I finished University shortly before the fall of the Berlin wall. Politically and socially it was an incredible end to a tumultuous decade. At that time, however, there was no tech industry per se. Sure, IBM, HP and Intel were large, strong companies while Microsoft and Apple had started to make their mark. But, there was no industry of the size and stature that we now have.
The aviation business was driving a lot of the technology innovation at that point, the first truly global network, first industry messaging service, the ability to communicate with flying tubes, revenue management, seat pricing and management.
Yet for the average consumer the available technology and what you could do with it personally was very limited. Laptops had just started to come out, the world was moving to Lotus 2.3 and WYSIWYG and I certainly didn’t have my own mobile phone at university. The aviation industry was ahead of the curve.
Fast forward to 2019 and now it seems consumer electronics are leading the innovation race. Working concepts shown earlier this year at CES allow you to trace the source of the food you eat using blockchain, you can take your educational learning to new levels with augmented reality and artificial intelligence can check our health, predict what we will buy and where we will go on holiday.
Has the aviation industry kept its momentum with this innovation growth? Sure, we have started talking about blockchain, artificial intelligence and robots but is any of this really impacting the passenger experience yet?
As Jared Diamond stated, “Technology has to be invented or adopted” and we at Elenium are working hard to take the innovation from the consumer sector and apply it to the aviation world, specifically with a view to delivering passenger experience and using technology to improve the flow of passengers as well as their experience.
We do this by employing experts in mechanical engineering, artificial intelligence, data science and merging this with people experienced in the aviation business. Alongside this we partner with exciting companies and clients pushing innovation to the next level while encouraging a community ethos of idea creation and sharing.
Our approach to innovation is to work closely with our customers, to listen and understand their issues, develop ideas, prove the concepts, discard anything that is not working and keep everything that is. Our goal, to find a solution to increase efficiency.
For example, with the Bagdrop, found in some of the most expensive real estate in the airport, our focus is efficiency of use. Our aim is to ensure the passenger spends the least possible amount of time dealing with their baggage drop off so that they can move through the airport and onto relaxing and shopping airside. With Elenium bag tag reading, scale stabilization and injection takes less than 3 seconds. To do this we use high resolution, high speed cameras to read the bag tags. Passenger data is already waiting for the transaction before the passenger arrives and the cameras are placed in such a way that almost 100% first read rates are norm. None of this may be an invention but the passenger experience becomes fast and frictionless.
What’s next? We are working on removing as much paper and friction as possible from the passenger experience and if you want to know where we are going with our concept, visit us at the PTE in London, where you will get more than a good coffee and a smile. You will see the natural evolution of the airport experience.