Why standardization in Airfield Ground Lighting matters. 5 concrete elements to keep in mind when selecting your next AGL vendor.

year 2021

The pandemic has hit airports in many ways, in some cases investment programs have been delayed or reduced and staff has been put on temporary or long-term unemployment.

This new reality has a considerable impact on how airports work as the new reality leads to questioning how we did things before, but also how we can do things differently when we can gradually leave the pandemic behind us. More guarantees, fewer risks, and full total cost of ownership.

At OCEM Airfield we make sure that the solutions we sell are available and supported throughout the entire lifecycle but more importantly that the products we design, develop and produce are standardized according to all existing regulations. Once we develop new products and solutions we always take care of backward compatibility so that customers are not faced with obsolete products that cannot be replaced by others as they have been developed as proprietary products not interfacing with others or matching (standardized) installed bases.

This not only guarantees that products and solutions in the same locations can be exchanged but it also guarantees that airports can avoid expensive replacements or need to regularly rethink the technologies used on the airfield.

We believe that in any ecosystem, openness is the best way to long-term success and a long-term solid vendor-customer relationship. Every customer has a choice and this is best guaranteed to develop the best products and solutions that match all standards and regulatory requirements.

Limiting choices or installing lock-in systems not only lead to substantial extra investments or force airports to make expensive changes. This is in the current climate of cost-cutting and investment freezes not accepted nor acceptable. Not for hardware and even less so for software solutions.

One way to avoid the lack of backward compatibility with any new products or solutions is a far going standardization. We all know that both on the ICAO and FAA front a lot of loopholes exist.

Not all solutions are standardized whether on the AGL Power solutions front nor in ILCMS (Individual Light Control & Monitoring System) or on the ALCMS front (Airfield Ground Lighting Control and Monitoring System). The regulations are clear enough as to what vendors need to foresee to create an open environment and make sure that products and software solutions can talk to each other or can work in a standardized environment.

We always focus on giving our customers 5 advice before they select the future vendor of their airport:

  1. Go for standardized solutions and interfaces to limit any technical issues or incompatibility of your airfield lighting (or any other assets) set up.
  2. Make sure to check certificates from official certification bodies and get compatibility guarantees from your vendor before you try or buy. Any light or power solution should work with all other lights and power solutions if the right standards have been applied.
  3. Get guarantees on spare parts or the full availability of lights and systems (or compatible solutions) for the full lifecycle.
  4. When in doubt consult the (objective) experts or consultants that can guide you in what are standardized products and solutions so that whenever anything happens you can easily switch without any impact whatsoever on your airport operations.
  5. Ask for references, it’s one thing to say that you can deliver solutions for a heliport but what about a real working solution tested and trialed for years in Tier 1, 2, and 3 airports? Don’t buy purely on presentations but also on (long time) proof points.


We all have a choice and the choice should be to look at the long term of airport operations, in that aspect, it’s key to select products that are still working in 15 years’ time.

You expect it from everything else you foresee in and around your home so why not demand quality and freedom of choice for your airport?

Questions? Contact

Ask our experts

Fill out the online form or contact the OCEM sales and technical support center nearest you
to get more information about our products and services.

Contact us
What are you looking for?