Common User Self Service
ICM has launced its CUSS platform for the Series 7 Auto Bag Drop solution. This enables other applications that comply to the CUSS standard to run on the Auto Bag Drop hardware.
The idea of CUSS (Common User Self Service) was driven by the need for airlines to share check-in kiosks. It aimed to provide a standard to allow the same application to run on a broad range of kiosk hardware, without airlines having to support multiple versions of the same application. To achieve this cross-platform utilisation, and application interoperability the industry body responsible for the standard, IATA, turned to the IT industry standards of JAVA for the programming language and CORBA for the interfaces.
Write-once, run anywhere’, the mantra of Java, was borrowed by the IATA CUSS management team for the philosophy to underpin CUSS. Rather than mandate an application architecture, the team turned to CORBA, or Common Object Request Broker Architecture to provide secure interoperability. Interoperability gives airline developers the flexibility to create applications as thin web-applications or fat clients to match their internal coding architectures.
The CUSS standard uses CORBA to accomplish two major purposes. Firstly, it abstracts the intricacies of hardware away from the application developers. Secondly, it also standardizes a common set of services that are provided by a shared kiosk .The first purpose is extremely important to the success of CUSS – the standard defines a generic set of CORBA services for commonly used peripherals, such as printers, credit card readers, and passport scanners. CUSS establishes the concept of “Virtual Device Components” to shield developers from the myriad of proprietary device drivers and hardware specific idiosyncrasies. This clearly defined set of interfaces allows the creation of a single application, regardless of the hardware implementation.