Learn more about the development of SOPHY in an interview with Sergio Gomez
How did the project start?
When we started working on what would eventually become SOPHY, the connectivity solution that will revolutionize catering operations, we had been aware of catering logistics and trolleys issues for quite a long time, all the more since several of our customers had been telling us about their problem in detail. We began looking for solutions a few years ago, but we needed a smart technological breakthrough to come up with a really satisfying innovation.
What were the objectives?
From the very beginning working with airlines, our objectives were our customers' objectives. We studied the needs of about 20 companies before even creating our first prototype. Basically, it is all about control and monitoring the catering operations: airlines need to know where the trolleys are, how these are used and the impacts on their daily operations.
Still, managing trolleys can be compared to other supply-chain processes?
Yes, and then no. In a way, there are similarities with other supply-chain issues that you can find in many activities, but with the added complexity of having several actors intervening; all around the world, with continuously moving assets, and all of this in challenging environments. Additionally, communications-wise: there is a lot of metal in trucks, trolleys and planes, trolleys also contain humidity, and, of course, we needed to follow aerospace regulations and recommendations. We had to find a solution, and concluded that the use of Bluetooth Low Energy, combined with smart design was the way to go. We had been looking at that technology for some time.
So, SOPHY is an example of Internet of Things?
Absolutely. We focused on creating a solution that minimizes implementation efforts for airlines. This is why we partnered up with Undagrid, a Dutch company specialized in IoT. Their core business is aviation and logistics, and they provide connected services to airports all around the world. Working with them allowed us to accelerate our development with an already proven technology in another field.
What is the future of SOPHY?
We are looking forward to work together with our customers to improve their operations. On a broader scale, SOPHY is actually part of a bigger picture, which is what we call "augmented cabins". From the moment you can share data aboard a plane, you can use it to monitor the catering ecosystem, the entire cabin environment and even cargo, to provide new customer experiences… It really is a step towards tomorrow's flights and the future of airlines' services.