By Maria Jose Subiria
While many of those traveling through the world's busiest airport may find themselves chatting on cell phones or e-mailing colleagues from their laptops, keeping the lines of communication open at Hartsfield-Jackson takes more than the press of a button or the click of a mouse.
Lance Lyttle, the chief information officer in the Information Services Division at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, oversees approximately 53 employees, and is responsible for spearheading all of the airport's technology efforts, including the implementation and integration of communication technologies for Department of Aviation employees, contractors, business partners and passengers.
"The airport is techno-centric, and therefore relies heavily on many forms of technology to provide required services to customers [passengers] and tenants in an efficient, accurate and timely manner," said Lyttle, who has been employed at Hartsfield-Jackson for 10 years.
According to airport officials, Lyttle was recently named to San Francisco-based eAccess Corp.'s 10th annual 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology list.
"I'm honored to be listed among these industry leaders," Lyttle said in an e-mailed statement. "This recognition means that I have a team of talented, hard working, smart thinking employees. I am pleased to share this award with the entire information services team at Hartsfield-Jackson. Their hard work and dedication allows us to deliver cutting-edge results through many forms of technology such as virtualization, wireless and collaboration."
Airport officials said Lyttle, along with the 49 other honorees, will gather at a symposium on Jan. 15 in San Francisco to work toward increasing the involvement of African Americans in technology.
"I am very proud that Lance Lyttle has been recognized as one of the leading African Americans in his industry," said Ben DeCosta, aviation general manager at Hartsfield-Jackson. "His commitment, knowledge and innovative thinking help make the technological operations at Hartsfield-Jackson run smoothly."
Lyttle said one of his current projects is a pilot program involving dynamic, digital signage at the airport, which is undergoing testing.
According to Lyttle, the electronic maps of Hartsfield-Jackson provide passengers with information on the variety of amenities and services in the terminals and on different concourses.
Lyttle said the signage should make updating the airport map much easier.
"It has been very effective, and it is a lot more easier to meet changes -- a lot more efficient," he said.
In the past, Lyttle said he has overseen implementation of the Distributed Antenna System, which provides cellular and PCS service to the airport through antennas placed in the ceiling tiles. The antennas were also placed throughout the Automated People Mover tunnels, so passengers have reception when riding the train to the concourses.
He said other technological services he has implemented include the Trak-a-Line system, in 2002, and the Trak-a-Flight service, in 2003. The two, free, online services available through Hartsfield-Jackson's web site allow passengers to receive flight information and security checkpoint wait times through their cell phones or e-mail.
Lyttle said he was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and attended the University of the West Indies. He said he double majored in physics and computer science and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree. He said he received a master's degree in management information systems from the university in 1996.
"The technology changes, literally, every day," said Lyttle. "How you provide service today is going to change tomorrow ... you never get bored."
On the net:
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport: www.atlanta-airport.com