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IBM and Ascent technology team up to deliver e-business solutions for Airlines and Airports

-- Ascent joins IBM ConnectEdge for Airlines Initiative --

WHITE PLAINS, NY & CAMBRIDGE, MA - 28 Sep 2000: - IBM today announced a strategic alliance with Ascent Technology, a leading provider of software to airlines and airports. IBM will now market Ascent's SmartAirport Operations Center sm software through the IBM sales force, and Ascent will become part of IBM's ConnectEdge for Airlines initiative. In addition IBM middleware will be integrated into the SmartAirport Operations Center software, and Ascent will recommend IBM as its preferred provider of software, consulting and integration services.

Ascent's SmartAirport Operations Center is an integrated suite of software solutions designed to coordinate the scheduling and management of airlines' and airports' interrelated resources. It merges the planning and realtime management of multiple airline activities, such as gate management and realtime personnel allocation, and helps airlines make the best use of limited and costly assets such as landing slots, terminal gates, personnel, baggage belts and check-in counters.

IBM ConnectEdge for Airlines is a new initiative through which IBM and key Business Partners are offering a variety of applications to meet e-business-related IT challenges facing the world's airlines. Through IBM ConnectEdge, which uses a common integration platform, airlines can develop new e-business applications faster, enable the applications to work together seamlessly, and integrate them with legacy systems. Ascent will integrate its SmartAirport Operation Center with IBM's MQSeries and WebSphere middleware products in order to connect to the IBM ConnectEdge platform.

"Joining forces with IBM has created a powerful combination that will deliver significant benefits to our clients," said Ascent President Karen A. Prendergast. "The combination of Ascent's SmartAirport Operation Center software suite with IBM's world class IT and travel industry expertise will greatly enhance our ability to provide a total solution to our customers."

"Ascent's SmartAirport Operations Center helps solve the critical challenges that airlines face, both in planning their airport schedules and dealing with last minute changes and schedule interruptions," said Ian McClenaughan, General Manager, IBM ConnectEdge. "Its ability to ensure an efficient use of expensive and constrained resources makes it a complementary addition to the IBM ConnectEdge family of solutions. "

Ascent joins a growing number of IBM ConnectEdge Solutions which can be implemented individually or as a package:

-- Intentia's Movex Aviation solution maximizes airlines' fleet utilization by improving maintenance, repair and overhaul performance; and optimizes the supply chain network, aircraft downtime, and materials management.

-- Magellan from Mercury Scheduling Systems helps crew controllers make better real time decisions, and facilitates the efficient planning of flight crews in the often dynamic operations environment.

-- Customer-focused e-business solutions from Siebel Systems enable multi-channel sales, marketing and customer service systems to be deployed through all distribution channels including the Web, call centers and in the field.

-- IBM solutions including: electronic ticketing services, Internet auctions, crew pairing optimization and day of operation crew recovery.

IBM plans to announce additionalIBM ConnectEdge alliance agreements to further enhancetheairline industry's most comprehensive range of business applications.

This announcement follows similar strategic alliance agreements IBM has made in a variety of industries with other software application leaders including i2, Ariba, Siebel Systems, Kana and Vignette. These agreements resulted from IBM's strategic alliance initiative through PartnerWorld for Developers, in which developers gain access to new customers and revenue opportunities through IBM's extensive marketing, sales and solutions resources. At the same time, developers lead with IBM's middleware, server platforms and services.

About Ascent Technology, Inc.

Since its founding in 1986 by members of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT, Ascent has been helping airports and airlines around the world automate complex resource planning and allocation tasks. Ascent's SmartAirport Operations Center solutions are an integral part of daily operations at over two dozen of the world's busiest airports, including London Heathrow, Atlanta and Toronto.

Over 18,000 arrivals and departures a day are supported by Smart Airport Operations Center solutions. They automate the long-range schedule planning and daily management of such capacity constrained ground resources as slots, gates, check-ins, baggage belts, and personnel. They also support flight-related activities such as aircraft routing, flight readiness, and optimization of crew and passenger connections. Ascent 's headquarters are located in Cambridge, MA. Additional information can be found at www.smartairport.com.

For more information on IBM and Business Partner solutions in IBM ConnectEdge for Airlines, visit www.ibm.com/industries/travel/ConnectEdge.

About IBM PartnerWorld for Developers
Software application developers receive support from IBM's PartnerWorld for Developers (www.developer.ibm.com) - a worldwide program designed to help software developers reach broader markets, lower their costs of doing business, and take their products to market faster.

About IBM
IBM is the world's largest information technology company, with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. The fastest way to get more information about IBM is through the IBM home page at http://www.ibm.com.

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Editor's Note:

Integrating Ascent's SmartAirport Operations Center solutions via IBM ConnectEdge will enable an airline to rapidly and economically reconcile capacity-management decisions with other leading-edge operation tools and legacy systems. The result is a fully integrated system that automates resource scheduling, situation assessment and coordinated, realtime responses.

IBM ConnectEdge also enables an airline to implement a SmartAirport Operations Center cost-effectively across its entire network, allowing operations at smaller stations to be controlled remotely from a major hub.

To accommodate airlines requiring flexible deployment plans and airports with limited IT infrastructures and budgets, IBM and Ascent are also offering the SmartAirport Operations Center solutions on a hosted basis. With a hosted system users such as gate schedulers and personnel managers need only a PC with a Web browser and Internet connection to have 7 x 24 x 365 access to their solutions.

Contact(s) information

Linda Hanson IBM Corp.
IBM
914-642-5447
hansonmu@us.ibm.com

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