IT Solutions - Heathrow Airport APOC – Command & Control

Case Study – IT Solutions


We have worked at Heathrow Airport, with the Airport Operations Leadership team continuously since 2014.

The Heathrow Airport Control Room Automation (CRA) programme is part of the strategic airport operations optimisation programme. The objective is to consolidate IT systems, simplify workflow and automate actions where possible. The expected benefits were to improve operational capabilities and enhance the effective airport operations management.

The airport operations control centre (APOC) was functioning on legacy IT systems limiting the ability of the operators to go about their job.

The Project Objectives

  • Consolidate functions within the APOC to improve collaboration and efficiency. Including an improvement in the ergonomic layout of the operator workspace.


  • Simplify the APOC to support operational effectiveness
    • Achieve new IT systems automation and IT systems consolidation.
    • Amend the allocation of some responsibilities to improve response.
    • Enable operator roles to collaborate using the same data sources
    • Automate operator workflow
    • Improve communication of incidents to response teams and stakeholders


  • Systems Consolidation to simplify IT systems interaction to improve the services provided by the APOC
    • Enhance the operator user interfaces on operational systems to enable an effective and accurate response
    • Reduce the requirement for comms room space
    • Reduce Opex cost without compromising on security or operational resilience
    • Reduce the carbon footprint of the facility
    • Establish a consistent replica backup facility

Our scope of work included control room technology thought leadership, identification of the technology roadmap aligned to the forecasted organisation needs, define the approach for the implementation aligned with systems integration best practices.

Our contract deliverables were delivered onsite at Heathrow Airport and from our technical workshop, by our in-house subject matter experts.

Technology Strategy

Our client communicated the Airport organisations vision of the airport control room of the future. We understood their reasoning and the stated foreseen benefits to the airport. Our value add to the client is our ability to translate the client strategic vision into a technology project scope of work, by collecting the data, completing the analysis, and proposing credible options.


We completed a business analysis to understand the current way of working of the APOC airport operations departments. This involved gathering the control room operator requirements in consultation with the buyer leadership team, considering the current way of working and how the organisation needs over the next 5 to 10 years.


We documented the functional and non-functional requirements and applied the MoSCoW assessment framework to place a ranking on the requirements. Following consultation with the airport operations leadership team we revised the MoSCoW categorisation of requirements to reach a defined set of measurable requirements with prioritisation to progress the project with.


We then moved onto the analysis phase. This involved an analysis of the current  “as is” setup, including the operator desk layout considering the ergonomics of the desk setup and the operator interaction with technology.


To complete the analysis, we reviewed all IT operating systems in APOC, including the level of usage by operators and the cross department dependencies on these systems. We expanded the assessment to consider other live projects that will have an impact to the control room to be addressed in this project.


The findings were reported to the client and then used to produce a high-level technical architecture for the future airport operations control centre. We then moved to identify the technologies that could deliver a solution. We completed a market assessment of the commercially available of the shelf technologies including the capabilities for scalability, resilience, user experience and the technology development roadmap.

Further benefits were identified such as the reduction of hardware, reduction of comms room space required to house the technology and the reduction the environmental footprint of the facility.

Service Design

The client has an in-depth service delivery and integration process to comply with for all projects of this nature, which we adhered to.

This involved a set of specific actions, undertaking a risk and impact assessment of the end to end system architecture, including risk mitigation steps, operational resilience and support service requirements. We were able to provide the client with an improved Opex cost and total cost of ownership model.


A separate action saw our team collaborate with the client appointed 3rd party IT Network service providers completing a risk assessment of the IT network infrastructure need including consideration for future multisite connectivity and virtualised cloud hosted environments.


Security is built into the systems design. The user activity has auditable records for operator login credentials assigned by the client IT service desk.

The service design and integration actions output a set of documentation containing the detailed systems architecture and information required to enable support from the support service providers. including the training requirements.


The CRA programme took the opportunity to consolidate IT systems and redesign the operator desk workspace. Our scope of work has identified that the modernisation of the facility will achieve a reduction in Opex costs, improvement in operating systems resilience and enhance the operator functionality to perform their role whilst ensuring scalability and flexibility to match future strategic operating model.

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