Anoto Group, the inventor of Anoto Digital Pen and Paper technology, announces British Airways’ innovative use of Anoto’s Digital Pen and Paper technology that is helping British Airways to keep to its flight schedule at London’s Heathrow airport. Anoto’s digital pens enable aircraft dispatchers to communicate mission critical information securely from airside directly to the control center, ultimately allowing the plane to take off on time.
Lynda Findlay, senior co-ordinator, planning and control, at British Airways commented: “The digital pens and the new system have modernized the way we do things and brought us one step closer to a harmonized way of working, at T5.”
Anoto’s digital pen and paper was chosen over several other technologies for its portability and long battery life. In addition, the paper maintains the ability to have signed documentation, which is required to meet Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulations and audit purposes.
In the past, dispatchers had to transmit flight load information to the operations team prior to take-off using a variety of “slow-tech” methods with the associated risk of missed take-off slots, disgruntled passengers and possible fines.
With the new TRIP (TurnRound Intelligent Pens) system, the process now takes only seconds: dispatchers simply use a digital pen, which contains a small, built-in infrared camera that reads handwritten information and transfers it to the airline’s back-office systems via a mobile phone.
How it works
Dispatchers fill in a form that is printed on an almost invisible dot pattern, which the digital pen can read. The information stored by the pen is then transferred via a Bluetooth-enabled mobile handset to the airline’s IT systems, where it is processed and made accessible to the pilot and the dispatch team as a secure webpage. This process only takes a few seconds, speeding up the dispatching procedure while also making it more manageable: as dispatchers never have to leave the aircraft-side during the turnaround; they can supervise the whole operation at all times.
“In addition to the user-friendly, robust and highly mobile nature of the solution itself, the instant feedback that the handset gives the turnaround coordinator is a really useful feature. It provides certainty that the information has been transmitted properly — in an area where such certainty is an absolute ‘Must’ for BA,” says Neil Clark, Head of IT, Airline Operations, British Airways Information Management.
The TRIP system was designed and implemented by Anoto partner Sysnet. It has been operational at London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports for the last twelve months and deployment was extended to Heathrow’s T5 building when British Airways moved its operation to the new terminal earlier this year.