After a fun and productive night of dining, networking and World Cup watching, the 2014 Air Transport IT Summit concluded with today's three plenary sessions.
The CEO perspective - more ground to break
Tony Tyler, Director General and CEO of IATA, got the ball rolling by pointing out that technology has driven innovation in every decade of the 100-year history of commercial aviation. Tyler emphasized that to continue innovating and create the seamless passenger journey, global standards are key.
CEO Craig Kreeger told the audience there is one question that drives innovation at Virgin Atlantic: "How does it make things better" Kreeger said the Google Glass use case was a huge success in this regard as it enabled Virgin Atlantic staff to assist passengers in real-time without having to go behind the counter.
Thella Bowens, CEO of San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, stressed passenger enjoyment over speed. She said beacons and the cloud are integral technologies that can ensure the passengers speak about their journey and not just about their destination.
Francesco Violante, CEO of SITA, highlighted SITA Lab as one of our most strategic investments. He cited the Beacon Registry as a solution to avoid duplication and confusion in the industry. Orange Business Services CEO Thierry Bonhomme closed the session by saying every industry in the world will be touched by digital transformation and the air transport industry is no exception.
Tomorrow's travelers -empowered
Today's first afternoon session focused on how technology empowers passengers to master each step of their journey. Shashank Nigam, CEO of SimpliFlying, stressed the role that social media plays in providing customer service, pointing out the pros and cons.
Susanna Brown, Managing Director of Operations Technologies for American Airlines, showed how they empower passengers and build customer relationships. She also gave an important reminder: Don't forget old technologies when introducing new ones.
Eash Sundaram, Executive Vice President and CIO of JetBlue Airways, wrapped up with a discussion of JetBlue's strategy for providing superior customer experience, including free Wi-Fi. He, too, offered a key reminder: While social media is important, customer service remains the priority.
Tomorrow's problems -to be solved
The final session of this year's summit looked at the challenges facing IT in the context of overall growth in the air transport industry. Kerem Kiziltunc, Senior VP of Corporate Development & IT at Turkish Airlines, presented a structured IT strategy to support sustainable growth. Neil Clark, CIO of Heathrow Airport, discussed the opening of Terminal 2, stressing how a takeoff and landing every 45 seconds counts on IT to manage extremely complex operations on the ground and in the air.
Patrick Naef, Divisional Sr. VP of The Emirates Group / dnata, showed the importance of an evolving structure to address the challenges of tomorrow.
Paul Coby, outgoing Chair of the SITA Board, wrapped things up with a reflection on the air transport industry as one that reinvents itself to address rising challenges and opportunities. This era of the connected traveler is no exception. New technologies require new standards and new standards require collaboration.
To see more pictures from this year's summit, visit our Flickr album.
Videos of speakers, demos, and more are available on our YouTube channel.