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RFID and aero-domains

RFID (radio frequency identification devices) technology can bring substantial benefits to the Air Transport Community in the form of cost reductions, improvements in productivity, customer services and safety, but also as a means to generate new revenues. As an emerging technology there are still many barriers to community-wide adoption, one of them being the risk associated with the deployment of RFID infrastructure and development of applications. This is a risk that can be substantially reduced through the introduction of a shared infrastructure and service.

But how does this relate to aero-domains and how can .aero leverage RFID to add extra value to partners across the air transport community?

Shared services offer one crucial advantage. By sharing infrastructure and know-how to operate business processes common to many in the Air Transport community, individual members can cut the cost of building data processing networks for common processes and instead focus on differentiation and the provision of innovative, reliable services to passengers and cargo customers. The same logic applies to adoption of RFID technology, and it is only a matter of time before community services and shared facilities for processing RFID data are introduced.

A number of RFID projects are already under way, but these are mostly one company activities � such as RFID-based baggage handling to speed up processing and accuracy at an airport (e.g. Hong Kong) or the tracking of cargo containers by one carrier or alliance (e.g. Lufthansa's joint venture with Trenstar). Some early adopters in the air transport community can demonstrate business cases for investment in RFID technology on their own, while others struggle. As a result, today's deployment of RFID technology will not help a bag stranded in a foreign airport find its way to its destination and a container will be only tracked if it moves through the premises of the airline/handling company which tagged it.

However, the community expects that, every piece of baggage will be tracked eventually with the help of RFID technology, perhaps from the traveller's home or office through to its destination. While RFID offers the potential of improvement in the processing of bags at the airport (RFID readers read more reliably than bar code readers without a line of sight constraint), the greatest benefit of the technology will be its ability to be integrated with existing IT systems . Technology, coupled with community standards, will allow systems at any airport to identify immediately and automatically a mishandled piece of baggage, collect handling instructions from the airline responsible for the bag and route it to its correct destination.

Similar benefits and more are expected from handling cargo and containers such as ULDs,(unit loading devices ) or the management of other asses, used at the airport (e.g. vehicles of all kind) or within an aircraft ( e.g. catering trolleys, flight jackets, oxygen tanks etc..)

Boeing and Airbus are promoting the RFID tagging of aircraft parts, to allow tracking and tracing, to facilitate maintenance and to ensure that no grey parts enter the market.

The benefits of the technology are clear. However, historically the deployment of community-based technologies is slow. The global supply chain is moving ahead with implementation of RFID, but this is often driven by one major player in the supply chain (such as Wal-Mart). The air transport community is different. It is much more homogenous and standards are set by consensus rather than by the mandate of an influential player. Consequently, investment in infrastructure is often shared among community members sharing a common process or processes.

Obtaining consensus and joint investment is currently putting the brakes on the deployment of RFID within the Air Transport community.

SITA is working with Air Transport community, as well as in partnership with relevant experts (such as the Cambridge UK-based Aerospace ID Technologies Programme launched by Auto ID Labs) to define the community service model allowing flexibility and choice whilst ensuring that the community benefits from shared facilities. At the heart of this model are two sets of community services � those at shared locations such as airports and those that allow multiple business partners to securely interact with each other globally. SITA is defining the technical details and will be setting up a pilot project.

And what about .aero?

When the aero-domain was launched, some considered as crazy the idea that an aircraft seat or an individual item of baggage might each have its own IP address. But the idea was not as far fetched as it may seem. In fact, when Auto ID Labs designed the first version of the RFID data processing standard, they assigned a domain name to every RF identifier to allow processing of data over the world's biggest network - the Internet.

Today, the standards are going through many changes, and it may be that not every object will actually require a domain name. It has already become clear, however, that some naming structure will be required to trace these objects � and more likely than not, each will have its own IP address.

This is where the aero-domain as a policy platform comes into play. While the aero-domain is not itself involved in implementation of RFID technology, the .aero policy framework could be used as a robust platform, enabling the community to maintain policies relating to allocation of digital identifiers. Additionally .aero might also manage the registry service associated with these identifiers, thereby making the RFID signal data much more useable.

If you are a service provider for airlines or airports, if you own an airport or an airline, you should register at least one aero-domain for the purposes of RRID. Even you are not using now RFID, you should register aero-domains for RFID for the use in the future. After having registered one aero-domain, you can create yourself unlimited subdomains. The subdomains can be numerique or alphanumerique.

In the future, everybody, who is interested, in flying, aviation, travelling, will search first at .aero. If you are not present at .aero, you will lose a part of the potential traffic and therefore a part of your potential profit. If you use an aero-domain as your main domain, everyone knows you are in the aviation business. Not only all visitors of your website understand immediately this, but also the recipients of your e-mails.

The aero-domain is a restricted and exclusive domain. It is only available for members of the aviation community. The aviation community is a very broad one. Not only pilots, stewardesses and students of aviation belong to it, but e.g. also modell makers and para-gliders.You have to prove that you belong to the aviation community by the Community Membership ID and the Password. If you have not got yet any Membership ID and Password by SITA, it is sufficient, that you send us your "credentials" with your domain applications. You can send us e.g.the adress of your domain or URL with aviation content.

The domain names must no longer reflect company's name or a trade mark since September 2 2002. You can register now at .aero the name of your choice, e.g. a product or service. As this possibility exists since a short time, many good generic terms, which are an excellent and cheap advertising opportunity, are still free.Imagine how many visitors can attract terms like, or which are typed by consumers into the browers?

  • Re-Assignment of pre-registered names
    Since November 2 2002 an airline can register also the two-letter IATA-Code as an aero-domain. SITA pre-registered all two character airline codes, all location codes allocated to municipal areas and airports and all three letter airline codes if IATA airlines. If you are eligible for two or three letter industry codes, you can order the re-assignment of the pre-registered names to you by the order form below.


  • Improve your ranking at Google by aero-domains
    Seach engines like Google rank your listing higher if a keyword from a search is in your domain name. You can get these names with .aero, when they are not available in .com. Listen to what the Internet �gurus� have to say about what names to buy:
    "As we've frequently reported in our SE Book & Newsletter, placing keywords right in your domain name can give your site a major boost on search engines. We've also reported that some engines are no longer accepting sub-directory pages. This is one of the reasons the smart marketing pros have been buying keyword-phrase domain names. They use them as doorway pages to boost traffic to their sites." says Stephen Mahaney, author of The Unfair Advantage Book on Winning the Search Engine Wars. Michael Campbell points out, in Nothing But 'Net, "The reason we want keywords in the domain name is that search engines often get 'tuned' to find, and give better positioning to, domains with keywords in them." Declan Dunn, author of Winning the Affiliate Game, sent out a memo to his affiliates advising "To get on top of the search engines, one of the critical keys is a good domain name LOADED with keywords." Declan goes on to say "This news is spreading among WebMasters, SearchEngine Meisters, Internet marketers, and big corporations. Don't wait."

  • Price and conditions
    The price of each aero-domain (2nd level domain) and of each name at an official subdomain (3rd level domain) is 100 US-Dollar per year. The registration period is two years.

  • .travel
    If you are also a member of the travel and tourism industry, you should think about registering also a travel-domain .
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