GE digitally transforms Albany International Airport
Working together Albany International Airport and General Electric (GE) have collaborated to demonstrate new technologies that can make air travel safer in a post COVID-19 pandemic world.
So far the two organisations have announced the airports use of GE Aviation’s to track COVID-19 cleaning protocols, however in the next few weeks the two plan to announce other digital technologies including advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning that have been deployed at the airport.
“We’re proud to have GE partner with Albany International Airport, as we advance our new and forward-looking Master Plan that will establish a benchmark for the future design and operation of the nation’s airports. The use of GE’s cutting-edge Wellness Trace App is a major first step in our joint efforts to integrate new digital solutions to create safer travel in a post-pandemic world,” said Philip Calderone, CEO of the Albany County Airport Authority.
“We believe the digital vision Albany International Airport is advancing is exactly the kind of template airports and airlines will need to ensure safe, healthy travel through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. We’re proud to have Albany International sign on as our launch customer. The App is helping them closely track COVID-19 cleaning protocols today, with the potential to track other health screening as the Industry and regulators navigate safe travel in a post-pandemic world,” added Andrew Coleman, general manager of GE Aviation’s Digital Group.
What we know about the Wellness Trace App
Officially, GE Aviation launched its App in June 2020, following its collaborative partnership with TE FOOD and Eurofins to develop the app.
Secured by Blockchain, the Wellness Trace App is said to provide a comprehensive platform for tracking COVID-19 screening for both passengers and employees, as well as having the capability to set protocols for tracking the cleaning of objects at the airport and onboard aircrafts.
The goal of the Wellness Trace App is to “have the public light the way for safe travel,” with a vision to allow the public to provide real time feedback on the cleanliness of their travel.
“It’s exciting that Albany International Airport is partnering with GE on cutting edge technology that may help travelers feel safer since COVID-19 has changed our world. Being able to scan a QR code and know the last time that surface at the airport was cleaned may alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty people are feeling as they venture out and bring back a sense of confidence. Any reassurance we can give people as they travel that they are doing so safely is important,” commented Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy.
Albany International Airport has started its three month trial for the Wellness Trace App. Following the three months, GE Aviation and Albany International Airport officials will review the experience, as well as discuss potential updates or improvements, and the feasibility to expand the apps use for health screening.
While Albany International Airport is the first customer added to the Wellness Trace App, GE Aviation is actively looking to onboard many others too.
How changing your company's software code can prevent bias
Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day.
Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization.
Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.
Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?
We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization
What impact can exclusive terms have on employees?
Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.
Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code
Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!
What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?
What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.
What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology?
My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve.