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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New SA tech startup launches virtual healthcare booking app

Ollie Health, a SA healthtech startup has just launched its virtual healthcare booking app that connects patients with healthcare professionals in an …

Ollie Health, a SA healthtech startup has just launched its virtual healthcare booking app that connects patients with healthcare professionals in an easy-to-use platform.

Ollie Health claims to be SA’s first virtual healthcare booking platform

Ollie Health provides access to several healthcare professionals across the country, including dentists, general practitioners, chiropractors, psychologists, and more via an app.

Users can schedule appointments, receive booking reminders, personalised video links for the virtual consultations, and more.

Founded and registered as an entity in SA in July 2020, Ollie Health is the new-kid-on-the-block in the healthtech sector. The healthtech startup is founded by South African entrepreneurs, Marc Gregory Knowles and Andrei Casim.

In an interview with Ventureburn, Ollie Health explains that the startup is completely bootstrapped.

“‘The startup is completely self-funded. The founders have been approached by a venture firm from China, but have not secured a Seed Round.”

Marc Knowles, founder, and CEO of Ollie Health provides insight into the inspiration behind creating Ollie Health.

“We are currently seeing healthcare professionals jump from using Zoom, Skype, and even WhatsApp video to perform virtual consultations, yet there is an opportunity to create a better experience with Ollie Health. Video sessions should be simple, not stressful.”

Ollie Health claims to provide instant service to its users seeking professional healthcare.

“It’s twice as fast as searching Google, finding a professional nearby and sending an email, or making a phone call. It’s booking on your own terms. You don’t need to wait until the reception of the practice is open, booking is 24/7.”

How does it work

Ollie Health claims to be South Africa’s first virtual healthcare app based on the unique technology employed to connect patients with healthcare practitioners.

“We are the first to have a fully custom video API that creates a better video experience on mobile and desktop. Our peer-to-peer serverless system makes connecting much easier. We are the first native IOS and Andriod App where you can find, instantly book, and have the consultation all in one.”

In addition, users are able to filter through various practitioners available on their medical aid scheme and have the freedom to choose if they wish to employ a cash-direct service.

Andrei Caisim, co-founder and head of development of Ollie Health comments on the plans for the new startup.

“We aspire to be part of the next generation of healthcare platforms, providing a private space for the users to plan and stay in touch with their preferred healthcare professionals, but also explore other options and benefit the advantages of telemedicine.”

Ollie Health is currently available for users in Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg, with plans to launch in Accra Ghana by the end of this year.

Ollie Health App (Supplied)

Healthcare professionals

Ollie Health allows registered healthcare professionals to promote their business and reach more clients, offering a range of services such as:

  • Free signup and listing creation
  • The first five bookings received are free of booking charges
  • The standard booking fee applicable to healthcare professionals is R15 per booking
  • No onboarding or monthly fees apply to healthcare professionals
  • Free video software optimised within the platform
  • Available voice note dictation functionality
  • Reminders about appointments to patients via the platform

Security concerns

With regards to security concerns surrounding consultations held virtually between users and healthcare professionals, the platform uses a secure and custom video platform, ensuring both confidentiality and the protection of their personal information.

“OllieConnect video is HIPAA compliant, with the ability to record appointments to keep as consultation notes,” explains Ollie Health.

Integrating a ‘”TikTok” style vertical within the app, users are able to scroll and explore different doctors, allowing more freedom to access the best professional for them.

Ensuring that it is an easy-to-use app, Ollie Health is available for download on both Android and iOs devices and requires no signup or download to enter consultations via a “one-click link”.

“With one-click-links neither patients nor healthcare professionals need to download video apps or jump between platforms to conduct appointments,”‘ concludes Ollie Health.

Read more: Kenyan health tech startup secures $1.1-million funding

Read more: SA healthtech startup secures seed investment

Featured image: Marc Knowles, CEO, and co-founder of Ollie Health (Supplied)

Securing medical devices: Can a hacker break your heart?

Why are connected medical devices vulnerable to attack and how likely are they to get hacked? Here are five digital chinks in the armor.

Why are connected medical devices vulnerable to attack and how likely are they to get hacked? Here are five digital chinks in the armor.

There’s virtually no realm in healthcare today that isn’t adopting more technology. From real-time wireless access to your own health parameters through smart watches and wearables to implanted devices inside your body, technology is coming. But can we secure it all?

Several years ago at Black Hat, we saw an insulin pump being hacked. And whether the lion’s share of software on that device was off the shelf, regulators say that the integrator is responsible for security up and down the stack, including the underlying operating system (OS), even if it that OS has a good security track record. In other words: Device manufacturers bear the responsibility, no matter what technology they use.

While that casts the burden of security on the manufacturer, it also steeply increases the cost and complexity of bringing a device to market. As a result, while market pressures lean on companies to produce devices quickly, the road ahead looks rocky and expensive. Also, it can unknowingly put patients on the defense.

And what about patches, who’s responsible for those? According to the FDA, the manufacturer does that too. With some medical devices expected to be around for many years, that’s a long time to pay to support gear in the field.

What makes the devices vulnerable and how likely are they to get hacked? As this week’s theme of Cybersecurity Awareness Month focuses on the security of internet-connected devices in healthcare, here are five digital chinks in the armor:

  • Bluetooth

Many medical devices integrate monitoring and interaction via Bluetooth, which has a long history of vulnerabilities. And while there may be patches, it’s hard to determine the real adoption rate and timeline in the field. Meanwhile, if your blood sugar measurement gets spoofed, you could be in real physical danger if you try to adjust blood glucose levels based on false readings.

  • Windows

Many hospitals have management computers for their medical equipment which run on older, unsupported Windows versions due to lagging updates from the manufacturer that did the integration. A manufacturer can’t simply push the latest Windows patch before extensive testing on their units to see integration issues, so patch vetting can be tricky. A would-be attacker has the advantage here, since they can deploy well-known exploits as soon as they come to light, and long before the manufacturer can react.

  • Cloud

Many implanted devices “phone home” to medical clinicians through cloud connectivity to facilitate health status updates and trigger events where patients may need to seek attention. As we saw this year at Black Hat and DEF CON, cloud security can be less than stellar. It’s unlikely the patient would have a way to know about potential vulnerabilities, but attackers are quick to seize on known exploits, pumping them through their attack frameworks quite rapidly. In some cases, patients have opted out of external communications with their pacemakers citing hacking fears, but cloud adoption for implanted devices has strong tailwinds pushing further adoption.

  • Ethernet

Many medical devices plug into medical TCP/IP networks via Ethernet, but it would be very difficult for many clinicians and patients to notice a network tap placed inline with existing connections. By exfiltrating data across wireless links embedded in such a tap, attackers could snoop traffic and craft exploits. This way, attackers only need one-time physical access, and don’t necessarily have to return to retrieve the device if it’s deemed dangerous, due to their low cost.

  • Wireless keyboards

Keyloggers have been standard fare for logging keystrokes from wireless keyboards for some time now, posing as fake USB chargers plugged into outlets, while simultaneously snooping for signals and exfiltrating them across industrial 4G wireless cards. This allows the capture of sensitive data like typed passwords, but can also allow attackers to attempt to download and install remote backdoor exploits by bypassing warning prompts from security products.

In closing

The medical field has been on its heels – security wise – for years. And while it may be making important strides, many medical devices have been performing fine all those years, lessening the perceived need to act. It will be a challenge to “modernize the fleet” for some years to come. Even so, medical folk have started to lean into the process and get the technical chops on staff to start moving the needle. Meanwhile, it might be wise to get to know any vulnerabilities that might affect your medical devices, especially if they are critically involved in your health care, as so many are.




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Medical Device Security Market 2020 Technology Advancement and Global Outlook – Cisco …

Medical Device Security Market 2020 Technology Advancement and Global Outlook – Cisco, Symantec, IBM, GE Healthcare, Koninklijke Philips, …

Medical Device Cyber Security is Essential - IEEE Innovation at Work

This Global Medical Device Security Market Research Report Forecast 2020-2025 is a valuable source of insightful data for business strategists. It provides an in-depth analysis of the COVID-19 impact, industry overview with growth analysis and historical & futuristic cost, revenue, demand and supply data (as applicable). The research analysts provide an elaborate description of the value chain and its distributor analysis. This Market study provides comprehensive data which enhances the understanding, scope and application of this report.

The medical device security market is expected to register a CAGR of approximately 8.3% during the forecast period (2020-2025).

(Avail a Up-to 20% discount on this report)

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Top Key Players in the Medical Device Security Market are: Cisco, Symantec, IBM, GE Healthcare, Koninklijke Philips, Broadcom, Mcafee, Check Point Software, Cloudpassage, Palo Alto Networks, Cleardata, DXC Technology, Sophos, Imperva, Fortinet, Zscaler, Fireeye and Other.

Recent Development:

– February 2020 – GE Healthcare introduced a new cybersecurity service offering that brings together medical device expertise, artificial intelligence (AI), and process management tools to help hospital groups in their fight against cybersecurity threats.

– May 2019 – Medigate, a dedicated medical device security and asset management platform, expanded its services to clinical IoT and general IoT devices. The company enabled accurate and comprehensive device discovery, contextual and behavioural anomaly detection, and clinical policy enforcement for Health Delivery Organizations (HDO) entire clinical networks.

Key Market Trends:

Demand for IoT Security Solutions is Expected to Increase Due to the Increase in Demand for Connected Devices

– The healthcare sector continues to adopt new technologies, such as wearables, home/remote monitoring equipment embedded with IoT, and IoT-enabled hygiene monitoring devices, to offer life-critical services and treatments. Critical healthcare services have evolved to remain online to capture patient data to provide better health services.

– The increasing adoption of wearable medical devices is driven by technological advancements and innovations, along with the improvement in care availability and the lifestyle of patients. Currently, these wearable medical devices are gaining immense popularity due to improved technologies and their compatibility with regularly used devices, such as smartphones.

– Increased usage of medical devices connected to mobile networks or through IoT in the healthcare sector can significantly increase the risk of security issues, which is forcing more and more medical technology companies to implement security solutions for external and wearable medical devices.

– As the healthcare data carry critical records, as well as the financial information, the threats to expose these digitally stored data are on the rise. Hence, the healthcare providers, with the advent of IoT and its increasing adoption, must secure the connected medical devices more than ever before. According to Wipro’s State of Cybersecurity Report 2019, 485 significant data breaches were reported in 2018 in the healthcare industry, making it one of the most popular targets for breach attempts. Therefore, the adoption of IoT security in the industry is expected to grow significantly during the forecast period.

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Highlights of TOC:

Market Overview: It starts with product overview and scope of the global Medical Device Security market and later gives consumption and production growth rate comparisons by application and product respectively. It also includes a glimpse of the regional study and Medical Device Security market size analysis for the review period 2015-2025.

Company Profiles: Each company profiled in the report is assessed for its market growth keeping in view vital factors such as price, Medical Device Security market gross margin, revenue, production, markets served, main business, product specifications, applications, and introduction, areas served, and production sites.

Manufacturing Cost Analysis: It includes industrial chain analysis, manufacturing process analysis, the proportion of manufacturing cost structure, and the analysis of key raw materials.

Market Dynamics: Readers are provided with a comprehensive analysis of Medical Device Security market challenges, influence factors, drivers, opportunities, and trends.

Market Forecast: Here, the Medical Device Security report provides consumption forecast by application, price, revenue, and production forecast by product, consumption forecast by region, production forecast by region, and production and revenue forecast.

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– The market estimate (ME) sheet in Excel format

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