Vodafone To Test Drone Tracking Technology

(RTTNews.com) – Vodafone (VOD.L, VOD) announced the commencement of trials of the world’s first air traffic control drone

tracking and safety technology which uses 4G Internet of Things (IoT) technology to protect aircraft from catastrophic accidents as well as prevent inadvertent or criminal drone incursions at sensitive locations. The Vodafone IoT drone tracking and safety technology trials support the objectives of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), with whom the company has collaborated.

Vodafone said the company’s Radio Positioning System (RPS) for drones uses a 4G modem and SIM embedded within each drone to enable real-time tracking (with up to 50 metre accuracy) by drone operators and authorised bodies such as air traffic control. The Vodafone RPS is combined with Artificial Intelligence algorithms – also developed by the company – to enable very large numbers of drones to be tracked and controlled remotely.

The company said, further trials, which will be coordinated with the relevant authorities, are now being scheduled in Spain and Germany through 2018 with the intention of making the Vodafone drone tracking and safety technology available for commercial use from 2019.

The company said the technology behind RPS will also be utilised to boost the functionality of other IoT devices in future – from luggage tags to bicycles.

Read the original article on RTTNews (http://www.rttnews.com/2864103/vodafone-to-test-drone-tracking-technology-quick-facts.aspx)

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WeChat Pay available at European airport retailers

WeChat Pay,

a popular mobile payment method among Chinese consumers, will be available in several European airport retail destinations, as part of the travel retail industry’s attempts to appeal to large visitor numbers from China.

Lagardère Travel Retail, which operates retail, foodservice, and duty-free premises at airports around the globe, has first launched the payment service in Terminal 1 of Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris.

Timed to coincide with Chinese New Year, a popular period for travel among Chinese consumers, shops operated by Société de Distribution Aéroportuaire – a joint-venture by Lagardère Travel Retail and French airport operator Groupe ADP – will be the first to accept WeChat Pay. It will be launched in additional airports in due course.

WeChat Pay is a smartphone-based payment service and has around 600 million active users. It is integrated into internet group Tencent’s WeChat app, which is the most popular social network in China with nearly one billion users.

To make a payment users scan QR codes generated within their WeChat mobile wallet stored on their smartphones.

Travel retail is often perceived to be behind the times in terms of digital transformation when compared with the wider retail sector, but there are a number of new services being rolled out. Lagardère Travel Retail is one of several airport shopping companies to launch click & collect, enabling passengers to order products online and pick them up as they travel through the terminal.

And as the travel industry looks to cater for international travellers in ways they are familiar with from their home countries, there is set to be further innovation in the space.

Last week, for example, tax-free shopping company Global Blue announced it has teamed up with Tencent at Madrid Airport to allow WeChat Pay users to receive their tax refund digitally. For the first time, consumers can receive instant tax refunds into their WeChat Pay Wallet, once their tax-free forms have been validated by customs officials.

source : https://tinyurl.com/yade46kk



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Flybe embraces digital transformation to create customer experience

Flybe embraces digital transformation to create customer experience, ancillary revenue and efficiency benefits.

As Flybe continues on its journey towards sustainable profitability – driven partly by a streamlining of its fleet and a reduction in capacity to protect the airline against the financial risks associated with over-expansion – a major digital transformation programme is ongoing. This will help ensure that the regional carrier is able to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by digital advancements.

During FTE’s recent visit to the Flybe HQ in Exeter, the airline’s Chief Information Officer, Peter Hauptvogel, explained that the wide-reaching digital investments will have significant impacts from customer experience, revenue generation and efficiency standpoints.

In late-2017, Flybe announced a partnership with Amadeus as part of its digital strategy, and Hauptvogel explained that this will help the airline create a “seamless customer and digital experience”. “You have to look at the end-to-end journey, wherever you have a contact with the customer,” he said. Regardless of which platform a flight is booked through – directly through the airline’s website, via a global distribution system (GDS), or a third-party website, for instance – Flybe aims to provide a consistent product and experience. “There are lots of opportunities to actually get in touch with an airline and all of those areas are now covered,” he stated.

Ancillary and auxiliary revenues

Plans are afoot to improve the Flybe app, with services such as offering real-time re-accommodation options during times of disruption in the pipeline. Of course, as well as delivering benefits to passengers, the airline itself stands to profit. “It (the digital transformation programme) will bring us benefits in respect of cost-savings, which is also very important, because whenever you do something that’s great for the customers it should also be great for the airline,” Hauptvogel said. “Also, it will give us up-sale opportunities that we do not have at the moment.”

When quizzed by FTE on how exactly the digital transformation will enable Flybe to increase revenues, Hauptvogel explained: “When we talk about ancillary revenues, we must also talk about auxiliaries. Ancillaries is about everything that is related to my own product, my own flight – pay for a seat and other pay-for services such as this. But we will also have the module for merchandising, and the auxiliaries we can offer include several services from partners including car rental, hotel, car parking, all of this other stuff.”

Offering these services will be seamlessly integrated into the customer’s digital journey, he suggested, from the point of booking a flight through to the airport experience.

Flybe’s digital vision

Leading a digital transformation programme is certainly not a straightforward task, but Hauptvogel has the benefit of past experience; he led a similar project at Thomas Cook Group Airlines before joining Flybe in February 2017. So, what’s the secret to bringing such a project to successful fruition? “The most important thing is that you have a vision,” he said. “You have to look where you are today as a snapshot, and you have to look at where you want to be with a realistic approach in three years. Then you have to develop your strategy on how to get there, because not everything that is technically possible will be feasible to implement due to resource or financial limitations.”

He also stressed the importance of making sure that staff members understand why things are changing. “It would be stupid to run too many big programmes at the same time because people can be a little bit reluctant to change,” he said. “If you’ve worked for 15 years in the same pattern and then I come along and tell you that you have to do it completely differently, you would ask for good reason as to why it should change. It means that you have to sell the people the benefits.”

Hauptvogel continued: “The technology part of the digital transformation is actually the easy part. That’s just about proper planning, project management, monitoring cost, efficiency and all that stuff. But you also have to ask yourself what you are doing it for. What is the enhancement for the people? What’s in it for you if I change your way of working with a new technology, what’s in it for the company in respect of efficiency saving, and also does it make my product or my processes better? You have to bring all that together, and then you have to focus on how to implement that while keeping to the key milestones, supported with change management.”

Flybe may be in the relatively early stages of its digital transformation programme but it has a clear vision in place and the man leading it is certainly well-equipped thanks to past experience. In the coming months, each of the benefits – from an improved customer experience to the creation of new revenue generation opportunities – will start to bear fruit and Flybe will be in a strong position to reap the rewards presented by the latest digital developments.

source : https://tinyurl.com/y79mqxrs




Humanoid ‘Josie Pepper’ starts work at Munich Airport

Humanoid ‘Josie Pepper’ starts work at Munich Airport

Meet ‘Josie Pepper’, the new humanoid member of staff at Munich Airport’s Terminal 2.

She is 120 centimeters tall, acccording to her creators has “sparkling, round eyes and a pleasant voice”, and from today she will be on duty in T2 to help passengers on their journeys.

Whether it is directions to a gate or the location of a certain restaurant or shop, Josie Pepper is on hand to “promptly” answer your questions.

Munich Airport and German national flag carrier, Lufthansa, claim to be breaking new ground as it is the first-ever test of a humanoid robot equipped with artificial intelligence at a German airport.

They say: “For the next few weeks, Josie Pepper will welcome travellers to the non-public area of Terminal 2, which is jointly operated by Munich Airport and Lufthansa.

“In her initial deployment, Josie, who speaks English, will await passengers at the top of the ramp leading to the shuttle connecting the main terminal to the satellite building.

“This test phase will be used to show whether Josie Pepper is accepted by passengers.”
Josie Pepper’s ‘brain’ contains a high-performance processor with a WLAN internet access, explains Munich Airport.

“This creates a connection to a cloud service where speech is processed, interpreted and linked to the airport data,” says Munich Airport.

“What sets the system apart? When this robot type speaks, it does not just deliver pre-defined texts. With its ability to learn, it answers each question individually.

“Just like a ‘real’ brain, the system gets steadily better at combining questions with the relevant information to provide more precise replies.”

IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) cloud-based, artificial intelligence technologies are behind Josie Pepper’s capabilities.

Pepper was developed by the French company SoftBank Robotics.

She was apparently given the name of Josie by airport and airline staff when she arrived at the airport.

source : https://tinyurl.com/y78l2pqu



Icelandic airports join forces with BizTweet

Icelandic airports join forces with BizTweet to launch flight update service via social media.

Isavia, the national airport and air navigation service provider in Iceland, had teamed up with Cork based technology company, TIC, to use the new information service known as BizTweet, to allow passengers going through airports in Iceland to receive real-time updates via Facebook and Twitter at each step of their journey – from check-in to departure. “We want to give passengers the information they need instantly and through innovative means. BizTweet allows us to do so,” says Gudjon Helgason, communications officer at Isavia.

Travellers can sign up to the service through the Keflavik airport webpage, www.kefairport.is , or via their personal Facebook and Twitter accounts.

CEO Paul Brugger says “BizTweet´s proven airport technology is trusted by 60 airports across 4 continents to communicate directly with their passengers, enhancing the passenger experience by providing real-time information directly to their Wi-Fi/mobile device by the passengers social platform of choice. We are delighted to be helping arriving and departing passengers at Icelandic airports with automated real-time flight information and customer services at a simple press of a button.”

Isavia plans to launch this new service on March 22nd in conjunction with the launch of a new Isavia and Keflavik airport webpage.

source: Paul Brugger http://www.BizTweet.aero




Predictive Collaboration Platform for brilliant airport operations

Introducing Veovo, the Predictive Collaboration Platform for brilliant airport operations

Veovo combines BlipTrack, CA+ and Airport 20/20 solutions for guest predictability, outstanding operations, and revenue maximisation to transform airport ecosystems

(Auckland, New Zealand, February 14, 2018) – Gentrack Group (NZX/ASX: GTK), a leader in essential software for airports and utilities, today launched Veovo – a new brand for its airport group. Veovo combines the Airport 20/20 operations solution with the recently acquired BlipTrack guest predictability and Concessionaire Analyzer+ revenue maximisation solutions. This powerful fusion underpins Veovo’s Predictive Collaboration Platform, delivering data-driven certainty to transform the airport ecosystem.

Airports are under pressure to deliver memorable and repeatable experiences for increasing guest numbers while navigating highly variable daily operations. The rise of connected automation presents new opportunities, but many of these innovations operate in silos and do not work alongside existing technologies. The result: airport operators need a new paradigm to proactively manage their operations, resources, systems, service providers and guests. Veovo is at the heart of that transformation.

“Airports need to innovate aggressively to cope with increased passenger numbers and dynamically adjust for the matrix of daily variables. At the same time, to engage passengers, many airports are looking to transform their role from transit terminus to guest destination. Like many other value chains, Airports are now able to access big data innovations which can help them optimise their entire operation,” said Chris Warrington, General Manager of Veovo. “Veovo unlocks insights across the airport ecosystem – predicting the best path forward and quickly connecting all stakeholders and resources to respond brilliantly – no matter the situation.”

Today, the Veovo platform is used by more than 110 airports and their stakeholders to plan, predict and perfect every interaction. As well as delivering value to other transport hubs, Veovo software is also proven to deliver brilliant theme park, resort, and retail guest experiences.

To find out more visit the Veovo website, which launched today.

Veovo is a predictive collaboration platform that enables over 110 airports to plan, predict, and perfect the airport ecosystem. The result: brilliant guest, operational, and commercial decisions. The Gentrack airport group, Veovo is headquartered in New Zealand with offices in the UK, USA, Denmark and Malta. Take off at www.veovo.com


Beyond airline loyalty programs to modern targeting techniques

Personalization has been used with great success at companies such as Amazon, Netflix and Pandora. According to eMarketer, almost half of online retailers found that personalization increased revenue in excess of 10%. Unfortunately, customization is also an area where the airline industry has been both leading and lagging behind. A leader with the launch of innovative loyalty programs in the 1980s, but behind in the effective use of it beyond that.

So, how can modern targeting techniques help in the airline industry, beyond what loyalty and profiles have already delivered? Targeting can be used to capture what customers really want and tailor the offer based on their needs. The offer can be generated and optimized using revenue management techniques coupled with data from the different traveler groups or clusters.

The modern airline industry has been undergoing a fundamental shift in how it views its own product and how best to interact with its customers. Is the air travel product being sold to the customer as a single unified offering, or is it a catalog of pieces that the customer can pick from?

Carriers such as EasyJet, Ryanair, Frontier and AirAsia have perfected a model where the air travel experience is broken down into multiple products that are purchased separately. The success of this model has caused larger carriers to adopt this concept to their own air travel product in the form of separate purchases for on-board meals, baggage, priority boarding and many other services. However, breaking the air travel product into multiple pieces is a challenge to many existing airline systems, and has required the addition of new systems and processes.

Most airlines have approached the sale of these “ancillary” products through the deployment of merchandizing catalog systems, which sit apart from the traditional airline pricing and revenue management systems. Sales of ancillaries traditionally take place after the customer has selected a fare, with little coordination between the two.

With ancillary sales becoming a major part of airline revenue (and profitability) is this really the right approach? Revenue management systems should seek to integrate both bundled and forecasted future ancillary sales, with the base fare. Taking the complete customer purchase into consideration will optimize its full value.

Download a copy of our latest report, A spotlight on Total Offer Optimization: Fast forward to customer centric revenue management, for more.

source : https://tinyurl.com/yae7o3dg



Drone utilisation trials at Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport

Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV)

is partnering with Woolpert to integrate unmanned aircraft system (UAS) technologies into airport and airfield operations.

SAV is the first commercial service airport in the US to formally integrate drone technologies into its regular operational programs for inspection, maintenance, monitoring and facility management, including supporting its Part 139 inspection protocols.

It is integrating UAS, which it claims will be a force multiplier for their wildlife and security operations.

Woolpert vice president and Geospatial Aviation Practice leader, Thomas Mackie, said the adoption of UAS to address wildlife management/hazard mitigation and daytime perimeter surveillance, which was Phase I of the project, was completed in January.

Mackie said these areas of operation support SAV’s deep commitment to safety management and were of the highest priority on a list of applications developed to test the integration of this technology at an airport.

“We took the crawl, walk, run approach to this project,” Mackie said. “We started by co-ordinating with the airport leadership and operations team (Engineering, Security and Crash, Fire, Rescue) and the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to ensure there was regional and national collaboration and buy-in, followed by a lot of research into SAV’s existing policies and technology, learning and understanding their operational routines.”

The first phase demonstrated that drones could be used safely and efficiently for routine airport operational needs.

The next phase involves close collaboration with key stakeholders and FAA approval, with a goal to expand UAS flight operations into the airport operating area (AOA), which was restricted in Phase I, with local air traffic control (ATC).

The purpose of the second phase is to validate the benefits of drone use to safely support additional airport missions that enhance the productivity and safety of SAV staff and operators.

That phase also involves the airport acquiring a drone, assisting staff to become licensed Part 107 pilots, and refining the systems, sensors, processes and data management techniques most appropriate to the airport needs.

“The end game is for SAV to have this safe, efficient tool – with well-scripted processes – in its toolbox for use as needed,” stressed Mackie.

“We drafted a Concept of UAS Operations (CONOPS) for the airport, putting everything on the table – flight schedules, safety areas, risk management considerations, communication protocols.

“From there we built internal procedures and procedures with ATC, completed a Safety Risk Management Matrix for planned missions, and developed checklists, controls and responses to irregular operations.

“While all airports have distinct needs and directives, this guide book illustrates how commercial airports can conceptually go about flying a drone in support of operational needs.”

Woolpert previously performed aeronautical surveys and base mapping for SAV and is in the process of implementing a Cityworks Asset Management System (AMS) for airfield maintenance and management.

That implementation went live in December and is in full operational use by SAV Operations and Maintenance. The next phase of work will integrate the management of SAV UAS flight operations and associated data and imagery into its capabilities.

“Instead of driving up and down a runway to identify pavement or marking issues, the airport will be able to use UAS to remotely collect data and create work orders with accurate coordinates and valuable imagery into Cityworks,” noted Mackie.

“The additional capability with UAS will not eliminate the human-in-the-loop for airfield operations, but will certainly provide an opportunity to minimise frequency and duration of time spent in safety critical areas and create valuable geodata as part of the airport’s system of records.”

source : https://tinyurl.com/ybjlnwnm



Intelligent trolleys could improve the passenger experience

Intelligent trolleys could improve the passenger experience from security check to gate.

Many things are ‘smart’ these days, so why not airport trolleys? Danish company Exruptive will present an ‘intelligent’ trolley and an innovative security check system.

Queues at security check points are stressful for passengers, and consume time they could be spending in the duty-free area or eating and drinking. Exruptive has therefore developed a scanner and trolley combination that allows passengers to place their hand luggage in the trolley before they join the security line, and then feed the whole trolley into the scanner without having to take out electronic devices.

The trolley is then conveyed through a multi-energy x-ray scanner, for which proof of concept will be obtained early this year, prior to ECAC C3 certification.

After security, the trolley becomes the traveller’s personal guide through duty free and to the boarding gate. A touchscreen tablet integrated into the trolley provides the passenger with real-time wayfinding, updated boarding information, personalised promotions and a recharge point for their phone. Meanwhile, it feeds back data intelligence and a unique marketing opportunity for airport operators and shops.

The smart trolley offers an alternative to airport-centric apps, which remain unpopular with many passengers. Exruptive believes providing the device and the software makes passengers more likely to engage with the technology, resulting in more opportunity for targeted marketing and more source data about passenger flow and behaviour.

Field tests in airports are planned for later this year, with the system ready for market in early 2019.

Passenger Terminal EXPO Stand 1635

source : https://tinyurl.com/ybeaz7ut