Narita International Airport improves service with IBM Domino mobile apps

IBM Notes and Domino apps available on tablets improve agent productivity

Published on 05-Aug-2013

"We have upgraded to the current version of IBM Notes and keep using it because it is so user friendly. It was natural for us to convert our familiar Notes application for the web and make it usable in mobile environments." - Masamoto Mayuzumi, Senior Manager, IT planning, IT Development and Planning Office, Project Promotion Division, Narita International Airport

Customer:
Narita International Airport

Industry:
Travel & Transportation

Deployment country:
Japan

Solution:
Mobile, Social Business for Customer Service, Social Business

IBM Business Partner:
● Otsuka Corporation

Overview

Narita International Airport (NAA) is a major international hub connecting 35 countries and 98 cities. Approximately 76 airlines conduct more than 212,000 flights and transport more than 33 million passengers annually. NAA is located in Narita, Chiba, Japan and employs more than 700 people.

Business need:
Narita International Airport (NAA) wanted to improve customer service to travelers by giving mobile customer service agents access to the same information that agents had on their PCs at fixed information counters.

Solution:
NAA converted the existing IBM® Notes® and Domino® applications to the web for mobile access on tablet computers, enabling agents on patrol to more quickly and effectively assist travelers.

Benefits:
IT staff gained efficiency by needing to update just one application that served both for tablets and PCs; mobile agents provided better service; and travelers experienced increased satisfaction with the airport.

Case Study

Narita International Airport (NAA) is a major international hub connecting 35 countries and 98 cities. Approximately 76 airlines conduct more than 212,000 flights and transport more than 33 million passengers annually. NAA is located in Narita, Chiba, Japan and employs more than 700 people.

Improving traveler satisfaction with mobile apps

A key airport operations goal is to satisfy travelers by providing excellent services. This is especially important at NAA due to the fierce competition for passengers among international airports. “Narita International Airport needs to become the 'Airport of Choice' by meeting the needs of diverse airlines and creating unique value for travelers,” says Masamoto Mayuzumi, Senior Manager IT planning, IT Development and Planning Office, Project Promotion Division, Narita International Airport.

“Excellent service requires top-notch physical facilities and transportation, of course, but information technology must be world class as well. In response NAA launched i-Airport, a project aimed at harnessing information technology to improve traveler services,” says Tatsuya Hida, Supervisor of IT planning, IT Development and Planning Office, Project Promotion Division. Of particular interest was the possibility of giving patrolling customer service agents the same “live” information their colleagues had at fixed information counters.

“Agents at information counters were able to provide useful information from their PCs,” says Chihiro Koyama, Supervisor of passenger services, Passenger Terminal Management Department, Business Division at NAA, “but patrolling agents needed better information. They were responding to traveler inquiries with memorized information, and by telephoning counter-based staff. But this is inefficient and it can be difficult to explain complicated directions verbally.”

NAA executives agreed that tablet computers wirelessly linked to an intranet could provide mobile access to airport information and schedules. Agents could use the tablet screens to show helpful images and maps when directing travelers. They could also offer immediate details of lost-and-found items and provide real-time transportation schedules.

The solution: Linking tablets to web-based information

Once tablets were chosen, NAA officials considered which information to deliver and how to mobilize it. For assistance they brought in Otsuka Corporation, an IBM Business Partner expert in application development. The team chose some existing apps for mobilization: Passenger Information, Lost and Found, Airline Information, and Customer Feedback. All were being accessed using IBM Notes and populated from an IBM Domino application.

Although the apps worked well for counter agents using PCs, they needed to be rewritten for the web to provide mobile access, and the information displayed had to be adapted to the smaller tablet screen. Also of concern was ease of use—the new apps should have a familiar look and feel. Other requirements were fast development time and reasonable cost.

NAA and Otsuka executives evaluated whether to develop web-based apps from scratch using HTML or similar technology, or to utilize the built-in web-conversion capabilities of IBM Notes and Domino. As NAA was a satisfied Notes/Domino user for many years, they decided to convert the existing Notes and Domino database to web format and from there develop the tablet apps.

“IBM Notes is so strongly connected to our work that we would not be able to operate without it,” says Mayuzumi. “We have upgraded to the current version and keep using it because it is so user friendly. It was natural for us to convert our familiar Notes database for the web and make it usable in mobile environments.”

The decision has paid off handsomely. The application and database conversion went quickly, as did customization for the tablet interface. “Compared to creating a new system using HTML or something similar, it was much easier to use the capability in IBM Notes for web conversion,” says Maya Nishizuka, application specialist at OSK. “Production costs were lower as well.”

A pilot project enabled mobile agents to field-test the apps and provide useful feedback via the tablets themselves. Now that the apps are completed, agents find them easy to use because they are quite similar in look and feel to the PC versions. The entire project took just three months from start to finish. In fact, NAA officials are so pleased that they plan to mobilize more information for agents on patrol. They also seek to expand tablet usage to security staff and NAA's affiliated companies and business partners.

“For NAA to be the 'Airport of Choice', it is imperative that we improve the productivity and consistency of each employee,” says Mayuzumi “NAA is considering web mobilization of applications beyond traveler guidance to help achieve this goal.”

Mobile agents deliver exceptional service

Web-based tablet apps for agents on patrol deliver considerable business benefits.

Because the tablet apps draw information from the same database that desktop agents use, IT employees need only update a single database. This enhances their efficiency.

Patrolling agents now deliver superior service. They can answer questions and guide travelers by consulting their tablets anywhere in the terminal. They can also show travelers graphical information, rather than having to remember it all or telephone desk agents.

The power of web-enabled tablets improves the overall airport experience for travelers. Besides providing agents with real-time information, connected tablets turn agents into airport “sensors” wherever they are, able to capture and report issues such as traveler congestion, maintenance issues and emergencies in progress.

“Customers are pleased that we are providing accurate and user-friendly facility guidance, as well as speedy information concerning lost-and-found items,” says Mayuzumi. “We consider this improved convenience an indication of our project's overall success.”

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Software:
IBM Notes, IBM Domino

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2013 IBM Corporation Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America July 2013 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Notes, and Domino are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided.