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NEC conducts IoT trials to improve the efficiency of airport operations for JAL

- IoT used to locate cargo transport vehicles and monitor mechanics’ activity at Haneda Airport -

Tokyo, September 26, 2019 – NEC Corporation (NEC; TSE: 6701) today announced that it conducted trials using the Internet of Things (IoT) at Haneda Airport (Tokyo International Airport) in July and August 2019, aiming to improve the efficiency of airport operations for Japan Airlines Co., Ltd. (JAL). During these trials, the position of cargo transport vehicles and the movements of mechanics at an aircraft maintenance hangar were successfully identified as they each responded to conditions specific to the airport.

As part of the JAL Group’s efforts to improve quality and productivity through new technologies, the use of IoT is being considered both inside and outside of airports. In line with this, it is important to introduce optimized IoT based on the understanding of airport-specific conditions, such as restrictions on the installation of devices and the vast outdoor business area.

In these trials, NEC verified the effectiveness of IoT using LoRaWAN (*1) and Bluetooth from a wide variety of communication methods (multi-connectivity (*2)) and provided consulting based on its knowledge and technologies related to networks. NEC's “Trial Pack for Starters”, which provides a total package of IoT devices, servers, and applications for users to test the collection and visualization of data, enabled these trials to be quickly started following just three weeks of preparation.

IoT trials at Haneda AirportzoomLarger view
IoT trials at Haneda Airport

1. Positioning of Cargo Transport Vehicles through GPS and LoRaWAN Networks

Cargo transport vehicles travel extensively throughout the vast grounds of an airport, and in order to operate efficiently, it is important to place them in the right place at the right time. In these trials, NEC installed GPS devices on cargo transport vehicles and built LoRaWAN networks using LoRa gateways. Just two sets of LoRa gateways were able to cover almost all of the outdoor space at Haneda Airport, enabling the position of cargo transport vehicles to be grasped in real time. This confirmed the effectiveness of LoRaWAN for communicating in a wide area while minimizing the introduction of equipment.

Cargo transport vehicles
Cargo transport vehicles

2. Understanding mechanics' movements using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE*3)

In order to pass on know-how from experienced mechanics to additional workers and improve work efficiency, it is useful to understand the movements of mechanics in their work areas. During these trials, personnel from JAL and NEC were equipped with BLE devices as they simulated the work of mechanics in tool rooms, a maintenance hangar, and offices that were connected to BLE networks. As a result, it was possible to accurately detect the positions of individuals and track trends in environments where radio waves are easily reflected or interfered with, such as aircraft, work scaffolding, and walls.

Maintenance hangar
Maintenance hangar

Mr. Kazuhiro Kurita, Vice President and Deputy General Manager, IT Planning and Management Department, JAL said, “We are very satisfied with the results of the project using NEC's consulting services, which helped us examine technological feasibility and identify issues. We expect further technological collaboration with NEC and their advanced IoT solutions.”

Naohisa Matsuda, Deputy General Manager, Digital Services Solution Division, NEC Corporation, said, “These demonstration trials with JAL are part of the NEC Smart Connectivity (*4) initiative, where we have capitalized on network flexibly to connect data generated by people and goods beyond the industrial framework. Going forward, NEC aims to continue to contribute to the improvement of JAL's customer services and the efficiency of airport operations.”


  • (*1)
    LoRaWAN: Low power, wide area network protocol that is being standardized in the LoRa Alliance.
  • (*2)
    Multi-connectivity: Wired/Wireless LANs, LPWA, LTE, Bluetooth, 5G, and a variety of other communication methods.
  • (*3)
    BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy): One of the specifications of short-range wireless Bluetooth. By using 2.4GHz-band radio, which does not require a license, a significant reduction in electricity consumption has been achieved when compared to conventional Bluetooth communications.
  • (*4)
    NEC Smart Connectivity: Network services that leverage NEC's expertise and track record in network technologies and related solutions to deliver digital transformation that connects services and untapped data safely and flexibly throughout a variety of fields, including social infrastructure, manufacturing and retail.

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