Tracking and optimised management of 2,200 baggage trolleys at the Venice Airport with RTLS
The solution for localization and monitoring of the baggage trolleys proposed by Ubiquicom (and Present) enables the service provided by the personnel for recovering the trolleys to be made more efficient and to offer a punctual service to the millions of passengers who transit through Venice airport
SAVE S.p.A., which was founded in 1987, is the holding company of a Group which operates mainly in the management of airports, in particular in the development of infrastructures and the network of flights of the Venice-Treviso System, which in 2019 exceeded more than 14 million passengers between the two airports.
The Present Group is active in the ICT market along the entire value chain of IT services. The technical and functional skills present within its organization allow the design, production and management of Solutions and Services in the ICT sector to support Digital Transformation with a large and integrated offer. The services provided cover the thematic areas of Business Solutions, Managed Services and Contact Interaction Services. With approximately 1,500 employees and a turnover in 2020 of more than 100 million euros, the Present Group has a geographical presence throughout Italy and main offices in Milan, Rome, Turin, Perugia, Bologna, Padova and Naples.
Venice airport, the third largest in Italy in terms of turnover and the fourth largest for number of passengers, has 2,200 baggage trolleys which can be freely used inside the airport buildings and in the parking areas. Special teams operate within the airport with the task of recovering trolleys abandoned by the passengers in the departures zone and in the parking areas so as to constantly guarantee the availability of a sufficient number of trolleys in each of the 25 pick-up bays. This operation was carried out on the basis of visual control and without digital support or monitoring tools.
The requirement of the company was to be able to support this activity and make it more efficient by means of an adequate tool which was able to constantly monitor the number of trolleys available in each bay and localize the abandoned trolleys throughout the entire airport area in order to guide the search and facilitate the recovery.
The characteristics of the project area were extremely complex as it consisted of very diverse zones, indoor and outdoor, on various levels, with transit ramps between the levels, various types of interference, vehicles in transit, long covered corridors and open areas without the possibility of installing antennas or power supply. The requested accuracy was linked to the possibility of identifying the trolley once it was nearby: a tolerance of a few metres was therefore tolerated. However, a good accuracy was requested in identifying the number of trolleys present in each bay.
The Solution proposed by Ubiquicom and Present
Ubiquicom and Present set up a solution for direct localization of the trolleys based on the Ubiquicom Locator platform and on activetags which used the potential of the mesh networks for transmitting the field data necessary for localization towards a network of gateways distributed over the entire area and connected to the localization server, guaranteeing, at the same time, reduced consumptions.
In order to support the localization, the area was equipped with an infrastructure of approximately 500 fixed tags with the dual function of supporting the communication flows towards the gateways and providing the references for the localization. The 2,200 trolleys were equipped with a fixed tag using a shell designed ad hoc and 25 gateways were installed in the area equipped with data SIMs and powered by the mains or by means of photovoltaic panels and storage batteries.
The 2,200 tags were configured to vary the period of communication depending on the status detected by the on-board movement sensors to guarantee reduction of the consumptions when the trolley is stationary and greater localization frequency during the use. An ad hoc Web-based supervision and control interface has also been developed with all the monitoring and analysis tools required by the project. Lastly, a mobile application was developed to support the maintenance of the trolley tags and the infrastructure of fixed tags as well as for searching for the position of a specific trolley
The project was started successfully on 1,400 trolleys and then expanded to the entire fleet after just a few months. The accuracy of the localization was judged to be sufficient to support the phases for recovery of abandoned trolleys and, after a fine tuning and monitoring phase, the numerical data of the trolley counter present in each bay was found to correspond reliably with the actual figure. The Web monitoring interface was enriched during the test phases for the solution and now implements all the tools requested by the customer and useful for satisfying the customer’s needs.
“The collaboration with Ubiquicom has enabled Present to accept the challenge posed by SAVE and to implement, with the suitable technological support, a project which appeared ambitious and challenging due to the innovative impact contained in the implementation requirements. The role of Present’s System Integrator guaranteed control of the project up to its final test and coordination of all the activities supporting the implementation. Being able to satisfy the needs of the Customer with a proposal which constitutes an example of the application of highly innovative technologies and which required highly complex design and setting up activities for the overall system was an enormous satisfaction.” declared Paolo Sito, Commercial Manager of Present and implementation coordinator.
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