Europe’s busiest airport turns to Microsoft technologies to look to the future

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Heathrow Europe’s busiest Airport is about to get an upgrade with a third runway, and Microsoft is assisting with its technology. Around 78 million passengers passed through its terminals in 2017, and with a planned upgrade, we would expect to see at least 130 million.

Heathrow’s key strategies are big data and analytics as it’s a power user of the Microsoft Cloud which holds Azure, Power BI, Office 365 and Windows 10. 200,000+ passengers move daily through the airport, so they need to have a reliable system to cope with the load.

The airport also wants to get its teams to communicate more efficiently and connect all the data with Power BI. Power BI collects all the data, and you can create workflows for pretty much anything you can imagine, but first off, you need to know how the Airport runs and creates a model of the flows and behaviors.

Skype-based bots are something the team is looking into today: what if you could ask bots what is your gate number? And it could tell you. Maybe Cortana is the future of Heathrow as well. They also want to spot for disruption and keep the queueing down to a minimum by providing passengers with a more calming experience with machine learning. It is difficult to predict when passengers arrive at the airport, so knowing this early on is one of the key indicators in Power BI.

Samit Saini is using PowerBI Apps today at Heathrow to look at the data which the airport is over capacity.

“The next stage will be using artificial intelligence. Microsoft is a critical ally in our digital transformation.”

The future of the third runway is AI, passing through checkpoints without fiddling with your bits of paper, and showing your boarding cards will soon be a thing of the past as the facial recognition will be able to spot you.

Heathrow is in competition with other European countries for the best customer experience that it can provide. Its revenue is nearly hitting £1.4bn, and passenger numbers increased 2.5% from last year’s figures.

Power BI will produce visual dashboards for both frontline workers and passengers, which make for rich data about weather patterns if to open up more baggage desks, more food outlets or cleaners for spilled drinks.

Organization is key to Heathrow’s success, and with a leading technology company like Microsoft, it’s going to hit new heights!