Rio Airport Taps the IoT to Brace for the Olympics
In August, some 90,000 fans will pass through RIOgalea?o Airport in Rio de Janeiro every day on their way to and from the Summer Olympics, and a new mobile app will help them navigate the airport’s busy hallways, shops and terminals. The mobile app is slick and easy to use (see below), and passengers should be pleased.
But they’ll have no idea about the Herculean effort that went into it: a massive network overhaul, a mobile app appealing to diverse cultures, Internet of Things (IoT) technology in the background, and mountains of data used to improve the customer experience—all tied together under a ticking clock.
“The time frame was very critical due to the size of the endeavor and the deadline for the Olympic Games,” says Alexandre Villeroy, CIO of RIOgalea?o Airport.
Let the games begin: first up, a new network
Despite fears of the Zika virus outbreak—26,000 Zika virus cases have been reported in Rio de Janeiro this year—and famous athletes withdrawing from the games, the Summer Olympics is still expected to draw 500,000 people to Brazil. Many of them will step foot in RIOgalea?o Airport and become potential mobile app users.
The airport’s legacy network, though, wouldn’t have been able to support the mobile initiative at this scale, so the IT team needed to do a forklift upgrade. Villeroy chose Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Aruba network technology and channel partner Ziva. Aruba boasted one of the best Gigabit wireless solutions, and its technology could support different operational protocols.
Villeroy and his team spent nine months, from lab testing to services migration, installing the new network backbone. The IT team ran several tests on a new networking protocol at HPE labs in Palo Alto, Calif.
When it comes to supporting a mobile app, an airport’s network has to be on top of its game. “Airports are challenging due to density—many people with many devices, many in constant motion—structural challenges that can impede radio frequency, and other potential sources of interference,” says IDC analyst Nolan Greene.
These devices don’t automatically connect to the best access point, resulting in slower speeds and unreliable connections. Aruba software, however, keeps mobile clients connected to the best access point as they roam within the Aruba wireless network, says Pavel Radda, senior director of corporate communications at Aruba.
Aruba software also gives IT teams an advantage by monitoring metrics and predicting network behaviors.
“With the massive number of devices connecting to the network, IT teams need detailed visibility into the access layer—at the user, device, and app level—to keep productivity high and ensure business continuity,” Radda says. “Aruba’s network visibility technology can monitor a broad set of metrics proactively, such as the time it takes for a mobile device to associate with a Wi-Fi radio, authenticate to a RADIUS server, obtain an IP address through DHCP, and resolve names for DNS services.”
On the mobile app front, RIOgalea?o Airport is using Aruba’s Mobile Engagement, more than 3,000 Aruba beacons and the Meridian Mobile App Platform. The airport’s marketing team led the mobile user experience design, while Accenture Digital helped with mobile app development, design and integration.
To read more, check out the full article in sister publication Five2ndWindow.