AI-induced Resurgence for the Travel Industry Amidst COVID-19

Presently, travelers have to toggle between multiple apps to gather each set of information. Leading travel app development companies in the industry …

The airline industry is probably the worst hit of all sectors due to COVID-19. As per figures released by the International Air Transport Association, a collective loss of US $84 billion will be inflicted on the industry in 2020. This is more than double the extent of loss (US$30 billion) that it suffered due to the global financial crisis in 2008.

Amidst an uncertain future, massive lay-offs, and carrier bankruptcies, experts place the turn-around time for recovery at 4-6 years, while some put it even further. In such an unpredictable air of gloom one thing is certain, the status quo has changed forever. The industry as a unit needs serious introspection combined with the power of technology to make travel contactless and safer than ever.

AI in the Aviation Industry – A Dire Need

Artificial Intelligence technology could be pivotal in transforming the face of travel. From the outset, AI rests on a solid footing of 4 key pillars namely:

  • Machine Learning
  • Deep Learning
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Computer Vision

In the pre-covid era, there were numerous use cases of airlines using Artificial Intelligence. While it was predominantly used to optimize digital operations, the technology has to step out of its mold and offer a scope of work for AI in airport operations to become a reality. If initial signages are to be believed, the role of AI in the travel industry will be broadened to acquiesce travelers to new standards of safety.

percentage airlines with AI

There is no plan B. Over 100 million jobs have succumbed to covid-induced lay-offs, and the travel industry is likely to bear losses worth $1 trillion. It’s time to explore the applications of AI in the aviation industry.

AI in Aviation to Quell Future-Shock

The need for AI-driven customer experience in the travel industry in the post COVID world is huge. At the same time, it should not be looked upon as the panacea, but rather a pain-killer, to mitigate losses and welcome passengers back. The following are some of the realistic scenarios that are just as conceivable, as they are implementable when it comes to the future of AI in the aviation industry.

A point to note is that irrespective of the use case or the state of COVID19 driven economic condition, AI has found a permanent place in the aviation industry.

global AI in aviation market

Flying Optimized Routes

A lot of long-duration flights tend to have a mid-range landing spot, where often the passengers are required to undergo formal security procedures to check-in to a new flight. In formal terms, this is called a layover. The process is too discomforting from a traveler experience standpoint, forces human-human contact, and invariably increases the risk of community transmission.

Not to mention the fuel-refilling and the per capita resource consumption by passengers at the layover spot. One of the benefits of AI in the aviation industry in the post COVID world is that it can re-route and optimize long-duration flights. Till such time when the carriers reach full-capacity the shortest transit routes can be recommended by AI saving fuel and other capital-intensive resources.

Digitalized Check-ins

People are downright scared to get out of their homes let alone travel. For those mustering the fortitude to step foot on a plane, do so after ensuring the details about their boarding pass, baggage submission, weather updates, and flight status among other things. Presently, travelers have to toggle between multiple apps to gather each set of information. Leading travel app development companies in the industry are foraging ways through which AI helps in revamping the aviation industry.

Lufthansa, for instance, has provisioned for iterations to its mobile app so boarding passes could be stored digitally. An increasing number of pre-market trials suggest that smartphones could act as a one-stop-shop wallet storing necessary travel documentation. There could even be facial recognition to safeguard the app and ensure the best in class privacy. To roll the red carpet for an all-encompassing paperless travel experience, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has initiated OneID, an identity management solution that will possibly incorporate AI-powered biometrics.

Baggage Assistance

Breakdown of customer complaint stats

** Other data includes complaints related to frequent flyers, smoking, tours credit, cargo problems, security, airport facilities, claims for bodily injury.

Baggage has always been a challenging area for the aviation sector. A challenge that is going to worsen in the COVID19 era. There is the consideration to be made for baggage deposits, wherein the luggage changes hands and multiplies possibilities of community transmission.

To tackle this, the airport concierge could innovate e-commerce apps operating to and fro between customer abodes and the airport. Empowering their architecture with RFID tags, and AI-enabled tracking systems, chances of not just baggage mishandling but also contact tracing can be mitigated in instances of virus transfer.

Not all of us would feel the safety net in trusting an unknown driver to take cost expensive items and dutifully deposit the same at airports. Therefore, for people hell-bent on doing things on their own, self-drop baggage lanes could save the day. In addition to reducing human dependency, they also cut short baggage processing times. Robots could be deployed in such lanes with AI-powered facial recognition software that would recognize the rightful owner of the items.

The airport operations staff must resolutely work towards increasing social distancing. One alternative for this emerged in the pre-pandemic era when JFK airport introduced Google Assistant’s interpreter mode. It supports 29 languages and will help international passengers with typical queries including airport navigation, luggage location, etc.

No doubt, AI is transforming the aviation industry in the post-COVID era. Another example of this would be in thermal imaging cameras. Made super efficient with passenger flow analytics and social distancing software, the cameras would scan body temperatures in real-time informing officials of doubtful cases that can be managed as per protocol.

AI-Fastened Security

One of the most cumbersome and inconvenient instances in the course to board a flight is security checks. All major airports mandate passengers to take off wearables and empty hand-bags so they can be thoroughly checked. Think we all can agree, the process is profoundly annoying. Not to mention the strict levels of distancing required to be maintained are not sustained when officials inspect travelers closely.

All this will be a thing of the past as Artificial Intelligence in aviation safety sees light at the end of the tunnel. State-of-the-art scanners would debut at the airports, infused with capabilities like X-Ray mapping, 3D image processing, and/or anomaly protection algorithms. Body scanners will be remodeled to incorporate AI technology.

AI-enabled automated target recognition algorithms synced into millimeter-wave scanners will make identifying rogue actors a click of the finger.

Digital Entertainment

Airport lounges see a significant number of people walk-in for entertainment/relaxation while waiting for the onboarding to commence. They are often empaneled with public computers and accessory booths used (and touched) by many. This needs to change. Carriers such as Delta Airlines are experimenting with a Parallel Reality experience that would facilitate multiple passengers, all simultaneously looking at the same screen, to view their respective flight information.

We have reason to believe that AI chatbot development is in full swing to complement the mass deployment of robots at airports. Chatbots in the airline industry will be fitted with facial recognition algorithms that would bring a wee bit of personal touch to machine-to-human interaction. Machines will be programmed to sing aloud the advantages of personal hygiene and sanitization. Lately, some of our partners have expressed interest in airline chatbot development. Such conversations are more than food for thought and if pursued with real purpose and a judicious budget, profitable advances can be made in a short period.

Robots for Product Delivery

Duty-free stores attract a lot of travelers thanks to unparalleled prices. But who said we need to risk public safety at such times for purposes of shopping. Store owners are realizing the significance of standardizing new norms to practice social distancing. For instance, Dubai Duty-Free while resuming operations posts the lockdown made customers use their concierge service to fill the cart.

Just so we leave nothing to the imagination, the carts were delivered to the customers by robots. The advantages of AI in the travel industry post Coronavirus are evident from such use cases.

In other locations, click-and-collect app models are establishing relatable grounds for business. Even before arriving at the airport, customers can order items waiting for them when they board-off the plane.

Final Thoughts

The inclusion of AI in the travel industry in the post COVID world is imminent. Agreeably, it will be a couple of years before the airports start bustling with the rush of people packed closed to each other and waiting for departures. A significant level of quid pro quo needs to be enacted for this distant, pun intended, reality to take a rebirth. Artificial Intelligence will take the mainstage in being the underpinning technology for all things automation.

Inclusion of AI in the travel industry will attract business-interest not limited to the airports, but branching well into the hospitality sector be it hotels, restaurants, or mobile food vans. With arguably the most talented technocrats under one roof, Appinventiv can be your technological partner.

Prateek Saxena
Prateek Saxena
Co-founder of Appinventiv
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Act-On Integrates With Zoom, Amperity Partners With Zendesk and More DX News

In other customer experience and digital marketing software news … Amperity and Zendesk Partner for Customer Personalization. Amperity, a Customer …
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Act-On Software, which provides marketing automation software, has announced an integration with Zoom. The integration follows Act-On’s roll-out of the Automated Journey Builder earlier this month and is designed to allow marketers to promote and manage Zoom webinars from within the Act-On platform.

The capabilities include:

  • Automated workflows: Marketers can automatically pull contact lists and send invites, as well as track invite opens, click-through rates, registrations and attendance.
  • Integrated marketing campaigns: Marketers will be able to create, execute and measure complete marketing campaigns.
  • Predesigned, customizable content: Marketers can manage campaign communications with predesigned or custom webinar messaging.

In other customer experience and digital marketing software news …

Amperity and Zendesk Partner for Customer Personalization

Amperity, a Customer Data Platform (CDP), has announced a partnership with Zendesk. Amperity will integrate natively with Zendesk‘s customer relationship management (CRM) platform.

Amperity applies cloud-scale computing to aid users with resolving identity across systems without a common unique identifier, according to company officials. Amperity’s systems can take raw data into individual profiles that can plug directly into the Zendesk open CRM software.

Customer service agents will have visibility into a condensed view of all the information the brand has collected about the customer through multiple systems, such as their last order, shipping and tracking details, loyalty status, satisfaction survey results, shopping preferences and more. Zendesk users can also use built-in insights like product recommendations, next best action and churn likelihood.

HCL Software Announces Volt MX

HCL Software, a digital experience software provider, has launched of HCL Volt MX, a low-code application development platform for delivering apps across multiple digital touch points with one platform.

Capabilities of HCL Volt MX include:

  • From native mobile to Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) to wearables, developers can build once and deploy apps on one cloud-native platform.
  • Removing backend complexity and unlocking existing data and business processes.
  • Engage users with virtual reality, augmented reality and voice chat.

HubSpot Introduces Marketing Contacts Pricing Model

HubSpot, which provides marketing and customer experience software, announced today the launch of marketing contacts, a new pricing model that allows customers to only pay for the contacts they want to market to via email or ads. Customers can also store up to one million contacts they don’t actively market to, such as unsubscribed and bounced contacts, for free.

Customers will be able to identify marketing contacts with an eligibility flow that surfaces all bounced and unsubscribed contacts, according to company officials. Customers also have the option to add custom filters and lists as needed. Customers can also set automatic categorization of marketing and non-marketing contacts.

Conversica Announces Virtual Assistant-Powered Website Chat

Conversica, which provides Intelligent Virtual Assistants software, has announced AI-powered, two-way conversations over chat for free via its Intelligent Virtual Assistants (IVAs). Conversica IVAs can engage with website visitors and connect them to the information they seek via chat and use email and SMS to nurture them through a qualification process and qualified opportunities to customer-facing teams.

New customers purchasing a Conversica Intelligent Virtual Assistant will get website chat as a supported channel included. Conversica IVAs are built upon the Intelligent Automation platform, a combination of conversational AI, deep learning and process automation and support multi-channel conversations.

LinkedIn New Features Target Events

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions has rolled out updates to its events capabilities to help organizations grow attendees and collect leads, and boost reach with ads and retargeting capabilities.

LinkedIn rolled out new organic discovery features like personalized event recommendations in users’ “My Network” tab and a new weekly events digest email. When companies post an event from their LinkedIn Page, LinkedIn will automatically notify followers who are most likely to attend based on various criteria, including their interests. This will be rolling out in the next few weeks.

Treasure Data Releases Treasure Insights

Treasure Data, a CDP provider, has introduced new product capabilities in analytics. Treasure Data also announced 15 new integrations for a total of 170 connectors. Treasure Data also launched an in-store SDK (software development kit) that provides retailers a unified view of the shoppers’ journey.

Treasure Insights is a customizable and out-of-the-box dashboard accelerators for customer analytics. It gives brands a new suite of customer analytics that provide marketers with full visibility into customer behaviors and the effectiveness of marketing activities, according to company officials. The analytics updates include:

  • Enhancements to unified customer views with added visibility into behavioral attributes, content affinity, campaign engagements, purchase behaviors and more.
  • Audience segment demographics and behavioral attributes.
  • ML-driven insights on lifetime value, next best actions and churn probability.
  • Attribution dashboards leveraging the most commonly used models.

Alida Releases CXM Software

Alida (formerly Vision Critical) has delivered its Fall 2020 product release, launching two new Alida products. New products in the Fall ‘20 launch include the release of Alida CXM (Customer Experience Management) and Alida Analytics, both previously announced on Oct. 6.

Alida Sparq Fall 2020 enhancements include:

  • Calendar integration through Calendy that allows advocates to book interviews, product and concept walk-throughs, digital customer advisory board meetings and more.
  • Sample management to help administrators select the right members.
  • Mobile push notifications to create rules and set real-time alerts.
  • Text analytics improvements to allow multiple responses to the same individual activity.
  • Sensitive data redaction for users without sensitive data permissions, and more.

Ethics vs. compliance in AI

… to health-related data. But tech experts warn against conflating ethics as just another compliance checklist. Jane Pinelis, who leads test, evaluation, …

Defense

Ethics vs. compliance in AI

  • By Lauren C. Williams
  • Oct 22, 2020
IoT (a-image/Shutterstock.com)

The Defense Department is focused on implementing its ethics principles for artificial intelligence, especially when it comes to health-related data. But tech experts warn against conflating ethics as just another compliance checklist.

Jane Pinelis, who leads test, evaluation, and assessment for the DOD’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, said preserving personal health information is one of the JAIC’s biggest priorities.

“On the health side, one of the biggest things that we’re concerned about is the preservation of personal health information,” Pinelis said during an Oct. 22 Defense One NextGov event on AI. “On something else, we might be worried about equitability and bias, how do we train these models, what kind of data do we use in training them, and what does that mean about future applications.”

The JAIC announced progress with its Predictive Health effort on Oct. 21, which aims to reduce the time it takes to diagnose cancer. The project produced an augmented reality microscope supported by AI algorithms to help detect metastatic breast cancer cells on digital images. The device is slated for use at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas and other military treatment facilities.

DOD adopted AI principles in February and has been working on a plan to implement them, an effort by their head of ethics policy Alka Patel. The JAIC’s ethics team has been looking to expand its role as it evaluates existing policy, and launched a Responsible AI Champions pilot, six-week intensive study course for personnel that could be expanded across the department.

Pinelis said that’s especially the case regarding personally identifiable information and what’s required: “The question is how can we tie it to some of the work that we’re doing and can we automate a lot of it so that it’s easier.”

The JAIC’s response to COVID, Project Salus, which used predictive modeling to anticipate first responders equipment needs, helped establish the ethics and testing at the start mindset, especially as privacy became more important as they got to “zip code level” data, Pinelis said.

But when it comes to responsible technology use, Heather Roff, senior research analyst, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, warned that viewing it as compliance could be detrimental.

“Ethics is not compliance and if we think about ethics as compliance then we are failing as moral agents,” Roff said during the panel.

“If you think about ethics as compliance or compliance officers or inspectors general then you are actually getting the bare minimum of what ethics is. Ethics is about…how to think about doing things responsibility. What am I thinking about when I build it” and not “is the compliance officer watching.”

Roff also said basic research and testing were integral to the ethics conversation.

“Basic research is just not funded to the levels it needs to be funded,” Roff said. “We need more basic research and funding for things like testing and evaluation…because testing supports the principles.”

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is senior editor for FCW and Defense Systems, covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master’s in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor’s in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.

The US Department of Justice Just Took Official Legal Action Against Google’s Monopoly

Google has been growing at such a rate that its monopoly has ended up becoming quite apparent to a lot of people that are out there. The US …
Google has been growing at such a rate that its monopoly has ended up becoming quite apparent to a lot of people that are out there. The US department of justice is now part of a long list of various government entities and authorities that are taking notice of Google’s supremacy and dominance and has now filed an official complaint that would result in legal action being taken against the company once all has been said and is now out of the way.

Google processes 90% of all searches made on the internet and has taken steps to stifle competition in the market according to this complaint. The complaint also alleges that Google has used its vast resources to pay companies to prefer Google as their main search engine, with Apple’s Safari browser among others being used as some kind of an example of this sort of thing.

With all of that having been said and out of the way, it is important to note that a lot of people, including the folks over at Google, are criticizing this decision. While there are certain parallels such as the accusations levied against Microsoft in the 90s for pushing Internet Explorer as the default option, at the same time many are noting that innovation made it so that the default option ceased to be relevant since people started preferring more advanced browsers anyway.

Some are also saying that this is a hypocritical move since the US has always been the land of monopolies with companies like Disney and AT&T creating monopolies that are far more widespread and have resulted in stifled innovation yet the department of justice has failed to take action against them.

It remains to be seen what will come of this sort of thing, and chances are that the case will drag on for years, but how it turns out might have a huge impact on the world of tech.

Social networks serve as amplifiers for idiots and crazy people: Former Google CEO

“It has maintained its monopoly power through exclusionary practices that are harmful to competition.” Lawmakers and consumer advocates have long …

Amid the hullabaloo over the anti-trust suit filed against tech giant Google, the company’s former CEO Eric Schmidt said that social networks serve as amplifiers for idiots and crazy people. According to a report in Bloomberg, Schmidt, who is still a majority shareholder of Alphabet Inc, said: “The context of social networks serving as amplifiers for idiots and crazy people is not what we intended. Unless the industry gets its act together in a really clever way, there will be regulation.” He added that the anti-trust suit filed by the US government may be misplaced, but regulations could be in order.

Earlier, the US Justice Department had sued Google for abusing its dominance in online search and advertising—the government’s most significant attempt to protect competition since its groundbreaking case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago. And it could just be an opening salvo. Other major tech companies including Apple, Amazon and Facebook are under investigation at both the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.

“Google is the gateway to the internet and a search advertising behemoth,” US Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen told reporters. “It has maintained its monopoly power through exclusionary practices that are harmful to competition.” Lawmakers and consumer advocates have long accused Google of abusing its dominance in online search and advertising. The case filed in federal court in Washington, DC, alleges that Google uses billions of dollars collected from advertisers to pay phone manufacturers to ensure Google is the default search engine on browsers.

That stifles competition and innovation from smaller upstart rivals to Google and harms consumers by reducing the quality of search and limiting privacy protections and alternative search options, the government alleges. Critics contend that multibillion-dollar fines and mandated changes in Google’s practices imposed by European regulators in recent years weren’t severe enough and that structural changes are needed for Google to change its conduct.

The lawsuit didn’t lay out specific remedies, although it asked the court to order structural relief “as needed to remedy any anti-competitive harm.” That opens the door to possible fundamental changes such as a spinoff of the company’s Chrome browser.

-Inputs from agencies