This issue of IFExpress continues on the Digital Trends journey from the Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) in Hamburg, Germany. We will wrap up the coverage up by navigating our readers through the final two sessions.

TAKING THE PAIN OUT OF THE DIGITAL JOURNEY

This was the first new stream in the afternoon and it focused on how the latest technology can both help and support new innovations that engage the passenger. And how there are multiple digital/mobile tools from different companies that are on offer to the passenger that can help, but also make the experience complex and disconnected. It also addressed the challenges our industry faces in sharing customer data and what issues specifically need to be tackled on an industry level.

This session was run a little differently from the previous streams. Questions were posed by the moderator, then each panelist addressed the question.

The panelists were: Dennis Baur – Head of Conichiwa; Steven Bailey – Chief Sales Officer of AOE; and Konsta Hansson – Managing Director of Reaktor Aero.

  • Where do we start taking out the pain?

Dennis Baur of Conichiwa: Conichiwa works with many different companies in our industry from airlines, to airports, and hotels. “There are currently so many independent apps available to the traveler of today.  Many, if not most, of these apps are not connected (to each other) and the data points aren’t being shared. The result is clearly a disjointed passenger journey.” The industry needs to leverage the data and work towards a more connected experience for the traveler by sharing the information. Dennis used the term ‘super apps’ to achieve this concept.

Steven Bailey of AOE, is a long-time expert in the digitalization of international companies, as well as, their business and IT vision. We focus on helping clients with their digital transformation and multi-channel e-commerce strategies. “When we undertake a journey, 80% of it is planed ahead, but 20% is an impulse driven purchase. However, there are cultural drivers that differ with both travelers and airlines. For example, Asians want to pre-plan the journey, have planned purchases, etc. Sharing customer data is a really crucial point. Our industry needs to look at becoming customer centricpeople plan in advance and are using their devices to leverage their journey.”

Konsta Hansson of Reaktor. In case you are not familiar with Reaktor, they are a digital design consulting firm that works across multiple industries. “We as an industry, need to focus on what the passenger wants and needs to get done throughout their journey.” Konsta went on to discuss the concept of the importance of customer centric product development. “Because we work across multiple industries, we can see what different clients/users do across those different settings. The key is to understand what the people are trying to get then providing them with something that addresses those needs that truly works to get things done.”

  • How do we help the industry overcome that fear?

Konsta: “By maybe trying the smaller things first. As an industry, we have fear about what will happen when the passenger is provided with the right type of information that they need. For example, that their bag didn’t make the flight. “

Dennis: Suggested using sensing technologies and beacons, which provide data that the airline can leverage. “Start with implementing digital technology along the customer journey – beacons are an example. Everyone wants this, but no one is speaking to each other and no one is actually addressing the need. Design it in a user centric way.”

Steven:Retail and services in airports are like a different part of the airport and don’t really share data with the other portions of an airport, like parking, and services (disabled, etc). Treating it like a fraternity not a trinity. Sharing data is paramount for success. Finding a solution is paramount. Look at customer journey and make it customer centric. Sharing the data, no matter what the source. Data falls into 2 buckets: GDPR (VERY Personal stuff) and Common Data. Is there a possibility that GDPR could overcome this by having the traveler signing up for some basic information being shared about you?”

Konsta:Data can be very generic but still be very useful. When you are using general data there are no issues about privacy. It is quite common to merge different data sources in other industries, which is quite beneficial.”

Steven: “Minor steps are significant. For example: a passenger hasn’t boarded plane, so unload their luggage and let the passenger know that there is a hotel right around the corner and that they can buy pajamas, or whatever they need for the unexpected stay.”

Dennis: “The current infrastructure is very fragmented. How quickly can your company deploy and move? In this industry, we tend to be so behind. – it is the nature of the aviation industry; whereas, the passenger journey itself is quite agile.”

Konsta:It is about being nimble and fast. Not about products really. It is about what addresses the customers’ problem. This must be in the forefront of the airline’s/airport/s mind. A lot of this stuff isn’t about IoT, it is empowering the people to do something. Sometimes the problem is much simpler than building or opening another application. Block chain will be the next thing coming up, especially with the loyalty programs and payment. At the moment this is API based. It is going to take some time, so now we need to take time and make small steps first. Always look at the customer. We are in the time where people have to have the guts to go into OPEX (a type of software for automation that provides tremendous speed to IT). There are algorithms that have been developed in other industries, could they be used after the fact to prove that the system/product could be used? This may be a way to get the industry to embrace something, by proving after the fact, that the process/analysis works. Must leave it up to the customer about when and where they want to engage.” He went on to say that when it comes time to test/trial, “You have to use actual passengers and users, in order for you to know whether it will be used.“ He also had advice on how to start this process, “How do we begin? Start with something small first. Select one small project somewhere and start doing something in a new way. This is how you start to change a mindset. Often, digitization is put on the sidelines and is laughed at. We need to ask where we want to be in 5 -10 years and how much funding are we going to put at it and it needs to be additional revenue, not filtered off another area. Have a strategy to go forward over the next 12 months and when do you plan to go live with it. This is a type of barrier that we see all the time. The C levels want it but it the mid-level managers are pushing back. Based on fear that their jobs will be lost. Konsta finished with this: “Do something that will break your own business model and try to identify what other companies will try to do in your sector. Look at additional revenues and your customers. Take the pain out build something that works. Quality is important if you want to take the pain out. Start small.”

ENHANCING YOUR REALITY

Panelists for this session: David Dicko – CEO Skylights; Fachrul Iman Alghozali – Product Development Analyst for GMF AeroAsia; Claire Nurcombe – Head of Marketing, Stelia Aerospace; Fabian Birgfeld – Founder & Managing Direction of W12, A TCS Interactive digital Design Studio; and Greg Caterer – CEO of Neutral Digital

The first to address the attendees was David Dicko from SkyLights. For those of you who aren’t familiar with SkyLights, they are a company that is deploying cinematic VR inflight. David said, “VR inflight is a technology that is able to overcome the special constraints of the cabin and ‘transport’ the passenger away from the cabin environment. SkyLights offers full HD, 3D AND 2D experiences.” He went on to say that over the past three (3) years they have done 7,000+ flights and have been commercially deployed on Garuda Indonesia, Alaska Airlines, and Air France. “The average usage time is 3 hours with a 94% passenger satisfaction rate,” said David. “Airlines that have offered the product have shown an improved NPS, a differentiated experience, and increased their brand awareness.” He went on, “Some of the obstacles have been headset comfort, nausea, and the passenger announcements (PA). One of the biggest issues is passenger comfort over the long haul. And comfort is key. Nausea can be solved by not doing VR when we don’t need to, and when we do show 360-degree content we must be careful how that content is made and reproduced. Passengers need to follow 10k feet rules, passenger announcements. Either address via Wi-Fi or through the audio.” David went on to say that airlines who have selected and/or trialed the SkyLights product have done extensive internal analysis on their passenger experience; need a differentiator for the passenger experience and feel that the cabin experience is a key precondition to stay competitive.”

Fachrul Iman Alghozali was the next presenter and gave an update on their VR trial with SkyLights which commenced after APEX in Boston 2018. He said the trail looked at comfort, entertainment and anxiety. Some of the challenges to flying with VR that they experienced were: Safety & Authorities’ Regulation; Operational Habit Change; Passenger Feedback; MRO & Ground Support Perspective; Supply Chain; System Integration; and Maintain Reliability. Fachrul said as far as the PA integration, they came up with a single cable integration and the PA was connected to the Wi-Fi server.

Here are two charts from the presentation: Evaluation on the Garuda Deployment and What We Know.

Claire Nurcombe of Neutral Digital (ND) was the next panelist. “ND has been working with SkyLights for a little over year to look at the integration opportunities. We have been looking at the following issues: How do we integrate it into seat and what are the certification issues? What do we need to overcome to achieve that? What is the real value of integrating VR headsets into the seat? We can do 4D cinema where the seat vibrates/moves to mimic what is going on in the screen (explosions, etc.) There is an Opal seat on SkyLights booth at the Expo. We worked together to create a massage/wellness environment and it can create a much more convincing environment for the passenger”.

Claire went on to say, “On the subject of VR, we are just starting out as a seat manufacturer. Reducing our cycles and can quickly check assumptions and validations. Can be done prior to building the mock-up. From a pragmatic point of view, it is how we are using it. VR is just starting its journey. It has left the gadget/gimmick stage. “

She closed with, “If we as a seat manufacturer can get rid of the inseat screen we can radically change how the seat fits into the aircraft and what it can be like. “ 

The Core Applications of VR in the Aviation Sector was the title of Greg Caterer of Neutral Digital’s presentation. Greg told the audience, “ND came up with the idea of a storyfied version of an in-cabin experience for Air Canada. We discovered that there are both cost and memorability benefits to putting the passenger experience at the center and trying to improve it via VR.  Cabin crew and ground operations training modules (interactive VR training) we critical. There was also seat visualization collaboration between Pearsonlloyd (the seat designer) and Neutral Digital. We established three (3) pillars for success: marketing, training and design. All of the 3 pillars have the passenger experience improving at their core.”

Take a look at this chart from Greg’s presentation that discusses the Key Benefits of Using VR.

The final speaker of the afternoon was Fabian Birgfeld, founder & Managing Direction W12.

Fabian started his presentation by discussion the following lessons learned, focusing on the audience: 1) obviously the importance of customer journey 2) with delocalization of the customer. Ask yourself, how do you craft freedom and fold it into the experience?

He went on to make the following statements/questions:

  • People don’t want to be locked in.
  • How do you use technology to enhance the customer experience?
  • Why is customer experience so incredibly important?
  • Compare the living room experience with everything else is out there.
  • Look at customer service & experience.
  • How do you leverage technology to influence tomorrow?
  • Everything is connected. Customers expect a seamless experience(s).
  • It is all about the data.
  • The customers expect tailored experiences. The data exists and we should use the information to tailor the experience.
  • Voice changes everything. Customers expect conversational experiences. Remote is a huge constraint compared to voice and gestures.
  • The artificial turns natural. Our reality is changing fast. That is a broad spectrum of reality and the customer is going to choose what is their choice.

“The customer journey starts the moment you conceive the journey through your return home. It is important that it is seamless and that is key. It is a reality that Netflix, Amazon Prime are what the consumer is used to, and it is what they expect moving forward.” Said Greg, “Never look at these things as a singular experience but together: brand, offer, tech – this is what comprises the experience framework.”

Greg continued, “Brand is so important. If you solve the brand issue you have solved 90% of the problem that is out there. You can future proof your offering. Digital changes extremely fast once you get hooked into the cloud.”

“Technology: We must create platform agnostic experiences. Work across all platforms to provide a consistent experience. Right now, the lowest hanging fruit is in the AR (augmented reality) space because you can cover the entire journey. Think of the opportunities/concepts: Airportal – the destination at the gate and bring the destination forward; Peek and book – see before you buy; and Travel tag – leaving your mark.”

Editor’s Note: This wraps up the Passenger Experience Conference Digital Trends Stream. Next week we will move on to some of the hardware and concepts we saw during the Aircraft Interiors Expo itself. So stay tuned!


GOGO

Gogo Inc. announced that it has determined that the consummation of the offering and sale of $905 million aggregate principal amount of 9.875% senior secured notes due 2024 by Gogo Intermediate Holdings LLC (“Holdings LLC”), the Company’s direct wholly owned subsidiary, and Gogo Finance Co. Inc., a direct wholly owned subsidiary of Holdings LLC and the Company’s indirect wholly owned subsidiary, satisfies the financing condition to its previously announced cash tender offer for any and all of its outstanding 3.75% Convertible Senior Notes due 2020.


THALES

Thales announces that Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, chose Thales’ Ka-band connectivity solution for their B787-9 and A321Neo-E (LR) aircraft. The airline is renowned for its traditional hospitality and its commitment to being an industry leader by developing products and services that reflect the evolving needs and aspirations of their passengers for a modern travel experience.

  • Gulf Air selects Thales’ Ka-band connectivity solution for its B787-9 and A321Neo-E (LR) fleet.
  • Thales will provide a robust, modular and full-featured connectivity platform for a best in class experience onboard leveraging Global Xpress Ka-band satellite network.
  • In 2016, Gulf Air selected Thales’ AVANT IFE system for their complete fleet renewal program.

OTHER NEWS


Two Digital Trends Breakout Sessions – 2019 Passenger Experience Conference

In last week’s issue of IFExpress we reviewed the opening session from the Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) held in Hamburg, Germany earlier this month. This week, we will focus on the conference’s Digital: The New Reality Breakout Sessions. We found these panel discussions to be informative and pertinent to the current trends in our industry.

From an important perspective, The Digital: The New Reality stream looked at how digital tools are surpassing the current mobile apps and will eventually be integrated across the entire journey, creating a seamless digital user space.

The keynote address for this stream was Practical applications of digital in the passenger experience. The cabin is a 3-dimensional object but the 4th dimension is time, and was presented by Anaïs Marzo da Costa, Head of Aircraft Interiors Marketing, Airbus. Anaïs discussed the current digital trends that Airbus has been looking at.  She said that Airbus has been working at connecting the airplane and they are now focusing on trying to connect the cabin. She stated that studies indicated there were 3 billion smartphone users in 2018 and that number is estimated to double to 6.1 billion by 2020.  Anaïs continued by stating that Airbus anticipates 23,100 aircraft to be equipped with connectivity by the year 2025. Looking back, there were zero airlines connected in 2007, and ten years later, in 2017 there were 106 aircraft connected. Needless to say, the forecasted rate of implementation over the next nine to ten years is impressive and enhances the fact that the integration of digitalization is growing rapidly.

How is connectivity coming onboard? Smartphones are used by travelers for booking and check-in – smartphones are the #1 travel companion. What does this information translate to onboard the aircraft? Passengers want choice! Airbus stated that the 2017 SITA IT Trends Survey & the Gogo Global Traveler 2018 Survey foresee more multi-screen environments in the future – both BYOD & inseat screens. This degree of digitalization provides an opportunity for a more tailored/targeted service and airlines are in the process of developing personalized offers that are enabled by: mobile connectivity, data analytics, and the passenger’s willingness to share personal data (right now that is roughly 27% of consumers).

Airbus has been actively pursuing the future of the connected cabin (the wireless network that links everything in cabin: galleys, overhead bag bins, flight attendants, passengers, cargo bays, lavatories, etc.), creating a cabin ecosystem for seamless connectivity of the various cabin elements, enabling additional value for both the airlines and the passengers. “The idea is to have every commodity in the cabin talking to each other, creating value for the airline and the passenger.”

Anaïs said, “There are three (3) pillars of the connected experience: 1) Operational Efficiency, 2) Ancillary Revenue, & 3) Passenger Experience.” Examples are:  Operational Efficiency – predictive maintenance, cabin crew operations and turnaround times; Ancillary Revenues – personalized inflight retail, tailored advertising, and news services; and the Passenger Experience – personalized catering, individual comfort settings, personalized services and the amount of bag bin space available. All the aforementioned will be achieved by using an IoT platform.

“At the moment we (Airbus) are doing predictive maintenance with the aircraft data but we want to be able to map that over to the cabin as well. Airbus is working with other aircraft manufacturers and suppliers in order to facilitate this in the near future. We, as an industry, are working on a common and secure language because this will benefit both the airline and the passenger”. In closing, Anaïs said, “I’ve recently asked Fritz Urban (Airbus’ cochair of the ARINC CSS committee) if CSS is going to write a standard for this network. As of today, there has been no response.”

The First Panel Discussion on Digital Trends pertained to Creating the Complete Digital and Physical Journey. This stream focused on how biometric technologies are providing an opportunity to reach the passenger on their journey through the airport and onto the aircraft.

Russell Holmes, Strategy Director & Partner of ico Design, was the first to address attendees. Mr. Holmes has been working with the London Luton Airport team over the past 5 years and has been instrumental in developing their brand.  His message evolved around the concept of looking at best practices. He said, “Everything should be underpinned by something that is not working as individual silos.” He went on to say, “The airport identity needs to work not only in a physical space but also in a digital space.” The airport identity should be completely flexible. One cannot look at the airport as static space. The question then is: How do you create something as a brand that can live in both the physical and digital space?

The next panelist was David Bartlett, CTO of Panasonic Avionics. David spoke to the assembly about the concept of competitive differentiation and the concept of the 4th Dimension/Place. He explained that for people the First Place is Home, the Second Place is Work and the Third Place (as defined by Ray Oldenburg in 1989 who stated it was critical to modern society, democracy) is a place that you go that you opt in (think coffee shop or a café). A prime example of a company that has really leveraged the concept of the Third Place is Starbucks. Mr. Bartlett sated, “We at Panasonic Avionics are proposing that Travel is the Fourth Place. Why is travel the logical fourth place?  We believe the travel experience is the co-mingling of the first 3 places. When you travel you socialize, work, sleep, eat.”

The concept of the 4th place is it must be a place that people look forward to being in. This is achieved by removing a lot of the friction points. How do we do this? How do we make the journey more of a place that people want to be in? How do we do this an industry? People want an experience that is seamless and gives them an immersive experience. How do we, as an industry, provide them with one connected experience starting from the home, throughout the journey, then back to the home? In other words, how do we provide a more personally curated experience? Panasonic cannot do this alone. It is an action call to the industry to leverage the entire ecosystem to work together in a new and more open way to achieve this.

The third panelist was Simon Krasowski, SVP Digital Transformation, Diehl Aviation; who discussed Digital Aviation Transformation. Simon said, “The world is shifting and becoming more complex. We are moving from complicated to more complex systems. How do we solve the problems and tackle them? It is more about testing different options. So, we need to change the way we work, take risks and allow failures.” He went on to say that we must make certain that we, as an industry, have seamless processes through the value chain. Right now, competitive priced products may be an answer, but in the future, it will be more about customer concentricity and speed of innovation – in other words, design thinking. “We must work closer within our work ecosystem and work with partners in order to achieve better and faster results. In other words, the key for success is collaboration within ecosystem. This calls for a balance between traditional working methods and agile working methods.”

The fourth panelist was Anne de Hauw of IN Air Travel Experience. Ms. De Hauw started her presentation stating that traditionally, airlines focused on safety and the passenger focused on the experience. Today, the question is should the focus be on the customer or technology? “At IN Air, we believe that time is your customer’s most valuable resource.  Airlines are going from creating technologies to services. They will do this by using technology as an enabler (AI, block chain). Technology (AI) will be crucial in customer service and convenience will be the new loyalty.”

Anne went on to discuss the 5 Key Pillars that will be needed, and they are: 1) Data-Driven: data gathering, machine learning and rapid analysis. This will lead to predicting behavior > intelligent offers > higher revenues. 2) Connectivity: onboard connectivity is transforming the travel experience to an open & connected world. Passengers behave like usual digital consumers. 3) Customer-Centricity: Reinvented offerings to evolve into hyper-personalized, immersive and emotional experiences. 4) Personalization: Faster and more efficient personalized services. 5) Collaborative Eco-System: Stakeholder interaction, passenger engagement and data sharing to create a positive and competitive experience.

She went on to discuss the New Brand Hierarchy, where, companies like Apple, Google and Amazon hold the top tier. Airlines are located on the second tier. She asked the question of how to play on that level? IN Air believes the answer is in providing ultimate convenience to the passenger. It has to be fast, easy and fun (FEF). This is achieved by being a combination of both digital and human interface. The best of the digital conveniences would be comprised of: seamless and single token, AI and Service Bot, Data analytics, connectivity. The best of human interface would be comprised of: hospitality, culture, emotional experiences, service. The best of both: Personalization/CURATION, Loyalty/COMMUNITY, engagement/CREATION and convenience/CONNECTIVITY. Anne wrapped up her presentation with the following, “The human interface will become the new premium service. The human interface is comprised of empathy, passion and creativity, with emotion at the core.” “The airline must care,” said Anne. She used an example of economy food service. What the food looks like, how it is presented, etc. and stated that this is an example of how the human interface currently needs to be improved in today’s market. She asked, “Why can’t the food look appealing and be presented in a more appetizing fashion? This is not helping the cause. There are technologies that are disrupting airline catering. New initiatives are on the cusp for utilizing the digital advancements to get this going. This is what we as an industry need to strive for!

The last speaker from this session of the Digital Trends stream was Elizabeth “Bess” Chapman, Operating Principal of JetBlue Technologies (JBT). She works with portfolio companies to create compelling value propositions for JetBlue, source new technology and identify emerging trends. She stated that innovation is a big part of JetBlue’s airline identify but she has found it has become more challenging to become more innovative. “We want to find the next Uber in aviation,” said Bess.

How does JetBlue Technologies work? They scan the global ecosystem for start-ups. Once they find one that is appealing JBT partners with them. They help them get going then bring them back into JetBlue. “We work with startups both via investment but with time as well,” said Bess. Over time, they have invested in 22 companies.

“Brand is an identity former. Look at Apple. They have incredibly strong brand identity. If they were to launch an airline, who wouldn’t fly it?! Virgin has a very strong brand identity, but many others do not,” she said. “People and their interaction and empathy are very significant. Again, look at an Apple store vs. an airline counter at an airport.”

One challenge now is to test and take risks and see what really works, but also, the industrialization to make certain you have the best product for your customer.

Disruptions in a business like an airline is very different from an electronics giant like Apple. Whether it is a delay, etc. How do you get that irate passenger to come around and change their position from being annoyed to appreciative? Is it offering them free Wi-Fi, a glass of champagne? You really have to know the individual’s wants/needs. This is another advantage in digital technology – it is not only cutting cost but being able to deliver. And reliability is very important.

Value Perspective: What is the next big value disruption? With regards to AI, a lot has been done with biometrics via facial technology for within the airport that allows passengers to board using biometrics, so there is no need for a boarding pass, because facial recognition is so secure. With this digital information, there is then the opportunity to target those people with sales/shopping en route to the gate. JBT also believes that the insights from the data will be absolutely game changing for our industry.

Another area that JBT finds significant is the airlines that want to boost their customer service and personal interaction are the airlines who are looking at the concept of virtual assistants, so it really is a better balance, it isn’t actually trying to depersonalize the experience. How people interact with a virtual assistant may be key. You tend to talk with them in a neutral way vs. the way you may interact with a person or your partner. This may be a way that the technology understands who I am, how quickly I need to get through the airport, etc. All reducing the stress of the journey.

Next week the IFExpress team will wrap-up the Digital Trends Stream with “Taking the Pain Out of the Digital Journey” and the final session “Enhancing Your Reality”.


ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation announced that it will supply inflight entertainment system hardware for a next-generation inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) system being developed by one of the largest airlines in the United States. Under the agreement, Astronics’ products will equip nearly 50 of the airlines’ new widebody aircraft. Provided by Astronics CSC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Astronics Corporation, Astronics is now delivering production units that are a combination of new and existing products, both standard off-the-shelf and custom designs.


GOGO

Gogo Inc. announced the pricing of the previously announced private offering of $905 million aggregate principal amount of 9.875% senior secured notes due 2024 (the “Notes”) to be issued by its direct wholly owned subsidiary, Gogo Intermediate Holdings LLC (“Holdings LLC”), and its indirect wholly owned subsidiary, Gogo Finance Co. Inc. (the “Co-Issuer” and, together with Holdings LLC, the “Issuers”).  The offering is expected to close on April 25, 2019, subject to certain closing conditions.


EDITOR’S NOTE

While IFExpress’ primary focus is IFEC, we have been flooded with news about the 737 MAX. We recommend this April 18, 2019 article from the IEEE Spectrum. It is both descriptive and technical and represents the observations and operating conditions of the aircraft by an author who is both a pilot and software developer.  How the Boeing 737 Max Disaster Looks to a Software Developer – IEEE Spectrum


OTHER NEWS

  • L-Band is being tested in Germany for the future of aviation communication and one of the reason is data rate – 2.6 Megabits/sec versus a few kilobits. Notes Avionics International: “First, it is an alternative link that pilots and controllers can use to digitally exchange much of the same information they communicate today verbally. Secondly, it can serve as an alternative positioning, navigation and timing signal for correcting aircraft navigation accuracy when global navigation satellite system links such as Galileo or EGNOS in Europe are interrupted or unavailable.” Flight Tests of LDACS Prototype Under Way in Germany – Avionics International
  • If you are into antennas, or you want to learn more about antennas, check out this site. The Antenna Theory Website As they (and Einstein) say: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

 

 

 

Survey reveals younger travellers want virtual reality tours, AR board games, high tech viewing and booking for tourist attractions, VR boxing matches, hologram clothes shopping and robotic medical help – before they even get on the plane. Older travellers are not so keen.

London | August 21, 2018–

An online YouGov poll commissioned by leading inflight entertainment and passenger engagement company Spafax published today reveals that younger travellers want airports to use technology to enhance their airport experience – but older travellers are more wary*:

The poll, of 2,110 respondents (gen UK adult population of 18+), asked about their wishlist for ‘an airport lounge of the future’ revealed:

  • 37% of people aged 18 to 34 would play augmented reality (AR) board games with other passengers but only 9% of of 55 and overs would
  • 17% of 18-24-year-olds would like to try on hologram clothes at an airport, while only 6% of 55 and overs would.
  • 36% of women would choose, when in an airport lounge, a virtual reality (VR) preview of tourist attractions at their destination, along with the opportunity to pre-book tickets once they’d browsed

Similarly, a second GB survey**, which asked respondents to envisage an upcoming long haul flight from London to New York  showed that 38% wanted artificial intelligence to help with speeding up the airport process and 35% wanted it to give information on news in their destination whilst on-board the flight.

Regional differences

A YouGov survey* regarding choices for the airport lounge showed a sharp difference in both ages and regions – given the option of taking a virtual reality ‘Great Wall of China’ experience in an airport lounge where the passenger would walk on a treadmill and in real-time experience the sights of the Great Wall of China – people from Wales were the most enthusiastic, with 31% saying that they would, while people from the North East of England were the least enthusiastic (16%).

Passengers from the South East were most likely to choose to test-drive the latest luxury sports cars using virtual reality headsets and sitting in real car seats at an airport (25%), while people in the North East were less enthusiastic at 16%.

Eleven per cent of people in the South West would like a VR experience that recreated their own sitting rooms in the airport lounge, the highest in the UK.

The second survey, where respondents were asked to think specifically about a hypothetical upcoming trip from London to New York, went on to confirm these regional differences**:

People in the South West (45%) were most likely to want technology to help them speed up the journey through the airport.

People in the South East (42%) and Scotland (39%) were the most likely to want AI to give them information on the latest news in the area they were going to.

Sharp difference in what the young and old want from airport experience

A recent survey* proved that retired passengers were possibly the most relaxed passengers, with only 2% of them saying they’d like to take part in a virtual reality boxing match to let off steam before the flight, while 17% of full-time students chose this option.

When comparing the working status of these groups, we can see that a full 44% of full-time studentssaid that they would choose to do the full China Wall experience while only 23% of retired peoplewould.

Nearly a half (48%) of retired people did not want any sort of personalized experience at an airport compared with a quarter (25%) of full time students.

Similarly, a second YouGov survey** confirmed these age differences in relation to AI for a hypothetical upcoming flight from London to New York:

Twenty-seven per cent of all respondents would not like artificial intelligence to assist them with anything for their trip with over 55s most resistant to AI in airports at 33% saying they would not like it to assist them, while only 17% of 18-24-year-olds didn’t want help from AI.

Students were most likely to want to use AI to teach them a new language or skill with 38% choosing this option.

Difference between men and women

One survey* suggested that women seem to be keener on a real-world sensory experience, involving direct human interaction – for the question “You will be served an array of small luxury handmade chocolates and a pink cider. The staff serving you will explain how each is made” it was a thumbs up from 21% of men while 30% of women chose the option.

Twenty-seven per cent of men would test drive a new luxury car in VR, while only 17% of women would.

A second survey**, about a potential future London to New York trip, similarly proved that women were significantly more likely at 33% to want a personalized guide to their destination than men (25%). Menwere more likely to want to AI to teach them a new skill or language (21%) than women (16%).

Most passengers are open to help and guidance from AI, but not with medical issues**

People in the East of England (14%) and full-time students (18%) are most likely to welcome on-board medical help driven by artificial intelligence, while those in the North East (4%) are less keen.

Charles Vine, Head of Brand Alliances at Spafax said:

“We commissioned this research to find out what the British public actually wants out of their airport and airport lounge experiences. Airport lounges in particular are evolving from faceless waiting rooms with chairs and a coffee machine to being providers of an experience in their own right. The results send a clear message to us that people want the introduction of technology, but only in a way that enhances their trip, entertains or is enjoyable.

“27% were against being helped by AI for a hypothetical upcoming trip, whereas a resounding 68% of the British public did want artificial intelligence AI to help them get the most out of their time at the airport – whether that be assistance navigating the airport terminals or speeding up the check in process. ”

Tel Aviv, Israel | June 6, 2018–Hailo, a company developing a proprietary chip for deep learning on edge devices, today announced the completion of a $12.5 million Series A round. The company’s investors include Ourcrowd.com, Maniv Mobility, the Drive accelerator fund: Next Gear; as well as angel investors, Hailo Chairman Zohar Zisapel and Delek Motors CEO Gil Agmon. The company will use the funding to further develop its deep learning processor, which will deliver datacenter processing capacity to edge devices. This latest funding round brings the total raised to date by the Tel Aviv-based company to $16 million.

Hailo’s breakthrough deep learning processor, whose initial samples are expected to enter the market in H1 2019, will be able to run embedded AI applications on edge devices that are installed in autonomous vehicles, drones, and smart home appliances such as personal assistants, smart cameras and smart TVs, alongside IoT, AR and VR platforms, wearables and security products. The Hailo processor radically reduces size, power and cost, making it suitable for local processing of high-resolution sensory data in real time.

The automotive industry, which is one of Hailo’s key target markets, is undergoing a major disruption, rapidly adopting deep learning methods to enable advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving applications that require continuous sensing of surroundings. According to IC Insights, Integrated Circuits used in automobiles and other vehicles are expected to generate global sales of $42.9 billion in 2021, compared to $22.9 billion in 2016. Existing general-purpose processor infrastructure cannot efficiently run compute-intensive deep learning algorithms necessary for these applications.

“The 70-year old architecture of existing processors is inadequate to meet today’s deep learning and AI processing needs,” says Orr Danon, Hailo CEO. “Hailo is revolutionizing the underlying architecture of the processor to boost deep learning processing by several orders of magnitude. We have completely redesigned the pillars of computer architecture – memory, control and compute – and the relations between them.”

Zohar Zisapel, Hailo Chairman, added: “In the last few years, we are witnessing a revolution in the automotive industry with the quick entry of new players and technologies into the market. The product that Hailo is developing is expected to be a key component in this revolution in which artificial intelligence is one of the building blocks.”

Hailo’s leadership team includes Orr Danon, CEO, Avi Baum, CTO, and Hadar Zeitlin, Chief Business Development Officer. Danon served in a top Israel Defense Forces technology unit and is a recipient of the Israel Defense Prize. Baum held several senior engineering management positions at Texas Instruments, including serving as CTO for the Wireless Connectivity Group. Zeitlin also served in the same IDF technology unit for nine years and was awarded the Chief of Staff Prize for technological excellence. Hailo’s development team leaders include senior hardware and software engineers, many of whom served in top technology units in the IDF and worked for companies like Intel, Broadcom and Mellanox.

The company is currently collaborating with major players in the industry who are examining the use of its technology. Eli Nir, Senior Investment Partner at OurCrowd, stated: “We are convinced that the extensive need in the market, Hailo’s breakthrough technology and unique team will allow Hailo to bring the deep learning revolution to edge devices.”