The summer holiday getaway of 2018 hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. A UK airport's non-functional departure boards left travellers unable to find their flights. Meanwhile, an airline cancelled over 2,000 flights due to a computer glitch. One European city closed its airspace entirely.
Despite best efforts, staff struggled to cope with the lack of centralised network control and data sharing. Now, as projects such as the new Jewel Chagi Airport grow the concept of airports as not just simple transport hubs, but destinations and experiences in themselves, traveller expectations of smooth and convenient journeys are only going to climb. As a result, smooth running of everything from security to display boards is essential to airports’ brands and financial health. The technology behind these functions must work faultlessly.
Understandably, summer is a high-pressure time for the travel industry, and after last year, many are feeling the strain. In airports, the source – and saviour – of technical glitches often lies in the control room, which opens the debate of how organisations can prepare for these failures. The key is to prepare for peak by identifying potential causes for disruption and ensuring that control room teams are empowered to prevent and mitigate them quickly and efficiently.
Check physical resilience and reliability
Lately, the emphasis has been on protecting control room infrastructure against hackers, cybercrime and terrorism, with strong measures put in place to combat these major threats. However, we should never underestimate the need for physical resilience and reliability even in the face of often unavoidable malfunctions.
No matter how tough or durable a system is, most people accept that it will fail at some point in its lifecycle – whether through an internal weakness or because of a power outage. Single points of failure are parts of a system that can cause the entire system to stop working, should it fail. While these are undesirable, in many cases, eliminating a single point of failure is impossible.
Increasingly, organisations are recognising that they must have built-in contingency measures to address this eventuality. Total shutdown is unacceptable because of the chaos and danger it could cause, particularly in high-pressure sectors like consumer transport. Therefore, it’s best for organisations to either isolate the failure or invest in more reliable equipment.
With this in mind, here are three key considerations that we advise our customers to make to remove single points of failure: