Posted on 31 January 2012 by Norm Rose
Last year I completed a number of intense research projects on mobile travel trends. This includes two reports for Amadeus -Navigating the Airport of Tomorrow and The Always Connected Traveler: How Mobile will Transform the Future of Air Travel. I also was the lead analyst for the PhoCusWright Special Report Mobile Hits the Mainstream. These projects involved in-depth interviews with technology and travel companies worldwide. One interesting fact I learned from all this research is that our industry is somewhat turning a deaf ear to the next big shift in mobile travel interactions : voice. (pun intended)
Voice response is not a new concept. Consumers interact with voice response on a daily basis often with less than perfect results. Whether it is your car’s GPS or an automated voice at your favorite airline, today voice technology can be a frustrating experience. Why then do I believe that mobile voice interaction is the next major wave in mobile travel interactions? The answer is simple, improving voice technology is emerging that will enable the capture of speech that lacks fluency. Speech integration is often difficult to implement because of the way people actually talk, with conversations filled with pauses,utterances, slang and sometimes vulgarity.
I am fortunate to be working with a new Silicon Valley client, a start-up named Fluential. This company has solved the lack of fluency issue. Their innovative mobile voice response technology was initially funded by DARPA and resulted in a mobile application used by soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan to help with translations. The secret sauce of the application is their inference engine which has the ability to understand the natural lack of fluency that is part of language. Their commercial product is now used in hospitals (Kaiser Permanente in the Bay Area) for language translation for nurses when an interpreter is not available. In addition to the translation capabilities of the software, Fluential can create a frontend to any travel application enabling voice response. Here is the real promise. It is my belief that mobile bookings will not really take off until we have an easy way to interact with our mobile device. Voice interaction is being embraced in the market with the introduction of Apple’s Siri on the iPhone 4GS and Google Voice. As the consumer becomes accustomed to interacting via voice with their mobile device, their expectations of travel apps doing the same will increase, but expecting Apple and Google to solve this issue for travel is unrealistic. Travel has its own language and thus domain specific voice apps are needed for travel. The diagram above provides a glimpse of how voice will change every step of the travel process. Fluential is looking for travel partners, so please contact me if you are interested in learning more.
Posted on 30 March 2011 by Norm Rose
Last week at the Amadeus Airport Showcase in Cannes, France, I presented the results of my whitepaper “Navigating the Airport of Tomorrow” commissioned by Amadeus. The paper used research conducted by JD Power on global consumer attitudes on the airline/ airport experience and perspectives obtained from some research conducted by AT Kearney on airport and airline IT pain points. I combined this with Travel Tech Consulting’s ongoing research on emerging technologies trends to come up with a vision of the Airport of Tomorrow.
The paper outlines the technology pain points from the three perspectives: the customer, the airline and the airport (including the ground handler). Here is a snap shot of some of the resuts:
- A new age of passenger self-service is being driven by the adoption of smartphones and tablets. The always connected traveller will expect to receive information and promotions (on an opt-in basis only) based on their status, location, personal needs and specific situation.
- Airlines will utilise this new self-service age by redeploying airport resources to areas of specific operational challenges.
- Airlines will embrace new interconnected DCS and PSS technology and share critical passenger information with the airport.
- Airports which need to drive greater profitability and enhance the user experience will adopt merchandising strategies promoting airport shops transforming the airport into a modern shopping mall experience.
- Technologies such as Near Field Communication (NFC), RFID tags and the use of tablets to enable roaming agents will have a dramatic impact on airport operations.
- At the heart of this technological revolution is the more informed passenger. The always connected passenger will demand information and services delivered on their preferred personal computing device at all points of their journey.
For a more in-depth review of this whitepaper, please join us at the upcoming Air Transport World Webinar ” Navigating the Airport of Tomorrow” on April 14, 2011 at 11:00AM EDT.
Posted on 24 March 2008 by Norm Rose
WiMax’s first commercial rollout may very well be at U.S. airports. The goal is to provide a faster upload of manifests, flight plans and onboard entertainment for incoming aircraft. For those not familiar with the term, WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) is a wireless industry coalition whose members organized to advance IEEE 802.16 standards for broadband wireless access (BWA) networks. In other words, WiMax is like WiFi on steroids, faster connections covering a wider area. It is interesting to see our industry embrace WiMax as a way to improve productivity. Proximetry, a San Diego based company who provides the software for this initiative hopes to use WiMax to replace the current “sneaker net” process in respect to uploading information on board. It is unclear if the same WiMax technology could be used by consumers.