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MAHB develops data insights to optimize customer satisfaction

  • Combination of Fusionex Business Intelligence platform with IoT devices
  • Insights into composition of retail outlets helps it optimize retail mix at airport


MAHB develops data insights to optimize customer satisfaction

[Beginning October 2016, in a commercial arrangement with the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), DNA will feature an article per week on Big Data Analytics: Most of the articles will come from Exposing the Promise of Big Data Analytics: Case Studies in Malaysia.]

AIRPORT operator, Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd (MAHB), with interests in Turkey, India, and South Asia, is working with big data and analytics expert, Fusionex on a proof-of-concept: to develop a Business Intelligence platform to further enhance Malaysia Airports’ retailer management system within KLIA and provide value-added services for travelers.

MAHB is an airport management company based in Malaysia with a portfolio of almost 40 airports in and around South Asia and Turkey. Apart from the aeronautical business, MAHB also manages other portfolios including duty-free and retail operations, hotels, free commercial zones, commercial space leasing, and management of parking facilities. It also runs global training centers regarding airport management, airport fire and rescue services, and aviation security.

The Challenge

MAHB sought to enhance its customer data collection methods and determined to increase the accuracy of gathered information on the performance of its retail units within KLIA. This involves an approximately 400,000 square foot containing retail outlets at various locations including the arrival and departure halls as well as check-in counter areas. These outlets/locations see a fluctuating amount of shoppers at different times and days of the week.

MAHB aims to ramp up its data collection frequency near the shops area. A higher degree of prompt data collection would serve to accurately determine when promotional activities should be held, or if they were held – what their projected results would be. Accuracy of information garnered from this area is important to determine the customers’ hotspots and their spending trends.

A precise method to track spending trends at the terminal would allow MAHBto identify local shoppers and international travelers apart. This would also result in a more informed decision being made with regards to what the retail composition should be – whether the terminal should host more shops selling food, garments, souvenirs, or other goods base on the shoppers spending pattern and behaviour.

The solution

A combination of the Fusionex Business Intelligence platform together with Internet of Things (IoT) devices was utilised to collect and manage the terminal’s retail data. Sensors were installed at the main terminal building’s arrival and departure halls and the contact piers for international and domestic flights.

Sensors are also placed in and around the airport’s retail sections to determine hotspots where the most retail activity occurred. The sensors are functioning independently without requiring wiring or lengthy installation methods. Among the sensors used were those with Bluetooth capabilities and Wi-Fi detection capabilities installed in collaboration with solution provider Tapway.

A mobile application was developed to track the basic demographic background of customers including details such as gender and nationality. A campaign was conducted to encourage travelers to sign up for the mobile app. The app could then use the demographic information to craft personalized marketing messages and promotions for the customers.

Using a wide set of connectors, various type of data set and system can be integrated into a single platform with speed and ease. The dashboard reporting is then rendered automatic as well, giving the client the ability to view revenues in near real time. These endeavors were supported and co-funded by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).

The benefits

The ability to receive performance data from their existing tenants quickly, together with traveler information from installed sensors, allowed MAHB to make more accurate decisions.

For instance, understanding traveler habits and shopper behavior and preferences.

MAHB will be able to determine travelers’ flow and identify trends of unique shoppers via the installed sensors. Other than that, demographic data such as gender, date of birth and nationality will also be gathered to help MAHB understand which retail outlets appeal the most to which groups of people. This provides insights into what composition of retail outlets would be optimum in the airport – whether or not certain shops fit, and whether they fit better in domestic or international halls.

This then naturally leads to the ability to perform more accurate marketing efforts. Passengers’ traffic data gathered, which could be drilled down to daily and even hourly intervals, could inform MAHB when would be the right time to hold promotional and marketing events within the terminal. Connectivity via travelers’ mobile devices provides a possibility for future marketing undertakings such as customer-specific push notifications. When walking near a particular shop which the traveler might be interested in, the platform pushes a notification to their phones for a promotion on items or services available.


By utilizing IoT devices and gathering useful data on a centralized system, MAHB is able to get a good overall view of its airport’s retail sector. Being provided with user-friendly BI dashboards also enables MAHB’s management-level personnel to get quick looks at the information to make timely and accurate data-driven decisions.

This article first appeared in www.asiandatascience.com. Used with permission.

Previous articles in the same series:

The rise against landslides: Big Data to the rescue

Big data analytics at your service – and ours

Ensuring Malaysia’s food security with IoT-BDA

Come for the coffee, stay for the company

No frills, no inefficiencies, no problem

Using analytics to drive customer engagement, market leadership



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