Digitisation, Data & AI – A Powerful Combination for Recovery.


Digitisation, Data & AI – A Powerful Combination for Recovery.

Okay, so this has been one helluva year and having worked in one of the sectors hardest hit by this pandemic, I understand only too well the challenges businesses have faced. There has been so much to learn from the fallout of this pandemic and as the focus shifts to recovery, many experts are pushing digitisation as one of the routes out of the mess that this virus has caused.

Data, Digitisation and AI

At the April FlightPlan broadcast event, for instance, many of the opportunities discussed for the future, included digitisation and how it can support the recovery of the aviation industry and its vast ecosystem of suppliers.

Those who know me, know that I have been banging the drum for digitisation for some time, as I was a fierce champion of inflight connectivity in my last role for Inmarsat Aviation. I believe that for airlines to truly leverage efficiencies and monetise the world of connectivity at 30,000 ft, digitisation and its broad ecosystem are key.

I admit that I use the term digitisation rather broadly here but the point I’m making is that I believe digital evolution is a vital pillar for the future and will speed up recovery.  I see it as a window to so many opportunities for airlines.

Not only will it help unlock new ancillary revenues but it will also enhance the complete passenger experience from beginning to end – booking, planning, time at the airport, onboard the plane, and a plethora of options for destinations and activities once passengers arrive. It will take passenger care to new levels, including ground-breaking telemedicine and new entertainment services but there’ll also be possibilities that we cannot comprehend just yet.

I liken digitisation at 30,000ft to the first dot com boom. Remember what happened when we opened that Pandora’s box? We saw innovators and entrepreneurs come to the fore, and quickly develop revenue opportunities we’d never even considered before. And I think we’ll see that happen again with digitisation, in aviation and beyond. It will bring new opportunities for growth.

Unlocking the potential 

Digitisation of course, helps enable us to capture data but it’s not just about having the data, it’s about knowing how to use it and that’s where AI comes in. We know that collecting data is not necessarily the challenge, the problem has always been around the quantity of data we collect and how we analyse that data effectively. We can only realise the true value of our data, when we understand what it’s telling us.

AI is central to being able to quickly sort, assess and even distribute data to experts who can make that data mean something to a business. It’s only when we open up and share our data with specialists, who know what they are looking for, that we will be able distil the valuable information that we can act upon.

And let me be clear, I’m not for one second suggesting we don’t protect our data. What I’m suggesting is that if we carefully choose the right experts to analyse our data, they will be able to decipher the solutions we need to provide for our customers. They might even invent those solutions themselves.

So, as we reach the point of looking back on one of the toughest years we’ve ever faced, I say it’s time to nurture this relationship between digitisation, data and AI, so that we can emerge from this COVID mess and shake up the way we all do business.