspect                  GTAA’s life-safety equipment, we knew we          GTAA is currently using two types of devices--
assets in a time-based                   could quickly create a robust mobile solution     Windows Mobile 5.0 powered Trimble GeoXT
                                         for their signs.‖                                 Pocket PCs and Windows® XP Tablet PC
inventory.‖                                                                                Edition powered Motion LE1600 Tablet PCs--
George Irwin, President and CEO, Irwin   Three months after the specifications had         to run SQL Server 2005 Mobile Edition and
Consulting Services                      been established, Irwin Consulting Services       the ABOUTIME application on airport grounds.
                                         and the ASIS project team deployed a sign         ―Windows is the only technology platform that
                                         tracking and inspection solution that has paid    can support a single application on both
                                         significant dividends. Key to the solution is a   Pocket PC and Tablet PC devices,‖ explains
                                         mobile device–based software product—             Tuan La, IT and Telecommunications Systems
                                         called ABOUTIME and developed by Irwin            Specialist for GTAA. ―It provides tremendous
                                         Consulting Services—that combines global          flexibility.‖
                                         positioning system (GPS), Bluetooth, digital
                                         photography, and barcode scanning                 Personnel use the mobile devices to catalog
                                         technologies. ABOUTIME creates a                  and inspect all airport signs, noting signs’
                                         chronologically indexed sign inspection           location and condition. When the devices are
                                         history that can be securely accessed across      docked at a central workstation, the
                                         GTAA’s corporate intranet.                        information is uploaded through a Web
                                                                                           Service and stored on GTAA’s database
                                         ―To my knowledge, ABOUTIME is the first           servers. The entire solution was built, and is
                                         system to combine a Windows Mobile                linked, using Microsoft SQL Server 2005
                                         powered device, GPS, Bluetooth technology,        Mobile Edition and the Microsoft .NET
                                         barcode scanning, and digital photography to      Compact Framework 2.0. Irwin adds that the
                                         uniquely identify, map, photograph, and           ABOUTIME application can run on a variety of
                                         inspect assets in a time-based inventory,‖        Windows Mobile 5.0 and Windows XP Tablet
                                         says Irwin. ―The solution resides comfortably     PC Edition powered devices.
                                         on the broad shoulders of Windows Mobile
                                         5.0, [Microsoft] SQL Server™ 2005 Mobile          ―In the past, work crews would haphazardly
                                         Edition, and the [Microsoft] .NET Compact         identify signage maintenance needs and take
                                         Framework, which offer a fantastic                notes on a sheet of paper. The notes were
                                         development environment.                          eventually handed to an individual for data
                                                                                           entry and work order processing purposes,‖
                                                                                           says Wiszniewski. ―Comprehensive signage
―We crunched the                          information and accounting simply did not          of cataloging the remaining 8,000 signs
                                          exist, and inspections were erratic at best.       populating both the exterior and interior of all
numbers, and the                          Today, with a mobile device running the            Toronto Pearson buildings.
results are impressive.                   ABOUTIME application, a single individual can
                                          inspect and document airport signage quickly       Benefits
Altogether, we have                       and efficiently.‖                                  GTAA’s new sign tracking and inspection
slashed our sign                                                                             solution has delivered several improvements.
                                          The bar scanning and digital photography           First and foremost, the organization was able
inspection labor costs by                 capabilities of the solution make it possible      to accomplish its primary goal of compliance
roughly $100,000, while                   for an inspector to log the particular sign and    with the MTO’s sign inspection guidelines.
                                          take one or more photographs of its                The solution has also reduced GTAA costs,
being able to redeploy                    condition. The user is then able to classify the   provided a significant boost in operational
our multi-person work                     type of sign; its location code (for example,      efficiency, and enhanced the availability and
                                          highway or bridge); and details related to         usefulness of its sign data.
crews to more critical                    condition, support posts, mounting
assignments.‖                             components, and traffic flow. All of these         Reduced Sign Inspection Labor Costs by 45
                                          details are documented using check boxes           Percent
Peter Wiszniewski, Supervisor, Sign and   and drop-down menus on the Tablet PC,              The mobile solution is saving considerable
Graphics Department, Greater Toronto      eliminating handwritten notes and manual           operational costs for GTAA. Because the
Airports Authority                        data entry. The information logged, as well as     mobile devices are extremely easy to use,
                                          specific GPS coordinates and a time-stamp of       GTAA has been able to hand the job of sign
                                          the inspection, are included with each entry.      cataloging and inspections to a single
                                                                                             contractor. These tasks were previously
                                          ―Windows Mobile 5.0, SQL Server 2005               handled by multi-person crews from the GTAA
                                          Mobile Edition, and the .NET Compact               Pavement and Grounds Department as well
                                          Framework provide an exceptional foundation        as Sign Shop personnel.
                                          on which to build a mobile asset tracking
                                          solution,‖ says La. ―From a user standpoint, it    ―We crunched the numbers, and the results
                                          is extremely easy to capture, upload, and          are impressive,‖ Wiszniewski reveals.
                                          retrieve information. We can also create           ―Altogether, we have slashed our sign
                                          robust reports for planning, operational, and      inspection labor costs by roughly
                                          legal purposes. From a technology                  CDN$100,000 [U.S.$89,289], while being
                                          standpoint, the solution is very reliable and      able to redeploy our multi-person work crews
                                          everything is seamlessly connected, from the       to more critical assignments.‖
                                          mobile devices to the database servers to the
                                          workstations through which we access               Doubled Sign Inspection Efficiency
                                          signage information and create reports.‖           The mobile solution has also dramatically
                                                                                             improved sign inspection productivity. ―In the
                                          Getting a handle on GTAA’s numerous signs          past, a two-person crew could inspect only 30
                                          has been a multipart undertaking. All of           signs per day,‖ Wiszniewski notes. ―Today,
                                          Toronto Pearson’s 2,000 road signs have            with our new mobile solution, a single
                                          been given bar codes and successfully logged       contractor can perform 60 inspections each
                                          in the ABOUTIME application. The ASIS              day. And the level of detail afforded by the
                                          project team indicates that regular, biannual      new solution is far greater than that of our
                                          inspections of these road signs, which are of      previous inspections.‖
                                          utmost concern to the MTO, are now
                                          underway. In addition, GTAA is in the process
For More Information                                            Due to the efficiency increase delivered by          departments within GTAA, including electrical,
For more information about Microsoft                            the mobile solution, sign maintenance is now         plumbing, and sewer system teams, are
products and services, call the Microsoft                       streamlined and biannual inspections are             considering the mobile solution for their
Sales Information Center at (800) 426-                          now in progress. Also, scheduling repair work        assets. And it is being used as a model for
9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft                             will soon become much faster, thanks to an           other transportation organizations in
Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-                         automated work order plug-in that will be            Canada,‖ he says. ―A mobile asset tracking
2495. Customers who are deaf or hard-of-                        added to the ABOUTIME application.                   solution that boosts efficiency and saves
hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone                                                                           costs has limitless possibilities.‖
(TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234 in                         Enhanced Availability and Value of
the United States or (905) 568-9641 in                          Information                                          Microsoft Windows Mobile
Canada. Outside the 50 United States and                        The sign tracking and inspection solution has        Windows Mobile brings the power of the
Canada, please contact your local                               also helped boost the visibility and                 Windows® operating system to mobile
Microsoft subsidiary. To access information                     usefulness of GTAA’s sign information. In            devices, helping businesses and their mobile
using the World Wide Web, go to:                                addition to sign shop personnel, GTAA traffic        employees stay connected while on the go.
www.microsoft.com                                               engineers, maintenance crews, risk and loss          Windows Mobile runs mobile versions of
                                                                control managers, airport planners, and              Microsoft programs, including Microsoft
For more information about Irwin                                technical datacenter workers are now                 Office Outlook® Mobile, Internet Explorer
Consulting Services, call (877) 500-5227                        accessing and making use of the information          Mobile, Pocket MSN®, Windows Media®
or visit the Web site at:                                       using the ABOUTIME application. As the               Player Mobile, and Microsoft Office Word
www.irwincs.com                                                 visibility and consumption of this data grows,       Mobile, PowerPoint® Mobile, and Excel®
                                                                so too does its value.                               Mobile. With Windows Mobile, information
For more information about Greater                                                                                   workers get powerful software combined with
Toronto Airports Authority, call (416) 776-                     Historical documentation and information             the familiarity of Windows. Combined with
3000 or visit the Web site at:                                  goes a long way when it comes to satisfying          available service plans and connectivity
www.gtaa.com                                                    MTO guidelines as well as proactively                options, Windows Mobile–based devices,
                                                                mitigating against risk exposure. GTAA is now        available from 42 device makers and 68
                                                                in full MTO compliance with updated                  mobile operators in 48 countries, can be
                                                                accounting of its many signs—including               used to make calls, send e-mail and instant
                                                                inspection timestamps, digital photographs,          messages, surf the Web, and access critical
                                                                GPS coordinates, bar code scans, and details         business information even when users are
                                                                relating to sign condition and maintenance           away from the office.
                                                                history.
                                                                                                                     More information about Windows Mobile can
                                                                Useful Model for Other Teams                         be found at:
                                                                According to Irwin, the sign tracking and            www.microsoft.com/windowsmobile
                                                                inspection solution is being recognized and
                                                                considered by others. ―Additional


                                                                 Software and Services                           Hardware
                                                                  Products                                         Trimble GeoXT Pocket PC
                                                                   − Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Mobile               Motion LE1600 Tablet PC
                                                                     Edition
                                                                   − Windows Mobile 5.0                          Partner
                                                                   − Windows XP Tablet PC Edition                   Irwin Consulting Services
                                                                  Technologies
                                                                   − Microsoft .NET Compact Framework
This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT
MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS
SUMMARY.

Document published March 2007

				
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