ATM powered by the API-economy

9 February 2015

We hosted the second 'Network Manager B2B Web Services Technical Forum' on 29 and 30 January 2015 in Brussels. NM’s B2B Web Services allow ATM stakeholders to easily and securely access data from their own applications and services over the public Internet.

The NM B2B Web Services Technical Forum is a way for NM to engage with customers, as it brings together technical experts to build a common view on technologies and services. It is managed by the Network Technical Systems (NTS) Division of NM.

Jean-Pierre Aiguier, Head of NTS, observed: “The NM B2B Technical Forum is a concrete initiative, helping unite business and technologies. We are making use of technologies that are available today, as standard internet technologies, to deliver cost-efficient, easy to use, fast and secure services. And we are delivering them now! By deploying these technologies, we are building a new eco-system in the ATM industry. So, we called our 2nd forum ‘The ATM API Economy’.”

NM B2B Web Services rely on open standards and public APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), similar to the way most internet-based services operate today in all industry segments (e.g. e-commerce, finance). The NM B2B Web Services are also fully in line with the SWIM concept as developed by the SESAR programme; it was identified as a ‘SWIM Pioneer’ in 2011.

NM B2B Web Services enable system-to-system interactions. They make for shorter development cycles, fewer errors and almost instant information exchange, so opening the way for new applications, innovative usage and ultimately more efficient ATM business processes and operations.

The second edition of the NM B2B Web Services Technical Forum was the opportunity for the newcomers to familiarise themselves with these technologies. All attendees were able to share their experience and provide input on the business and technical roadmap.

These topics were discussed in detail:

Flow Management

The B2B Web Services Technical Forum confirmed the interest of the ANSP community in this technology. As was pointed out by both Skyguide and EUROCONTROL MUAC at the NM User Forum, an increasing number of ANSPs are in the process of enhancing their local home-grown Flow Management tools and services. Using NM B2B Web Services makes it possible to implement local solutions leveraging NM data but also helps with other local systems (e.g. staff rosters, local flight data processing systems) and provides a single, comprehensive solution for flow managers: a solution that is fully customised for local needs.

Flight Data

The exchange of Flight Data (including the verification and validation of Flight Plans) has always been driving NM B2B Web Services’ adoption by ATM stakeholders. It was no surprise that this was one of the main topics discussed.

More specifically, users greatly appreciated the introduction of a new service allowing them both to track a specific flight (or set of flights) and to have updates on status and position. This service complements the popular Flight Plan filing via Internet.

Technical Enablers

The introduction of push technologies (i.e. publish / subscribe) covering a growing set of services and features was presented and discussed; they are considered to be instrumental in the further deployment of NM B2B Web Services. Having this new feature delivered was earmarked as a main priority at the first edition of NM B2B technical forum. Users were pleased that it was delivered in such a short time.

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