IBS Software Services has signed a multi-million dollar contract for developing a new generation cargo handling system for Mercator, the IT Company of the Emirates Airlines Group. The new state-of-the-art cargo system, brand named as ‘Chameleon’, will be deployed for the use of the Emirates Group companies (the Emirates Airlines, DNATA and others) at the Dubai international airport and other overseas locations. The product will also be marketed for the use of third party airline and air cargo handling companies worldwide. Mercator has awarded this strategically important project to IBS after conducting a detailed study and analysis of the solutions presented to it by various reputed international software companies.

Chameleon will be a comprehensive cargo terminal operations system, which will address the business needs of both cargo handling companies and airlines. Specifically, the system will cover functional areas such as Import Management, Export Management, Warehouse Management, Cargo Tracking, Pricing, Billing and Back Office Accounting. Chameleon will also provide powerful management information and decision support capabilities and will interface with all related systems of the air cargo community such as customs systems, airline cargo reservations systems and freight forwarder systems. Chameleon is built as a futuristic system, both in terms of its functional design and technical architecture, and will operate in total integration with all other systems in the air cargo logistics chain.

Chameleon introduces a new distribution dimension to cargo products and services as the system will be accessible over the Internet for all players in the logistics chain such as shippers, consignees, forwarders, ground handling agents, trucking companies and airlines. Chameleon will enable direct information exchange among carriers, government authorities like customs and municipality, shippers, consignees, cargo agents and freight forwarders all over the world.

Air cargo operation is a complex business because of the complex business processes involved and the number of agencies participating in the cargo operation. And the market is very competitive. Only those companies, which can continuously improve process efficiency and service quality, will succeed in this business. Chameleon is designed to give the Emirates Group this competitive advantage.

‘Chameleon is a very large project, and a strategically important initiative for DNATA/Emirates to enhance its commercial competitiveness and Dubai to retain its leadership as the cargo business hub of the Middle East. We had to therefore ensure that the partner that we choose to build this application has the capability to make it a success, and it was an extensive selection process. We had excellent experiences with IBS in the past and we are confident that they will make Chameleon a success. IBS understands the air transportation business and they have technology and people competence’, said Mr Hugh Pride – Director IT, the Emirates Group, attending a press conference held in Trivandrum.

Chameleon is developed using the latest technology tools and platforms, and will take up 100 person-years of intense development effort. The product will be delivered in different phases and will be completed by the end of 2003 for implementation by the first quarter of 2004. The product development would involve a peak team size of 70 IBS staff, which would include business analysts, technical architects, software engineers, and project managers. The total project cost of Chameleon is over USD 4 Millions (over Rs. 20 Crores).

‘Chameleon is a challenging, yet exciting project for IBS. Our ability to plan and execute large and complex projects to quality, cost and schedule will be put to test through this project. We have a very competent and dedicated team working on the project, and it is our business domain of expertise. I have no doubt that it will be successful’, said Mr V K Mathews, Managing Director of IBS.

Mercator is a leading supplier of IT solutions to the air transportation world. The Emirates is one of the most successful and rapidly growing airlines in the world, bringing new definitions to service quality, product quality and commercial success. The Emirates Group is the largest air transportation group in the region, always winning international awards for setting best in class standards for customer care and service quality.

According to Steve Iliohan, Mercator’s General Manger, Business Solutions, Chameleon is a major component in their plans to build an integrated logistics management solution for the air transportation industry. He has stated that for translating such a vision into reality, the Emirates need partners of complementing strength and hence they are happy to be working with IBS.

IBS is a software development and support services company, with its global headquarters in India, and sales and business development offices in Atlanta (USA), Zurich (Europe), Dubai (Middle East) and Singapore (Asia-Pacific). Operating out of Technopark, Trivandrum, IBS is the largest exporter of software from Kerala, and is a leading supplier of IT services to the Travel, Transportation and Logistics industries worldwide.

The press conference was attended by Mr P. Kunhalikutty, Kerala’s Honorable Minister for Industries and Ms Aruna Sundararajan, IT Secretary who shared their thoughts on the significance of this achievement by IBS, which will help Kerala to be firmly ensconced on the global IT map. The delegation of the senior officials of the Emirates Group/Mercator who attended the press conference included Mr Hugh Pride – Director IT, Dr Bruce Tough – General Manager Software Services, Mr A.T. Srinivasan – General Manager Key Accounts & Sales, Mr Akshay Srivastava – Information Services Manager, Mr Patrick John Andrew Murray – Business Solutions Manager and Mr Aslam A. Mohammed – Business Solutions Manager. The senior officials who attended the press briefing from the IBS side are Mr V.K. Mathews – Managing Director, Mr Verghese Jacob – Vice President Global Marketing, Mr Arun Hrishikesan – General Manager Business Services, Mr P. Shankar – General Manager Middle East and Mr V.P. Suresh – Chameleon Project Manager.