Smart Dispatching System & v3.7 “Osprey”

7th August, 2023
Sam Webster

Sam Webster

Software Developer

Here it is, the new Smart Dispatching System. You can now dispatch briefings, ground school classes, meetings, or any other event. You can authorise dispatches, nominate SARTIMEs, set checklists per event type, adjust invoice quantities when returning and much more. Let’s dive in!

Smart Dispatching System

This release is all about dispatching. We have fundamentally rebuilt how the dispatching system works to bring you so much more functionality and flexibility. From being able to dispatch any event, three new dispatch statuses, an optimised mobile experience, to 30+ settings, 6 new permissions, and so much more, we wrote a dedicated Radar article all about it - check that out here.

We understand this is a significant release and acknowledge the transition that existing organisations will go through. Thank you to all of those who attended the three live demos we ran last week. We hope this helped in showcasing the changes and how to prepare for them. If you have any questions or need help, please contact our team and we will be with you as soon as possible.

Event Privacy

There are two new permissions to better manage privacy within Smart. They are “view all events” and “view students”. Now by default, if you have access to the scheduler with the “view schedule” permission, for events that you are not a part of they will appear greyed out and only show the times - no other information, no names, no details, nothing. This means you could now give student’s safe access to the scheduler, so they can see when aircraft and instructors are free, but not see what other students are up to.

The “view students” permission allows you to see both the student resources and their bookings, but unless you also have the “view all events” permission, they will still be greyed out and redacted. If you also have the “view all events” permission, then you will see all the details. The combination of these two permissions should allow for much more precise control over who can see what, and also enable the ability for students to view the schedule in a safe way, while being respectful of other students’ information and privacy.

Supporting Changes

With a change as big as the new dispatching system, it does not just affect one isolated part of the system. The dispatching system is far-reaching, and integral to scheduling and lesson records, so naturally there were many other supporting changes, enhancements, fixes and tweaks that went along with it. In order to achieve certain objectives for the dispatching system, other areas benefited as a side-effect.

Lesson Record Access

Accessing lesson records is now much simpler. A direct link to the student’s specific lesson record and associated status is now shown on the dispatching screen and on the event’s hover card on the scheduler - this quick access makes processing and handling lesson records much faster, and brings even more power to the scheduler, reducing the need to navigate away.

Flight Status

Flights picked up 4 new statuses, “on time”, “arrived”, “holding”, “diverted” and “en route” was renamed to “in flight” for clarity. A flight’s status will automatically be changed and updated, but you can now also set the status change to “manual” - where you have total control of the status, and of course you can set this back to “auto” if you’d like.

Flight Dashboard

The full screen, dedicated flight dashboard has now been split into arrivals and departures, making it clearer and more inline with a typical arrival or departure board seen at an airport. We updated the design and information shown, and included the ability to choose between two visual themes.

The Rest

There is a lot more in this release, which can all of course be found in the release notes. However here is a list of some other changes in this release:

  • Automated flight status change to “in flight” from “boarding” after dispatch.
  • Raised the profile picture size limit to 5 MB.
  • Flights page now shows a more operations centric dashboard.
  • Renamed "delete flights" permission to be "delete events".
  • Renamed "view all flights" permission to be "view all events".
  • Clearer event & flight status display.
  • Ability to search logbooks by flight ID.
  • Updated permissions area, including the ability to search permissions.
  • More signature filters on the Timetable.
  • Counts of competencies, elements and performance criteria on the qualifications manager.

Coming Soon

There are two big projects in the wings right now. First is the notifications and communications overhaul, which will feature a far more expanded and customisable notifications centre, where you can select who gets what notifications and when, and how they should receive them - including SMS should the organisation opt-in. There will also be a rich communications system, where you will be able to message each other, join event specific chats, instructors can message their student teams/groups, and much more.

Second is an API, which will allow for enterprise organisations to more deeply couple Smart with other systems and services, such as Microsoft’s Power BI for richer reporting and analytics. It will be a RESTful, token-based, JSON web API. Initially it will have access to a smaller subset of all potential data, focusing on access to data that is most requested and working down from there in incremental updates. We will of course share more information on both of these projects as we have more information. If you are a developer, and the API is of particular interest to you then please submit some feedback so you can be part of the conversation as we build it.

Both the notifications/communications system and the API are foundational to something else we’re very excited about bringing to you after these systems have been developed and released - the Smart iOS/Android companion application.

Wrap Up

That’s all for this time around, there is a lot in this release to soak in and get accustomed to. This release is largely a result of all your feedback, requests, ideas, meetings and we hope that comes across - your feedback is important to us and we want you to know that we do hear you, and that your ideas are valuable and can actually end up in driving change, so thank you, we sincerely hope this release helps you out and improves your experience with Smart. Until next time!

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