2 page Case Study
Posted: 11/19/2012
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Emirates Airline Uses In-Flight Mobile Application to Enhance Customer Service, Crew Management

To ensure safe and enjoyable travel, Emirates pursers, who lead the cabin crew, use a mission-critical application running on a laptop in the galley. IT staff redesigned the application to run on Windows 8 and deployed it on HP ElitePad 900 tablets. Pursers gained a touch-enabled application with passenger and cabin crew data on a device they can carry through the cabin to provide immediate, personal service and better monitor cabin crews’ performance.

Business Needs
Emirates is an international airline built on a foundation of outstanding customer service. To deliver the best in-flight experience, pursers use laptops running a proprietary application called Knowledge-driven In-flight Solution (KIS). “We don’t send a plane away without a KIS laptop onboard,” says Kevin Griffiths, Senior Vice President, Cabin Crew at Emirates. “With information on passengers and crew members, it is a mission-critical tool for our 900 pursers. They use it to brief the cabin crew before each flight so that the team can deliver an amazing customer experience, every time.”

However, the laptops were bulky to use on a full flight. “The laptops had to be unpacked and plugged in because they had a short battery life,” says Anita Grillo, Purser for Emirates. “We had to ask passengers to come back to the galley to verify information, and passengers would have to wait until we clicked through pages that were sometimes slow to load.”

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* For our latest version of Knowledge-driven In-flight Solution, we wanted an amazing user experience that met all the requirements of enterprise IT. With Windows 8, we met that challenge. *

Kevin Griffiths
Senior Vice President, Cabin Crew, Emirates

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Emirates standardized its corporate PCs and portable computers on the Windows 7 operating system, but it also decided to evaluate mobile computing platforms for a new version of KIS. “We wanted to provide pursers with a mobile device that has an exciting user interface optimized for touch, but we don’t compromise when it comes to security and robust, enterprise-ready IT in our offices or on our aircraft,” says Patrick Naef, Divisional Senior Vice President for IT at Emirates. “We needed an operating system that would integrate with our corporate IT environment and offer enterprise-class security and manageability. We decided to wait for the right mobile device and the right operating system for KIS.”

Solution
When Microsoft released the Windows 8 operating system, Emirates found its solution. The airline’s IT department was attracted to the enterprise-grade manageability and security of the latest desktop operating system. Pursers were excited that Windows 8 offered new ways to interact with KIS on a mobile device.

“We looked at other tablet platforms, but Windows 8 combines intuitive, multitouch computing with an operating system that matches how we manage our corporate IT environment,” says Naef. “We chose the HP ElitePad 900 tablet because it’s a sleek device that is rugged enough to stand up to in-flight use.”

Windows 8 improves upon the security and mobile device manageability features available in Windows 7. IT staff helps protect data on the tablets by using the BitLocker encryption technology in Windows 8. IT staff also uses Active Directory Domain Services—an integral feature of the Windows Server operating system—to manage the tablets remotely.

Developers easily transformed KIS into a touch-enabled, intuitive application. “We quickly rebuilt the application to include images and gestures,” says Griffiths. “Now pursers have a fast and fluid experience that simplifies how they access the information they need.”

IT staff used Windows To Go, a feature in Windows 8 Enterprise and Software Assurance. This feature enables the desktop image to start and run from storage devices and USB flash drives. IT staff loaded KIS onto USB drives and distributed them to 100 pursers who used the drives on their Windows 7 tablets at home before participating in an in-flight pilot project using the application running on Windows 8 and deployed on the HP tablets.

“We are starting our deployment in early 2013. Soon you will see a purser using KIS on an HP ElitePad 900 on every single Emirates flight,” says Griffiths. “We will also standardize all tablets running Windows 8 on the HP ElitePad 900.”

Benefits
With KIS running on Windows 8, Emirates introduced mobility and interactivity into a key business application and redefined in-flight service. “For our latest version of Knowledge-driven In-flight Solution, we wanted an amazing user experience that met all the requirements of enterprise IT,” says Griffiths. “With Windows 8, we met that challenge.”

Increased Productivity
Now that pursers can carry HP ElitePad 900 tablets, they have all the information they need about passengers and crew right at their fingertips. “I’m so impressed with the speed and clarity of Windows 8,” says Vincent Poncin, Purser at Emirates. “And the nine-hour battery life! Every purser will tell you that it’s a miracle. With Windows 8 and the HP tablet, I’m going to be more efficient at my job.”

Enhanced Teamwork
Before each scheduled departure, pursers must familiarize themselves with the 16 to 24 crew members from different parts of the world who will serve passengers on that flight. “With KIS on Windows 8, I can look at my team ahead of time and learn about their skills and experience, so it’s much easier to motivate everyone during the briefing to boost teamwork for the flight ahead,” says Grillo.

Improved Cabin Crew Reviews
Pursers also use the new solution to conduct more efficient crew reviews. Their feedback reaches business leaders through an email after each flight. Pursers can identify top performers and others who may require skills development so that Emirates can constantly improve its passenger service. Open and immediate communication between cabin crew and management about what worked well on a flight and what needed improvement helps Emirates boost its reputation for excellent customer service.

Improved Customer Service
Pursers use the new solution to expedite in-flight upgrades based on a passenger’s points, a key differentiator for the airline. The passenger can use the application to pick a seat. After the flight, pursers use a Wi-Fi or cellular connection to update the customer’s profile in the airline’s systems.

“Customer information is presented in easy snapshots. I know if it’s someone’s birthday, or what a passenger prefers to eat or drink,” says Grillo. “KIS running on Windows 8 enables me to deliver an amazing in-flight experience.”

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Solution Overview



Organization Size: 50000 employees

Organization Profile

Emirates is an international airline based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It operates more than 2,500 flights per week to 126 cities in 74 countries across six continents.


Hardware
  • HP ElitePad 900 Tablet PC


Software and Services
  • Windows 8 Enterprise
  • Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption
  • Microsoft Consulting Services
  • Client Solutions - Flexible Workstyle
  • Active Directory Domain Services
  • Windows To Go

Vertical Industries
Transportation

Country/Region
United Arab Emirates

Languages
English

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