About American Airlines, Inc. Founded in 1930, American Airlines, formerly American Airways, Inc., was the result of the consolidation of more than 80 small airlines into the Aviation Corporation. Today, American Airlines is one of the largest airlines in the world. American Airlines, American Eagle and the AmericanConnection® carrier serve 260 airports in more than 50 countries and territories with, on average, more than 3,500 daily flights. American’s network covers points throughout North America, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and the Pacific. American has five major cornerstone markets: New York, Los Angeles, Dallas/Fort Worth, Chicago and Miami, where its network resources are concentrated and connect some of the largest U.S. population centers for business travelers. The combined network fleet numbers more than 900 aircrafts. On an average day, American Airlines and American Eagle welcome almost 300,000 customers onto their aircraft, help book flights and answer questions for 110,000 customers who call their reservation centers, deliver 250,000 checked bags to their final destination, and load and transport more than 2.7 million pounds of cargo.
The Business Challenge
American Airlines and its associated companies have been winning accolades such as the 2011 World Airline Awards, for exemplary customer service, and this remains a key mandate for the airline. A stellar mobility strategy is vital for AA to maintain these soaring standards. American Airlines uses a wide variety of mobile devices depending on the needs of the specific work group running on the best available cellular carrier or American Airlines dedicated Wi-Fi network. Mobile applications include Bag Scanning/Aircraft Load and Balance Finalization, Driver Information on Routings, Flight Information for Baggage Carts, and are also used by Fleet Service Clerks responsible for transportation of luggage and freight, Lost or Misrouted Bag Tracking, Cargo Warehouse Freight Location Tracking, Airport Agent Customer Assistance and Dynamic Manning. Prior to implementation of SOTI MobiControl, individual business areas or their service providers wrote custom deployment software and lockdown security as part of the application. This was very expensive and beyond pushing new software to devices, this provided no remote management capability and was generally ineffective for Mobile Device Management. Initially, American looked to MobiControl to fulfill requirements for the Application Management and Remote Control capabilities for remote field troubleshooting, training, and software issues that could be solved remotely. The initial deployment allowed the Development and Help Desks to remotely solve end-user issues (training) and specific software issues that could be not be managed otherwise.
SOTI MobiControl was recommended to American Airlines by Stratix Corporation as a tactical solution to Mobile Device Management for the Airport Services Division. As mobile requirements and product suites have grown, American has subsequently looked at MobileIron, AirWatch and Afaria. American’s Airport Services division initially set up MobiControl in a lab environment at its headquarters. Following some pilot deployments of the applications mentioned above, the Cargo Division saw the success Airport Services was having and took the next step, which was deploying MobiControl in a production data center on a Virtual Machine. These deployments were supported by SOTI over the phone and went very smoothly. In addition to the original requirements, the Cargo division used MobiControl to help gauge and manage Battery usage on the devices. They have also implemented a scripting tool that drives test cases through the remote control feature that greatly aids in testing and debugging in the Development Cycle. Prior to the deployment, American had 500 mobile devices in the field, but today, 4,000 devices are managed by MobiControl, and AA has plans to deploy thousands more
American Airlines is very satisfied with MobiControl. Because of the operational nature of an airline, MobiControl’s easy to use management console fits American’s requirements. American has been able to easily implement customized role-based usage of the Management Console for Business Unit SMEs, Developers, Help Desk, Deployment and Administration roles. Additionally, they are starting to implement platforms beyond Windows (Android, Apple) and support consumer grade devices, and looking forward to implementing the Web-based console. Based on saving on individual development, lower hardware costs, help desk function, the ROI across the organization is easily in the tens of millions of dollars. American’s mobile help desk, the Stratix Service Center, estimates 90 to 95 percent of the tickets created can be solved over the phone with MobiConto
As mobility has grown, American’s organization has grown with it. There is now an Enterprise Mobility Solutions department that looks at Mobile Services Management from a holistic approach. This is from device evaluation, purchase, staging, carrier billing, common software services (VPN, Active Directory) and Mobile Device Management. Up to now, MDM has purely been looked at an operational device level. American is actively planning for a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) environment is looking to utilize MobiControl to help manage, enforce policy and the security of the AA network. AA currently has the MobiControl deployment server and database positioned in one physical datacenter with clients distributed across every airport that American Airlines or American Eagle serves domestically as well as select international locations. Growth plans include installation of additional deployment servers geographically dispersed to provide better business continuity in event of a data center disaster.
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