Heathrow operates in a complex environment that is highly regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority within the auspices of the UK National Aviation Security Programme. The compliance to these regulations ensure that an airport operates in a controllable, safe and risk-free environment for passengers, employees and assets. As expected, these regulations highly impact the framework and tools under which the surveillance and patrols are conducted within the vast and versatile surroundings of such an organization.
The selection for the replacement of the obsolete Guard Tour System, which Heathrow had been using, was understandably not based on historical patrol needs but rather on a “for-a-ward thinking”, where data analysis & business intelligence play a key role in operations. Advanced Custom information and its real-time availability leads to better decision making adding to the value of the organization.
QR Patrol is a hosted managed service solution located in a data center in Germany. The user interface is primarily through a mobile device hosted application supported by a web browser back-end administration application. QR Patrol not only replaces the old system but also provides additional functionality that allows Heathrow to fully meet the regulatory requirements and exceed those requirements to preserve Heathrow assets and protect staff and passengers.
Selection of QR-Patrol
The seeds for the selection of QR-Patrol were placed in July 2016 when the QR-Patrol by PLM team, along with our Partner, QR-Patrol by Terracom presented the solution at Heathrow’s premises. Since then, constant follow up meetings and perseverance with the management at Heathrow, led to the submission of the Project Proposal under Heathrow’s procurement processes and deadlines. The period leading to the proposal submission period was one of the most exciting and productive periods at QR-Patrol. A complete documented proposal was compiled, addressing issues (not exclusively) from the alignment of business culture, costing and legal to technical fit, product development and delivery.
QR-Patrol was selected among a short list of 4 candidates for the Heathrow project as the best fit to their business and operational needs. The nature of QR-Patrol as a cloud solution and the lack of proprietary equipment provided the additional flexibility that the updated security planning of Heathrow required.
Prior to this final selection a “Trials” period took place. Apart from the system itself, the smooth transition towards the adoption of a new solution definitely involved the human aspect. Users from various levels had to trial the (out of the box) solution, provide feedback on the functionality (and “look & feel”) and advise on the best fit among the candidates.
Goals & Constraints
The main goal for Heathrow was to procure a new Guard Tour Solution for their patrol needs and modernize their operations. They also had to ensure a smooth transition from their old on premise off-line system to QR-Patrol in a timely manner. The former was no longer supported by the supplier and this was creating an additional urgency due to the inherent risk of not having a working system in place, along with the regulatory implications. Subject to a strict timeline, the goal was to take the standard “out of the box” QR-Patrol solution, customize it to Heathrow’s unique requirements and ensure its integration with the existing IT infrastructure of the Airport. Great importance was shown in data handling and service availability due to the risk involved and the high security regulatory standards.
Heathrow’s requirement analysis was a big part of the work towards the implementation phase of the project. It was essential that there was in advance crystal clear understanding of the desired amendments/additions and how these would serve the security patrol routine of Heathrow.
The appointment of a Consultancy Firm to take over the project management on behalf of the Client made even more important that all communications were transparent with constant progress updates and that the message was passed on to all shareholders intact. The QR-Patrol Team was responsible for the extensive on-boarding of the Consultancy Firm with regards to system and its functionalities.
Project Analysis & Management
Given the size and the complexity of the project, QR-Patrol appointed a full-time dedicated project manager who would play the connecting link role between the software vendor and the other parties. Relevant leaders within the QR-Patrol development team would further guarantee the best utilization of all available resources, the provision of instant progress updates, quick escalation of issues and the avoidance of workflow interruptions
In close collaboration with the Consultancy Firm and the Client, the project was broken down to its various components, milestones were set and a detailed timeline was put in place that would be used for project review and evaluation.
All system components went through scrutiny to ensure their best performance and fit. Various levels of testing were established, from “Unit” and “Integration” to “Acceptance testing”.
Communications for project analysis and review took various forms. Regular online meetings, email communication and visits to the client premises for in person discussion/demonstration on the progress/deliverables played vital role in the life of the project.
QR-Patrol Team responded with great success to all the above, by adopting a “hands on” pro-active approach and offering advanced recommendations and solutions that would further add value to the outcome. The team showed great appreciation operating in such demanding business conditions, proving their professionalism, expertise and a customer focus approach.
During all this time we were alongside the software vendor’s team, supporting by providing local assistance on demand and participating with our experience on both the business and technical discussions.
Outcome & Conclusions
With the finalization of the project, it has to be said that it was a great journey, which benefited all parties involved in multiple ways.
First and more important, Heathrow had a replacement of their previous system with a solution customized according to their requirements. Advanced capabilities not only matched Heathow’s needs but are also in accordance with the CAA regulations.. All these delivered timely with relevant cost savings involved. Finally, they have in place a system that may evolve together with their needs in the future.
For QR-Patrol, Heathrow ‘s case has showed again that working with a cloud software solution gives you absolute freedom in offering tailored services to clients. Working on this project has helped QR-Patrol open new boundaries in their product development, enhance the Team’s know-how in all levels and further cement QR-Patrol’s position as a leading provider of real-time cloud monitoring solutions.
The ability of the Team to work under strict timelines, effectively communicate in various management levels with all stakeholders and technically surpass expectations were some of the success drivers. QR-Patrol will continue pursuing its involvement in projects like these and capitalize on the recent experience.