The pandemic has accelerated digitization and automation, which coupled with technological advancements, is allowing organizations to adopt disruptive technologies and advanced business models at a swifter pace. These technologies will not only transform the way we do business, but they will also change the way the world travels. Here are some of the technologies that will drive business transformation in 2022.
Industry changing technologies:
The demands for contactless travel accentuated by the Covid pandemic have suddenly brought into focus technologies like Facial recognition technology, touchless kiosks, Robots and autonomous vehicles. These technologies are being put together in ways that can allow a traveller to arrive at an airport and go through all the processes from check-in to final boarding and being seated in his seat on the aircraft through a completely contactless process. This in addition to bringing process efficiencies also significantly allays the fear of safety during travel – concerns that have arisen during this pandemic period.
The goal that Sabre has to create a market for personalized travel that is many times larger than what it used to be and the demands of customers for more specificity in options presented during the various types of travel will give a strong fillip to ML/AI adoption and not just the way it was done in the past i.e. analysis done in an offline mode with patterns and insights expressed through rule-based systems linked to possible actions which are then put into action during the travel planning and initiation stage. Now the tech has moved to in-path ML where the incoming data is added to the store of data being analysed and pattern changes detected as they happen in real-time and then applied to actionable which are defined as bounded ranges or inside an action envelope within which the decision making on what action to take can be algorithmically determined. Essentially the shift will be towards self-learning, adaptive algorithms and of course building upon what has come before in terms of self-diagnosing and self-healing applications.
PEC – Privacy Enhancing Computation:
There have been significant advances in the speed and ubiquity of wireless mobile technologies i.e., 5G, IoT and Edge computing. This amplifies the power of applications to deliver up to the minute data, tracking, search and generating options e.g. in travel in terms of hotels, flights, trains etc. However, the increasing power of these applications also results in large amounts of personal data in the areas of expression of one’s interest (through search) and in activities that one does – travel and other related activities being generated online. This brings with it the whole question of data privacy, the use of this data and ownership of data. The requirement that data that has been generated be only used for the purpose for which the data has been generated has resulted in these considerations being built into applications right from the architecture stage and in writing apps in a way and building in data capture, manipulation, storage, archival and subsequent deletion in ways that are in line with the regulatory requirements of different regions. Thus ‘Privacy Enhanced Computation’ will soon become the norm for applications in the immediate future.
The pandemic has brought squarely into focus the urgent requirement of resiliency and adaptability. The travel and hospitality industry has been one of the most impacted industry segments. All the players in the travel industry ecosystem – travel services providers, travel technology providers have had to adapt at a tremendous pace to the changing demands in the travel process as well as in bringing in technologies that allow the industry to meet these rapidly changing requirements. Composable applications – applications with modular functionalities make reconfiguring and adapting functionalities in different ways much easier at the application level. And composable architectures not just for applications but perhaps for organizations themselves amplify the ability to assemble diverse teams composed of individuals with diverse capabilities/skills to meet these challenges post which they are dissolved, and other teams can be constituted to meet new challenges that might emerge.
The benefits of cloud-based solutions are now fairly well known. The pandemic situation has accelerated the push to move to cloud-based architectures because the future looks increasingly volatile. And the move to cloud-based technologies helps change what used to be capex expenditures to opex expenditures from a finance standpoint while providing unlimited ability to scale and the elasticity to increase or decrease capacities with business demands. This also adds to resiliency as cloud adoption allows the technology provider to be much better equipped to face events like the current pandemic. The coming year will see accelerated adoption of cloud technologies among travel companies.
Chatbots and personal assistants:
As we come out of the pandemic, the travel industry will be really working hard to make up for the lost ground in the last two years. That means there will be a plethora of offers and options made available to the traveller to inspire him to do some leisure travel and also to meet the pent up demand from travel that has arisen because of the multiple lockdowns that most countries have been subject to. In order to make sense of the bewildering array of options – personal assistants (mobile-based) will help the traveller figure out available options, help in doing the research and planning travel, especially for leisure travellers. Additionally, the growth in AI-driven chatbots that can be trained and can learn how to carry on conversations will lead to increased efficiencies in traveller support as well as support for users of applications in the travel industry. It is expected that as the recovery in travel begins there will be quite a few hiccups and the technologies that have now become viable will help travel providers in quick and satisfactory resolution of any hiccups.
There has been a significant focus on carbon neutrality and green Initiatives in the recent past. There was also the COP26 conference where countries came together to declare support for environmental initiatives. These will also find focus in travel as travel planning software will propose options to travellers that have the least carbon footprint. For example – the suggestion could be to use rail, road and air in that order and recommend electric-powered travel options to reduce carbon footprint. The hotel options displayed would also show symbols for the hotels that support resource-saving and care for the environment. This in turn would allow travellers to plan their travel in a way that has the least environmental impact.
From the standpoint of the use of technology Cloud Platform providers already have a plan in place to make their data centres run 24/7 on carbon-free energy by 2030. And travel technology providers who plan on adopting cloud technologies will also factor this is among the major considerations for which platform to adopt.
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