The AOSNice framework is a homogeneous application integration environment that includes all the basic components capable of managing airport operating data. The individual applications are effectively decoupled both in terms of functionality and technological aspects, thanks to the presence of integrated services available on a generalized and shared communication bus.
The modular and flexible architecture of AOSNice provides the following basic infrastructure components:
- AOSNice Kernel, consisting of: Airport Operation Database (AODB) & Foundation Modules
- Multichannel Distribution Services
- Airport Service Bus
AOSNice Kernel being the core component of the framework includes all the basic modules constituting an integrated application environment. It includes the central airport repository, and a set of specific services called Foundation Modules. Examples of Foundation Modules are Allocation Middleware, Diagnostic Management, DCS gateway, Airport Desktop, Airport Configuration Manager, User access security, Peripheral Management, Flight Programming and applications used to configure the centralized airport resources.
One of the most interesting features of the AOSNice framework is the capability of performing a multichannel distribution of the information to the users. Particularly, a rich set of tools allows selecting the most suitable media in respect of the specific sort of information that should be transmitted to both airport staff and passengers. Multichannel Distribution Services currently available allow the use of the following channels: Display Unit Multicasting | SMS | Web Portal | E-Mail | Fax | Wireless | Voice.
Each application to be integrated in the AOSnice world can exploit the Airport Service bus aimed at making available a notify & subscribing approach to put in place a loose coupled integration. Even if the Airport Service Bus is a really strong tool to put in place high levels of integration among airport processes, there are some areas where something more is necessary to build automatic processes, letting several systems operating together to accomplish airport coordination tasks and reach a whole airport supervision. Exploiting Business Process logics, it is possible to build up an Airport Supervisor that can simplify hard tasks related to the systems collaboration in a comprehensive streamline.
BASIC INFRASTRUCTURE COMPONENTS
The Kernel consists of two primary elements:
- Airport Operation Database
- Foundation Modules
Each airport has different critical resources, which must be shared among different typologies of applications and users. Functionalities available for each resource range from the simple knowledge of the centralised infrastructures to the maintenance management, the satisfaction of the information needs, up to their allocation and planning. The resources managed at a centralized level that typically belong to the Airport Operation Database (AODB), are:
- Check-in Counters | Gates | Fingers | Stands | Conveyor belts
- Intelligent peripherals and devices (Display Units, Cameras, and so on)
- Airport Logistics Areas | Carriers | Aircrafts | Flights | Systems Applications and Users | DCS | Alarms
Several Resource Configurators allow to define all sorts of centralised resources, both infrastructural and logical, such as check-in counters, gates, stands, flights, carriers, and so on. The AODB created by Software Design should not be considered as a simple central database. It can be regarded as the AOS framework coordinator, equipped with a set of configuration and management tools, called Foundation Modules. The AODB makes also available an interface for the transparent access to the data processed, implementing a real centralised Information Broker.
AIRPORT SERVICE BUS
The Airport Service Bus supports all the airport areas and allows all the systems in operation to acquire and exchange real time information and in a safe and reliable way. This avoids that the single subsystem has to manage multiple interfaces towards other producers or common information customers, avoiding in this way, the development of applications, interfaces, formats and files of dedicated data exchange.
The Airport Service Bus assures a high grade of flexibility and modularity and a mandatory asset to allow a controlled increase of the IT airport infrastructures. This allows to add new subsystems and to implement new functionalities, without having any impact on systems already in operation.
The Airport Service Bus provides a multi-standard Hub & Spoke notification channel that allows a strong integration among systems, although keeping a total uncoupling among them.
To establish a communication with other platform system, each application can operate only with the bus by means of following functions:
- require a subscription to the bus specifying event types needed
- send events on the bus specifying the type
- receive events belonging to types subscribed
Using the bus different systems and organizations within the airport will rely on it to support their business operations and processes, and to exchange information with each other. The Airport Service Bus allows loose coupled integration among all AOSnice solutions as well as external systems provided by third parties.
MULTICHANNEL DISTRIBUTION SERVICES
All these channels are supported by advanced technologies and specialised application services providing high-level interfaces that ‘hide’ the complex technologies employed.
The Multicasting Distribution Channel addressing the Display Units is characterised by specialised dissemination tools, called data sources, and by a multilayer presentation environment that makes Display Units capable of simultaneously showing information concerning different systems by using graphic layouts, prepared by airport operators, based on specific requirements of presentation on each device or in a particular airport area. At present, this channel allows the dispatching of flight information, messages to staff, planning to handling personnel, advertising messages, alarm and courtesy messages.
Conscious of the relevant importance of mobility within airport locations, Software Design realised a wireless distribution channel capable of effectively adapting itself to different types of wireless LAN available. By using these channels, characterised by functions able to optimize operating performances (thanks to communication logics based on maximum information compression, and control tools for a correct application data reception), the applications can reach a higher usability, by porting the MMI interfaces to laptop and palm devices.
As an example, it is currently possible to dispatch information concerning the planning of ramp activities, manage on-line the interaction needed to start and stop the handling services, acquire the lost&found baggage files in remote mode, allow control operations at terminal and on the ramp in on-line mode, etc.
User Manager, whilst respecting the safety and security rules compliant with privacy regulations, it allows to configure the Users which can use different systems, and define operational roles enabling the access to data and functionalities.
Airport desktop represents the sole interface that users have to access the applications, and operates in tight connection with the User Manager, with the goal to provide the applications with all the information needed to protect the functions and the data related to the privileges linked to the user profile. It can also act as an interface element between all the client/server applications.
Alarm Manager allows that the failures occurring on hardware systems and applications are collected in a central repository, and distributed to all the applications subscribed, via real-time notifications, and to the enabled operators, via e-mail and SMS.