HomePortfolioA Prototype for RFID-Based Baggage Tracking in Real Time

A Prototype for RFID-Based Baggage Tracking in Real Time

Cloud-Native
IoT
Microservices

An international airline turned to Altoros to develop a baggage tracking platform, reduce costs on mishandled bags, and ultimately improve passenger experience—complying with Resolution 753 by IATA.

A Prototype for RFID-Based Baggage Tracking in Real Time

About the project

Brief results of the collaboration:

  • After getting sufficient competences, the customer achieved compliance with the mandatory Resolution 753 by IATA through building an RFID-based baggage tracking platform.
  • With the delivered prototype, the airline was able to identify necessary functionality of such a platform, check its feasibility, secure data, and choose a technical stack to save 2x on critical processes.
  • After validating the system’s feasibility, the airline moved on to building an MVP that then served millions of domestic passengers and 100,000 expected visitors of the Olympics.

The customer

The customer is an international airline headquartered in Japan. A member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the airline connects 340+ airports across more than 50 countries. In 2019, the company served 27 million domestic passengers, and its revenue amounted to $13+ billion.

The need

According to SITA, an aviation communications and technology company, 24 million bags are mishandled annually. The potential loss for airlines may reach $2 billion. That is why, in 2016, IATA issued Resolution 753, encouraging companies to comply by 2018.

Tokyo was to host the Olympic games with expected 100,000+ overseas spectators and athletes. Being a leading airline in the country, the customer also aimed to deliver flawless service and minimize baggage mishandling for domestic passengers and tourists.

Cooperating with Altoros, a member of the Smart Airline Baggage Management Testbed, the airline looked for in-depth consultancy around building a baggage tracking system, potential pitfalls, and the solutions to address them.

The challenges

Under the project, the team at Altoros had to address the following issues:

  • In 2016, IATA set out a mandatory Resolution 753 to put RFID-based baggage tracking in place and minimize baggage loss. The customer had to comply with the resolution in just two years.
  • RFID sensors are commonly used to track bag IDs connected to boarding passes with personal data. For the reason, privacy was pivotal.
  • As the system was to deal with large volumes of data in real time, the ability to scale and withstand high-load spikes was critical.

The solution

Through participation in the baggage tracking testbed along with GE, Oracle, etc., Altoros has developed a customizable prototype for airlines, passengers, and airports. To demonstrate it and share knowledge, our team analyzed the company’s requirements and designed a 5-day training. The agenda covered Resolution 753, a microservices architecture, best practices of CI/CD, and the intricacies of operating cloud-native platforms in production.

Day 1. Around compliance with Resolution 753, our consultants compiled recommendations on the mandatory tracking checkpoints within the airport. Then, developers at Altoros demonstrated how to use RESTful APIs to share the collected data between all the interested parties and urged about using a common data format (e.g., XML). The team also identified the steps at which passengers should get push notifications and how to implement them.

Day 2–3. Engineers at Altoros built a prototype on GE’s Predix because of its mature tooling that simplifies microservices management, automates health monitoring and vulnerability detection, as well as delivers enterprise-grade security out of the box. In addition, the team at Altoros explained how to build a cloud-agnostic solution with any platform of choice and reviewed the options to use in production (e.g., open-source Cloud Foundry, IBM Bluemix, etc.).

Day 4–5. Then, the developers showcased how a microservices architecture helps to lay the foundation for scalability and high availability. The prototype comprised 10 microservices: a message queue, the tracking and analytics databases, etc. For advanced data analytics in real time, the team at Altoros demonstrated Oracle BI. In addition, the instructors consulted the customer on using RFID sensors instead of traditional labels to reduce costs on tracking by at least 2x. During the training, the team at Altoros also shared best practices around continuous integration/delivery, blue-green and canary deployments, etc.

Passenger Experience

The outcome

Relying on the expertise gained, the airline was able to comply with the mandatory IATA R753—by building a RFID-driven baggage tracking system before 2018. Thanks to the delivered prototype, the company identified the features to develop and checked their feasibility before serving millions of passengers during the Olympics. In addition, the customer adopted the technologies that saved at least 2x on workflows.

Finally, the customer moved further with a minimum viable product, enabling such functionality as home baggage delivery, transport booking, navigation services, etc.

Technology stack

Platform

Cloud Foundry, GE’s Predix

Programming languages

JavaScript

Frameworks and tools

Oracle BI, React.js, Node.js, RabbitMQ, Redux

Database

Redis

27M

airline
passengers

2x

savings with
RFID tags

10

micro-
services

Contact us

Let’s Talk

Ryan Meharg

Ryan Meharg

Cloud Solutions Architect

ryan.m@altoros.com650 265-2266

4900 Hopyard Rd. Suite 100 Pleasanton, CA 94588