Customer to be king; to dictate travel, transportation ( Source: The Hindu )

Hyperpersonalisation will be the order of the day, say panellists at #Future; global digital summit focuses on trends in travel

Customers’ preference for personalised user experience and safety, both physical and data-related, will dictate the design of future technologies in the travel and transportation sector.

The centrality of customer-centric needs in future advancements in digitisation and technology dominated the panel discussion on trends in travel and transport at the two-day global digital summit, #FUTURE, that got under way here on Thursday.

Though the discussion touched upon futuristic driverless cars, personalised electric vehicles, space transport, and automated flights, the panellists reserved their biggest insights on why businesses and governments need to transform in a changing world.

In his keynote address, Christoph Mueller, chief digital and innovation officer, Emirates Group, said that hyper-personalisation would be the new industry requirement.

“Mobile devices will become redundant in around 10 years and will be completely replaced by voice. We will also have a completely new customer segment, with 30% of passengers being active seniors who have retired with good incomes and are travelling the world. Commuter profiles will change, and global migrants and a middle-class with massive purchasing power will drive technology,” he added.

For an easy travel
Roland Schuetz, Group CIO, Lufthansa Group, echoed the sentiments, saying that from the point of view of consumers, travel had to be as easy as possible and seamless, and technology might function behind the scenes.

“As we say in the industry, ease of use is the new loyalty. It has to be such that travellers do not need to do the planning. They must feel that everything has been taken care of,” he said.

Antony Satyadas, CEO and managing partner, Innovation Incubator, said that customers looked for simplicity and immersive experience, and for start-ups, the effort should be to provide a cognitive fabric to their technology, add mobility capability, provide insights on massive amounts of data and create conversation interfaces using Artificial Intelligence.

Natesh Manikoth, chief data officer, US Federal Aviation Administration, said that he foresaw new entrants into the market and substantial investments in products such as drones, vertical take-off and landing systems, unmanned vehicles, and commercial space launches.

But he warned that “while autonomous vehicles are great, we have to make the transformation carefully. Safety and life are paramount. AI, machine learning, and big data all have a role to play in safety analysis in the future. And, there has to be a completely new way of thinking on certification,” he observed.

Member of the State government’s High Power IT Committee (HPIC), V.K. Mathews, also spoke.

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