Take services for persons with reduced mobility (PRM) to the next level with Rainbow CPaaS and LBS.
Take services for persons with reduced mobility (PRM) to the next level with Rainbow CPaaS and LBS. Everyone should be able to travel by air, no matter what physical challenges they may have. That is a fundamental right for any passenger.
More and more airlines and airports must follow regulations regarding persons with reduced mobility. These services for people with disabilities are meant to provide passengers a comfortable and worry-free experience, helping them to avoid flight delays while reducing additional costs for airlines generated by the inefficiency of the service.
There are international regulations that are intended to reinforce the PRM passengers’ rights in all forms of transport. For example, the European rule EC N° 1107/2006 and the American DOT rule title 14 CFR part 382, state that airports are responsible for providing any required assistance, free of charge, to PRM passengers from the time they enter the airport premises until they board the plane or leave the airport, to have access to air travel like anyone else.
PRM service delivery
The process behind PRM service delivery is complex as it involves several stakeholders such as the airlines, airport operator, service provider, disability rights organizations and the PRM passenger.
Efficient PRM services are key for ensuring flights leave on time and that passengers with special needs have been served according to PRM regulations. Close collaboration between stakeholders is fundamental for providing successful PRM services.
The PRM service faces a lot of challenges including on-time delivery, quality of service, unpredictable schedule changes and qualification of the passenger’s requested assistance to determine the type of assistance required. The PRM service is quite important because the plane’s turn-around time depends on the efficiency of the service, and the plane cannot be cleaned, loaded, or new passengers boarded until the PRM passengers have disembarked. As a result, the plane’s daily planned schedule will be at risk, impacting the airport and the airline’s global schedule.
PRM numbers are increasing
In 2016, Heathrow airport reported that approximately 1.2 million PRM passengers traveled through the hub. In fact, the number of PRM passengers has grown significantly higher than the overall passenger growth. For example, while European airports have registered a 3% annual passenger growth, the PRM growth is around 10 to 15% (International Airport Review, May 25, 2017).
Airports and service providers need to be ready to meet this growth with sufficient qualified staff and implement measures to improve their PRM services, such as enhancing the coordination and collaboration with airlines to enrich the experience of PRM passengers.
Innovative technology improving PRM services
Visionary airports and service providers are facing those challenges by embracing new technologies that optimize and provide better quality service, thereby reducing the wait time for PRM passengers and assuring on-time boarding and flight departures for airlines. The innovative technology is intended to improve the operation efficiencies of the PRM service process by providing fluid work flow between the control center and PRM agents, and at the same time enhance the assistance for disabled people by improving the booking assistance process. Then, when at the airport improved asset location, service access, better guidance, and real-time interaction with the service provider.
Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) provides two technology pillars to enable real-time multi-channel collaboration through a CPaaS solution and location-based services to improve the PRM service. Those solutions are integrated as a complementary element of the whole PRM service.
ALE enhances PRM services with CPaaS
The first ALE solution, Alcatel-Lucent Rainbow™ CPaaS, integrates with the business environment to provide communication services such as chat, file sharing, voice and video over any device to enrich the PRM agent applications. Rainbow also leverages artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots, system databases and analytics to automate and simplify operational processes and create new services.
The Rainbow CPaaS enables the PRM process improving pre-travel activities such as qualifying the PRM passenger’s request, automating the service booking through chatbots, and offering direct communications with airlines. At the airport, it eases the collaboration between the dispatching center and the PRM agent, providing real-time information to the PRM passenger, and escalating any issues to the service provider. At the post-travel stage, it facilitates the communications between the quality management and the airport.
Indoor wayfinding and asset tracking
The second one, the Alcatel-Lucent OmniAccess® Stellar Location-based Service (LBS), provides services such as indoor location geofencing, geolocation, geo-notifications, wayfinding and asset tracking based on BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) and Wi-Fi infrastructure.
Stellar LBS enhances the PRM service by offering passengers automatic notification when they are at the airport, self-service wheelchairs and wayfinding to their points of interest. It also helps the PRM agent in locating the PRM asset and automating milestone validations. At the same time the dispatcher’s work can be optimized by better assignment of the mission, enriching the situational awareness information.
With Rainbow CPaaS and Stellar LBS, ALE transforms the experience of PRM passengers and operational staff to something easier, handy and comfortable.