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Changi Aiport's Control Tower at dusk. Credit: Changi Airport Group.
Faced with a tight manpower market, the Singapore government has always emphasised the need to raise labour productivity as it is deemed as a key factor to achieving economic growth .
The Changi Airport Group (CAG) has responded to this by innovatively using various technologies to improve operational efficiency, to ultimately improve the customer experience. For instance, CAG developed and deployed One Changi - a centralised platform that allows its organisation, airport partners and tenants to collaborate and share information - to ensure that customer services are managed at a consistently high level, while improving productivity.
Besides that, CAG is also leveraging video analytics technology to better manage trolleys within the transit areas of the airport. Called the Automated Trolley Management System (ATMS), the project was named as a highly recommended project of the 2016 CIO Asia Awards.
'Smartifying' trolley management
Since many passengers travel into and out of Changi Airport with hand-carried luggage, CAG said that it is important to have sufficient trolleys at trolley docking stations as and when needed. Trolley retrievers are thus required to manually ensure that all docking points were stacked with a fixed number of trolleys at all times.
However, this supply-based operations model does not guarantee that there are enough trolleys at the arrival gates. Especially during the holiday periods, when flights may land one after another, certain docking points will experience shortage of trolleys. When this happens, trolley retrievers will need to quickly collect stray trolleys and replenish the affected docking points.
This supply-driven process is thus not only labour-intensive, but is also inefficient as trolley retrievers are not able to prioritise their work and be proactive.
As such, the ATMS aims to "transform the nature of the trolley operations in the transit areas from a supply-based system to a dynamic demand-based model", said CAG.
The ATMS is made up of three components: the wireless trolley monitoring stations (WTMS), the central management system (CMS), and mobile handheld device/user workstation.
Permanently mounted at every trolley docking point in the transit area, each WTMS is equipped with an IP camera with video analytic capabilities. This allows CAG to capture trolley images and identify the number of trolleys at each trolley docking station at any time.
According to CAG, the camera is discreetly positioned at an appropriate height so that it can accurately identify at least 25 trolleys. If there are insufficient trolleys at a particular docking point, the status indicator will light up to alert trolley retrievers of the low trolley count.
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