First phase of H5 goes live at Luxembourg Airport

We are delighted to announce that phase one of Hermes 5 (H5) has been implemented successfully for LuxairCARGO at Luxembourg Airport.

This bespoke version of Hermes 5 provides additional trucking functionality for use at the airport, where LuxairCARGO process more than one million tonnes of air cargo a year.

In this edition of H5 we also added features such as a new Customs interface, designed to help speed up cross-border Customs clearance, as well as real-time tracking functionality and data analysis, which reduces delays and backlogs.

The H5 CMS provides further flexibility in key areas in both management and operations, improving service management, revenue accounting, automation of processes, and avoiding Service Level Agreement (SLA) failures.

“We successfully migrated to the Hermes 5 Cargo System in October 2018,” said Laurent Jossart, Executive Vice President, LuxairCARGO.

“Hermes 5 not only provides the level of automation we require, but also guarantees the possibility to interface with all our other existing operational systems.

Hermes has also allowed us to enhance our quality and has contributed to a standardisation of our processes.

“During the implementation, the Hermes Logistics Technologies (HLT) team of cargo and technical experts provided on-site support to LuxairCARGO, which meant the system went live successfully and in very good timing.”

 

Laurent Jossart, Executive Vice-President, LuxairCARGO

Insights into Hermes NG Tech: Looking outside the warehouse

Alexis Labonne as Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

Hermes’ digital transformation started in earnest in the beginning of 2018. Hermes 5, the current GHA software application is strongly focussed on cargo operations within the GHA premises, and its ongoing modernisation has taken it to the Cloud, providing a shift from the current licence-based proposal to a PUPM or transactional (pay per AWB/tonnes) OPEX model.

Whilst this provides fantastic flexibility and control for our customers, we have started moving our gaze towards the serverless world, and a new range of apps are destined for the wider cargo world such as agents, authorities, transporters, third parties, other ground handling agent (GHA) systems etc.

The opportunities are ripe, the technologies are here, but the pitfalls are many.

How can we protect Hermes’ core proposition and provide external digital apps but with minimal friction and hassle for our customers?

 

Separation of concerns

Hermes 5, the core GHA operating software provides exceptional functionality for its users, but the focus must remain inside the warehouse.

We followed several architectural principles, from de-coupling to separation of concerns in order to allow the Hermes platform to receive varied content and events from the outside world as well as inputting of non-Hermes data.

Despite the soundness of these principles, they are incumbent on the business goals:

  • Next to zero friction and disruption for existing Hermes systems
  • Pay as you go and easy access

Developing apps capable of evolving and running independently whilst limiting the impact on our core product Hermes 5, required the acceptance of something most organisations still struggle to recognise.

Data cannot be true, immediate and partitioned in a single place and at a single moment (Brewer’s theorem or CAP theorem for the aficionados).

It is okay to replicate it, it is okay to accept eventual consistency and it always makes business sense to scale and grow piecemeal.

So now, code can deal only with the data it is given, and only the data that it needs.

The interfaces by which Hermes acquires its data are then testable, manageable, measurable, and secured for a given purpose only.

 

Leveraging serverless Cloud

 HLT opted for two solutions to minimise workload and disruption:

  1. Getting rid of concerns by using Azure serverless technologies; Azure services bus, Eventgrid, Functions, Cosmos DB etc. This means no more operating systems, no more network routing, no more patching, no more backups and security is taken care of (B2C), leaving us with only the apps and what they bring to our customers.
  2. Complete loose coupling from the Hermes Core GHA application (Hermes 5), through secure integration (Azure Service Bus) and patterns (Command Query Responsibility Segregation or Micro-services).

Not only will our new and existing customers be able to adopt and thrive with our new Cloud applications (Hermes NG), enriched by the events and data provided by the Hermes 5 application, but non-Hermes users will also be able to join the Hermes NG ecosystem as Hermes NG apps create further benefits by using data from other sources such as internal message and application programming interfaces (API).

It is likely that future NG Apps may be stand-alone, and function without a GHA application.

 

HERMES NG APPS

HLT has a multitude of Cloud applications in the pipeline, all multi device, user-centric and with great value add for our customers.

HLT’s development plan has been kicked-started with the successful trialling of E-Checkin and Track&Trace and 2019 will see additional apps such as Ramp Management being developed, trailed and deployed.

  1. E-Checkin: Provides our customer with online services that their clients need to check shipments for drop-off/pickups and in addition request Vehicle Control Tickets pre-arrival or at arrival electronically. A supplemental option will be released later this year providing online slot booking and management functionality.
  1. Track&Trace: Allows full status and real-time notifications to customers handling AWBs, and in future, Track&Trace will allow the AWBs to be completed by other APIs such as FlightAware.

Future versions of Track&Trace will also permit authorities (Customs/police) to interact with shipment statuses.

 

Nishant Singh, Lead Developer, Hermes NG

Steve Palmer, Developer, Hermes NG

 

Growing Momentum

Yuval Baruch — Chief Executive Officer, Hermes Logistics Technologies

In 2019, we at Hermes Logistics Technologies (HLT) will continue the momentum from 2018 to expand our business partnerships, develop our technologies and grow as a company.

Last year culminated in December with the implementation of the first phase of a custom version of Hermes 5 (H5) for LuxairCARGO at Luxembourg Airport, we expect to complete phase two in the coming months.

You can read more about the phase one implementation here.

Full implementation of a Cloud H5 version at RSA in Dubai, UAE, as well as on-premise H5 in LUG HAM and dnata Brussels are also projected for quarter one, 2019, so stay tuned for updates.

Considering both growth and planned investment, HLT will continue the recruitment effort of additional resources in all domains in 2019.

The plan includes expert recruitment in the UK and significantly increasing HLT’s footprint in India.

To maintain HLT’s technical edge, we continue to move forward with developments and updates to our cargo management systems, and development of the cloud-based Hermes NG is proceeding rapidly.

As part of Hermes NG, we will be launching two new applications, E-Checkin and Track&Trace.

This month’s newsletter looks in-depth at the design and the technology behind Hermes NG and these two applications as an example of how HLT intends to maintain its technical and functional leadership.

Stay tuned for our next newsletter this March.

 

Unleashing the Power of SaaS: Serverless Cloud

by Alex Labonne

What and Why

In our last newsletter, we touched on digital and why this new era has come along. One catalyst of the digital era is the commoditisation of infrastructure resources from the big Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) providers.

This in turn creates a wonderful ecosystem for the proliferation of applications that are also commoditized; not only our hardware financing can switch to almost full Operating Expense (OPEX), but so can our software, per hour, per tonne, per throughput etc.

One would think the financial aspect (not always cheaper but certainly more manageable) would be reason enough for the adoption trend of Software as a Service (SaaS) solution for varied industries, but there are many more.

Elasticity and the ability to respond on demand to large flux of data and usage to then scale back during quieter periods allows the small guys to play with the big ones, provided they convert that traffic into business of course.

Many Cloud providers also provide SaaS components and the ability to create many additional components over and over, with de facto backup, horizontal scale, security, deployment processes, usage tracking etc., reducing development, test and deployment times to allow businesses to focus on what matters most: innovation and their market.

Finally, the flexibility, the ability to run many components and applications in a networked and loose coupled way underlines the need for SaaS adoption. Running several component versions side by side to remove older ones smoothly, deploying updates seamlessly to provide the best upgrade experience. The list goes on…

Hermes offers SaaS today

Hermes provides a version of its software fully hosted and handled in the Cloud (Azure or Amazon). Whilst it provides exactly the same functionality for a slightly cheaper overall cost, it is still deployed as a “tenant” for any given customer.

This takes away many concerns about data safety, whilst removing most infrastructure headaches for customers. It also allows us to support our customers more efficiently.

But we feel that the software commoditisation aspects, savings and dynamism, are not at their real potential by using virtual machines or containers. We still need to manage Operating Systems, patches etc., spending time we can dedicate to developing better cargo apps.

True SaaS power

The Hermes application is moving towards becoming a much more open platform, with all the trimmings one might imagine. But as the components of Hermes are broken apart, grown significantly, scaled, opened and moved to the Cloud, core system and business aspects become more complex; security, scalability, OS patching, system upgrades, RDBMS tuning, etc.

To accelerate software development, Hermes needs to leverage existing SaaS technologies to stand upon. Enter Serverless components.

Rather than deploying the Hermes stack within containers such as VMs in the Cloud, HLT will leverage existing SaaS/PaaS facilities in the Cloud to accelerate its productivity, giving our customers more innovative applications and services. No hardware, no VMs, no OS, just pure business logic and good design patterns focus.

Hermes to rendezvous with the future

As we highlighted the Digital Trend show stoppers in our previous article, one would be forgiven to see the HLT strategy as a risky move. After all some markets are not ready, nor permitting the use of public Cloud. I say public with a pinch of salt, as much of the business logic and data can actually be hidden and VPNed solely to a customer’s network.

We know that customers in different countries will adopt these technologies at different rates, depending on their government regulations, financial practices or competitive appetite. Hermes will be ready to bring great advantage to those who adopt Hermes SaaS with more granular purchase schemes and/or pay-as-you-go full OPEX financing.

Digital and Air Cargo: Seldom related to standards

by Alex Labonne

Why does digital matter?

At the risk of defining digital for a world that is already confused by the hype itself, one must understand why the digital evolution is occurring to begin with.

  • There is more data available about many more things.
  • Access to infrastructure and devices that consume and render data is more commoditised than ever thanks to the Cloud.
  • People communicate more and more digitally through social networks.

These social networks are accessible through many means, but mobile is by far the medium of choice, centring on the individual.

Where does that leave the air cargo industry? What could all these digital angles bring or disrupt?

Cargo produces a lot of events and data. From airlines to consolidators, forwarders and handlers are all constantly creating events that are rarely surfaced or shared.

One could think that the lack of standards would be reason enough, but this cannot be true, as other industries are sharing data constantly with very little standards.

Beyond the obvious benefits to the e-commerce industry in terms of refined, more precise accounting and tracking, there are other more interesting aspects of the digital trend for the cargo industry.

Automation of the warehouse, with constant feedback on the best performing configuration from AI, traffic estimation and loss prevention, shipment repurposing, exceptional shipment handling and planning (e.g. disaster relief cargo), linking to external events (weather, conflicts, etc.), insurance claim handling, predictive maintenance, the list goes on and on, and for everyone along the logistic chain.

In terms of human interaction, the ability to surface data in the Cloud on commoditised and serverless applications opens the gate to inter-agent communications, fast and simpler contract exchanges (AWB, Manifests) between service suppliers and government agencies, with little infrastructure requirements

The future is looking extremely bright, and we haven’t even scratched the surface.

What are the blockers?

Digital is happening fast primarily in the retail world, but health, energy and banking are also coming in hot. Giants, such as Amazon, are showing the world how it is done in the world of logistics, and air cargo is taking notes.

The costs are certainly a factor when it comes to digital transformation, but one of the biggest blockers is the move to the Cloud. There are still concerns about data regulations and security, sometimes unfounded, but deeply rooted in past beliefs than if one can see the database server from one’s desk, it is surely safer than out there in the ether.

The reticence is not unfounded and the new GDPR regulations certainly put the sting in data sharing. Add the hacking scandals currently all over the press into the mix and all this is enough to kick the adoption of digital transformation right into touch.

What is HLT doing about it?

The Hermes Logistics Technologies roadmap is angling for full digital transformation and towards a full Software as a Service (SaaS) platform running in the Cloud.

We believe that a platform that is open and well controlled with minimal friction in terms of infrastructure and setup is the way to help our customers fulfil their digital potential.

The ability for both ourselves and our customers to share data and events should trigger many more applications and feed AIs with what is needed for greater insights.

Over the coming weeks, we will talk about our digital roadmap, its technology components and how they could help air cargo operators and our customers.

Digital and Air Cargo: Seldom related to standards

Why does digital matter?

At the risk of defining digital for a world that is already confused by the hype itself, one must understand why the digital evolution is occurring to begin with.

  • There is more data available about many more things.
  • Access to infrastructure and devices that consume and render data is more commoditised than ever thanks to the Cloud.
  • People communicate more and more digitally through social networks.

These social networks are accessible through many means, but mobile is by far the medium of choice, centring on the individual.

Where does that leave the air cargo industry? What could all these digital angles bring or disrupt?

Cargo produces a lot of events and data. From airlines to consolidators, forwarders and handlers are all constantly creating events that are rarely surfaced or shared.

One could think that the lack of standards would be reason enough, but this cannot be true, as other industries are sharing data constantly with very little standards.

Beyond the obvious benefits to the e-commerce industry in terms of refined, more precise accounting and tracking, there are other more interesting aspects of the digital trend for the cargo industry.

Automation of the warehouse, with constant feedback on the best performing configuration from AI, traffic estimation and loss prevention, shipment repurposing, exceptional shipment handling and planning (e.g. disaster relief cargo), linking to external events (weather, conflicts, etc.), insurance claim handling, predictive maintenance, the list goes on and on, and for everyone along the logistic chain.

In terms of human interaction, the ability to surface data in the Cloud on commoditised and serverless applications opens the gate to inter-agent communications, fast and simpler contract exchanges (AWB, Manifests) between service suppliers and government agencies, with little infrastructure requirements

The future is looking extremely bright, and we haven’t even scratched the surface.

What are the blockers?

Digital is happening fast primarily in the retail world, but health, energy and banking are also coming in hot. Giants, such as Amazon, are showing the world how it is done in the world of logistics, and air cargo is taking notes.

The costs are certainly a factor when it comes to digital transformation, but one of the biggest blockers is the move to the Cloud. There are still concerns about data regulations and security, sometimes unfounded, but deeply rooted in past beliefs than if one can see the database server from one’s desk, it is surely safer than out there in the ether.

The reticence is not unfounded and the new GDPR regulations certainly put the sting in data sharing. Add the hacking scandals currently all over the press into the mix and all this is enough to kick the adoption of digital transformation right into touch.

What is HLT doing about it?

The Hermes Logistics Technologies roadmap is angling for full digital transformation and towards a full Software as a Service (SaaS) platform running in the Cloud.

We believe that a platform that is open and well controlled with minimal friction in terms of infrastructure and setup is the way to help our customers fulfil their digital potential.

The ability for both ourselves and our customers to share data and events should trigger many more applications and feed AIs with what is needed for greater insights.

Over the coming weeks, we will talk about our digital roadmap, its technology components and how they could help air cargo operators and our customers.

Welcome to the Newsletter

Yuval Baruch, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Hermes Logistics Technologies

Welcome to our Hermes Logistics Technologies Newsletter, where we will be regularly updating you on what’s new at HLT involving technological innovation, and offer views and insight from ourselves and our customers.

The first few months of 2018 have been quite exciting for HLT, with the new version of our Cargo Management System (CMS), called Hermes 5 (H5) going live at ALS Cargo Terminal Co., Ltd (ALSC) in Hanoi, Vietnam, as part of a global rollout.

Earlier in the year, we welcomed a new Chief Technology Officer, Alex Labonne, who will oversee the H5 rollout and together with the HLT team of air cargo experts will continue to optimise our digital roadmap. You can read more from Alex below.

Hermes CTO Alexis Labonne on Unimagined Benefits in CAAS

Alex Labonne’s arrival as chief technology officer (CTO) at Hermes Logistics Technologies (HLT) comes as the air freight technology group prepares to roll out the latest version of its cargo management system: Hermes 5. But Labonne also brings a refreshing new perspective from outside air cargo on a sector that seems finally set to go through a major technology transformation in the next few years.

Read more on Cargo Airports & Airline Services.

Hermes CEO Yuval Baruch in TIACA Times

Yuval Baruch has been Chief Executive Officer of Hermes Logistics Technologies (HLT) at Magic Software Enterprises Ltd since joining in September 2012. He previously held senior board and management positions at companies including Matrix IT Ltd, Pilat HR Solutions and J.R. Holdings & Development Ltd. He was recently interviewed for TIACA Times, TIACA’s quarterly magazine, offering insight on everything from blockchain to disruptors. Read more on TIACA’s website.

Technological Innovations in Air Cargo: Issue 2

Definitions:

  • Business Intelligence: an umbrella term that refers to a variety of software applications used to analyse an organisation’s raw data.
  • Data Management: an administrative process by which the required data is acquired, validated, stored, protected, and processed.
  • Big Data Analytics: the process of large data sets to uncover hidden patterns, unknown correlations, market trends, customer preferences and other useful business information.

 

In today’s world where everything is digitised no business can afford to neglect technology. In this issue of Technological Innovations, we investigate some of the new technologies and buzzwords around Business Intelligence (BI) and analyse what benefits they can offer in the real world.

Being able to make decision faster than your competitors is a serious competitive edge and could help you stand out from the crowd. BI can also be a good investment if markets are slowing or if tight budgets are pressing on your resources. The most tangible benefit associated with BI is often the time and effort saved by not having to produce reports manually but this is far from the only benefit, or indeed the biggest.

Perhaps one of the most important questions to ask yourself to start with is, “How will a BI system help me make better business decisions?”.

Most organisations use a lot of resources putting together reports, which are often very detailed and which are distributed throughout the company to make sure everyone has the information they need. This can result in a huge amount of information which does not actually give a clear picture of the overall situation. As a result, the influence that this data could have made, or opportunities it might highlight, is sometimes missed.

Today’s BI systems, like the HBI offered by Hermes Logistics Technologies (HLT), allow you to run reports when you need them and also allow users to design new reports to match their requirements and provide individualised dashboards to collect the most important data for daily operations.

HBI is an in-house, built-in, integrated full Business Intelligence solution using Qlikview and Qliksense, which allows operations to see a full dashboard with current status and trends that directly affect your operation – from workload trends to SLA performance indicators and from yield analysis to process auditing views.

This type of functionality can help making important decisions easier by providing the latest information in real-time reports that show the state of the business in that very moment – not a historical view of how it looked days or weeks ago. By showing data on a high, aggregated level overall trends can be easily spotted and this can lead to quicker, better decisions being made.

However, even the most accurate and reliable of data sets can be useless unless they can be analysed and archived properly.

At HLT we focus on translating the latest technologies into best practice and business-relevant functionalities, and good Data Management is something we strongly believe in. We’ve already looked at how the amount of data available from a BI system can be invaluable to decision makers but on the other hand, historical operational data is not important for the ongoing operation and can easily become a burden on the database unless correctly archived. To solve this, our HBI system incorporates an automatic archiving solution to keep fresh operational data separate from historical data.

Big Data Analytics is another popular buzzword and another process where some technical innovation has improved user experience.

Big data analytics is the process of examining large data sets containing a variety of data types to uncover hidden patterns, market trends, customer preferences and other useful business information which, if used properly, can help you make informed business decisions that can affect your profits and give you an advantage over your competitors.

Simon Elmore, HLT Chief Operating Officer said, “In my experience reporting structures in busy cargo handling terminals are often ad-hoc, lightweight or lacking data veracity. With HBI the volume, variety and velocity of key cargo data can be analysed quickly and effectively ensuring that key stakeholders within a cargo handling facility can make accurate and timely business decisions. Being able
to provide operational data to prove SLAs are being met, to display near real-time KPI information and to enhance accuracy of budgeting and forecasting have been an incredibly useful innovation for our customers.”

In the next issue…

We’ll be looking at Self Service alternatives that advanced systems allow their users. An example could be the HERMES Work Orders that have grown into a powerful tool and why this type of innovation is important in today’s highly competitive air cargo market.

 

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