AIR­LINES ARE IN­VEST­ING HEAV­ILY IN IOT TO REAP THE BEN­E­FITS: MITESH AGAR­WAL, OR­A­CLE IN­DIA

The In­dian avi­a­tion sec­tor has ush­ered in a new wave of ex­pan­sion and rapid growth by bank­ing on cut­ting edge In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy solutions. Dataquest in­ter­acted with Mitesh Agar­wal, Vice Pres­i­dent - Sales Con­sult­ing, Or­a­cle In­dia, and got more in­sight

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What are the ben­e­fits that air­line op­er­a­tion can gain from smart mo­bil­ity?

The ubiq­uity of mo­bile is fun­da­men­tally chang­ing how air­lines op­er­ate and serve their cus­tomers. Its en­abling oper­a­tors pro­vide real time, per­son­al­ized touch point to cus­tomers through ev­ery step of their jour­ney. Nearly ev­ery air­line to­day has a mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion to help cus­tomers book tick­ets, do self-ser­vice check-in, as­sign seats, track bag­gage, give real-time in­for­ma­tion on flight ar­rival and de­par­ture times as well as weather and traf­fic con­di­tions.

Air­lines are also us­ing mo­bile solutions to em­power on­ground and in-flight staff to pro­vide seam­less per­son­al­ized ser­vice to guests. Apps are be­ing used by ground staff to of­fer one-on-one cus­tomer ser­vice, sup­port faster guest recog­ni­tion and is­sue res­o­lu­tion. With In­ter­na­tional Air Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion ap­prov­ing in-flight use of iPads, some air­lines have en­hanced their com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage by en­abling cabin crew rapidly ac­cess and up­date pas­sen­ger in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing in-flight pref­er­ences, such as meal and bev­er­age choices on a mo­bile de­vice. They also com­plete rou­tine re­ports in-flight, such as per­for­mance re­views and safety forms, in­stead of us­ing paper forms. This en­hances data ac­cu­racy and the in­for­ma­tion is trans­ferred to ground staff in­stantly giv­ing them more time to fo­cus on cus­tomer ser­vice and safety.

How is the air­line sec­tor in In­dia lever­ag­ing tech­nol­ogy?

The In­dian avi­a­tion sec­tor has ush­ered in a new wave of ex­pan­sion and rapid growth by bank­ing on cut­ting edge In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy solutions like cloud, mo­bil­ity, big data an­a­lyt­ics, etc. In fact IT is seen as a strate­gic in­vest­ment to ex­pand busi­ness and im­prove op­er­a­tional

ef­fi­ciency rather than as an in­fra­struc­ture cost. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion solutions are be­ing de­ployed to share ac­cu­rate, real‐time data be­tween Air traf­fic, ground staff, ter­mi­nal staff and air­craft to en­sure seam­less op­er­a­tions, re­duce cost, en­sure ad­her­ence to reg­u­la­tions and safety and con­ve­nience of pas­sen­gers.

This is es­pe­cially true of new age pri­vate air­lines who have in the re­cent past au­to­mated and dig­i­tized a num­ber of pro­cesses to en­able Pas­sen­ger self-ser­vice. To­day con­sumers can check-in on­line or us­ing a kiosk. They re­ceive timely in­ti­ma­tion if their flight is de­layed or re-sched­uled. There are apps that help pas­sen­gers nav­i­gate through an air­port. Air­lines are us­ing cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence solutions to track cus­tomer en­gage­ment and iden­tify, man­age and re­ward high value cus­tomers. Even pub­lic air­line with legacy sys­tems are in­vest­ing in IT mod­ern­iza­tion. Last year, Air In­dia an­nounced its de­ci­sion to move its ap­pli­ca­tions to cloud and in­tro­duce the use of ipads at work.

How can IoT ben­e­fit air­lines and avi­a­tion sec­tor?

IoT is a web of sen­sors and de­vices [in­clud­ing a con­sumer’s smart phone] con­nected and com­mu­ni­cat­ing to each other in real time through In­ter­net. While adop­tion of IoT is at a nascent stage in the avi­a­tion space, it of­fers multiple op­por­tu­ni­ties for the in­dus­try to im­prove op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency and en­hance cus­tomer loy­alty by per­son­al­iz­ing and dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence. For ex­am­ple sen­sors em­bed­ded in air­craft en­gines can no­tify main­te­nance and op­er­a­tions cen­ters of per­for­mance is­sues while the plane is still in the air, and re­quest that a re­place­ment part be wait­ing when it lands. Such mea­sures can re­duce down­time and greatly im­prove per­for­mance, bring down costs while also bol­ster­ing pas­sen­ger sat­is­fac­tion through more fre­quent on-time ar­rivals and de­par­tures.

Other use cases in­clude sen­sors on flight that can track tem­per­a­ture, light, air qual­ity, and au­to­mat­i­cally ad­just the same to en­sure pas­sen­ger com­fort. On ground, RFID tags on bag­gage can help pas­sen­gers track lug­gage when they land, us­ing a mo­bile app. Smart­phones can geo-lo­cate pas­sen­gers and guide them to­wards board­ing gates or alert them if they are too far away or late to reach board­ing. The pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less and air­lines are be­gin­ning to in­vest heav­ily in IoT to reap the ben­e­fits.

Please high­light some of the mo­bil­ity trends im­pact­ing pas­sen­ger ex­pe­ri­ence in the avi­a­tion in­dus­try.

To­day, Mo­biles are the first and the clos­est touch­point be­tween a ser­vice provider and the cus­tomer and it’s no dif­fer­ent in the air­line space. As a re­sult the avi­a­tion sec­tor is in­vest­ing heav­ily in mo­bile tech­nolo­gies to pro­vide a seam­less ex­pe­ri­ence to the pas­sen­ger dur­ing pre-travel, in-flight and post-travel. Almost ev­ery air­line has a mo­bile app and pas­sen­gers are in­creas­ingly us­ing them to com­plete pre-flight for­mal­i­ties. Air­lines on the other hand are track­ing cus­tomer lo­ca­tion and trans­ac­tion his­tory to give pas­sen­gers cus­tom­ized of­fers and dis­counts.

Smart phones have almost be­come per­sonal as­sis­tants. In­tel­li­gent apps track emails, lo­ca­tion, and lo­cal traf­fic to give trav­el­ers a heads up on the es­ti­mated time it will take to reach the air­port or the weather at the des­ti­na­tion. Air­lines are also look­ing at an­cil­lary rev­enue gen­er­a­tion by ty­ing up with part­ners to send dis­count of­fers via their apps for eat­ing joints, re­tail out­lets, etc. As the avail­abil­ity of Wi-Fi on flights be­comes a norm, mo­bile will be­come the screen for con­tent con­sump­tion and by ty­ing up with right part­ners air­lines can en­sure they of­fer per­son­al­ized en­ter­tain­ment on mo­biles to each pas­sen­ger on-board af­ter iden­ti­fy­ing their pref­er­ences.

What is Or­a­cle’s role in the mo­bile makeover trend in the air­lines sec­tor and who are your clients?

We help some of the world’s lead­ing Air­lines sim­plify mo­bil­ity with com­pre­hen­sive mo­bile solutions avail­able in the cloud. This in­cludes dozens of pre-built mo­bile apps. In ad­di­tion, we pro­vide se­cure mo­bile ac­cess to Or­a­cle cloud ap­pli­ca­tions in­clud­ing hu­man cap­i­tal man­age­ment, tal­ent man­age­ment, cus­tomer ser­vice & sup­port and oth­ers, to em­power users to con­nect, an­a­lyze, and work when and how they want, on the de­vices of their choos­ing. This port­fo­lio of mo­bile apps con­tin­ues to grow as Or­a­cle and our part­ners con­tinue to de­velop new apps.

Or­a­cle Mo­bile Plat­form also sup­ports a multi-chan­nel, multi-de­vice frame­work that al­low air­lines to build apps once and de­ploy them on iOS, An­droid and other plat­forms—with web, na­tive and hy­brid de­liv­ery. In­te­gra­tion is one of the lead­ing chal­lenges of mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion devel­op­ment. Or­a­cle Fu­sion Mid­dle­ware and ser­vice ori­ented ar­chi­tec­ture (SOA) helps air­lines in­te­grate mo­bile with var­i­ous legacy, back-end sys­tems, in­clud­ing reser­va­tions, de­par­ture con­trol, cus­tomer re­la­tion­ship man­age­ment, and crew sched­ul­ing and op­er­a­tions to en­rich pas­sen­ger man­i­fests with per­sonal de­tails, such as loy­alty in­for­ma­tion and cus­tomer pref­er­ences; im­prove cus­tomer ser­vice; and gain com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage.

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