Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Schiphol Airport digitises assets

Steve Rogerson
June 18, 2019

Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam is starting to see improvements in the way it handles cargo as it uses IoT to add intelligence to assets around the building, according to Mijke Loven-van Diemen (pictured), senior manager for Royal Schiphol Group, speaking at last week’s IoT World Europe Summit in London.
“The assets at the airport have grown from dumb physical ones to intelligent ones,” she said. “We want to be the world’s most digital airport.”
The airport moved 1.7m tonnes of cargo in 2018 and has 90,000 assets. It is also continually under construction. At the moment, a new terminal is being built and an existing terminal being redeveloped.
The main goal of digitising the assets is to make the airport run more smoothly and provide reliable information for users.
“That is where the IoT comes in for us, by digitising our assets and processes,” she said. “A smart asset is one that gathers information about its environment and communicates that through a network. It can collect data, receive orders and direct other assets. These are not autonomous or self learning yet, but we are getting there.”
She said the airport was using predictive modelling to help maintenance teams fix assets before they stopped working.
“We are putting all these data into a hub and from there we hope to develop new products and services,” she said. “Smartening our assets is of huge importance to Schiphol. Our goal is by 2023 to have autonomous, self learning smart assets.”
An example of what has been done so far were smart airplane stands. There are nearly a hundred of these collecting data from the stands, data which are provided to the main contractors on site.
“This means, say, we know where all they fire extinguishers are and can make sure one is at a stand before it can be used,” she said.
Another example was the loos. At peak times at Schiphol, there can be up to 50,000 toilet visits per hour, so it has smartened the sewage pumps to give real-time insights into their functionality.
“This minimises downtime and reduces energy and maintenance costs,” she said.
On the cargo side, there was a smart cargo initiative being run by KLM that is tracking the transportation of goods through the airport.