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From collaboration to shape-shifting – What is our future?

Published on  29 March by Nigel Pickford , Director of Market Insight
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As I am based in Europe I’m lucky enough to get a little break from work over the Easter weekend and I took the chance to watch some interesting TED talks. I came across one of my favorites, it was recorded some time ago but I find it memorable if only for the speaker’s outfit!

Howard Rheingold talks about the power of collaboration and the emergence of a new form of economy. It is something that we think about a lot at SITA as our focus is solely on the air transport community and how we can work together to progress as an industry. It’s interesting to see the development of collaboration in industry and society in the ten years since Rheingold recorded that talk.

As is often the case, I drifted from one TED talk to another and came across Sean Follmer from MIT/Stanford speaking on how shape-shifting technology will be part of our future. I’d recently finished working with my team on The Future is Connected, a unique vision of our industry which combines the views of airlines, airports and passengers, so was interested to see how this researcher believes smart environments will be created.  The talk is fascinating. It shows how the “Internet of Things” – which we know is coming to air travel today – could include devices and interfaces that change their shape based on use and need.

Our report hasn’t included any predictions on shape-shifting technology – but watch out you never know what will come from SITA Lab! What The Future is Connected does do is bring together leading airline and airport CIO and CTO views, combined with the experiences and expectations of 76% of the world’s passengers. We look at the nearer future than that discussed by Sean Follmer in Cern – we check on the progress of IATA’s Fast Travel program and demonstrate how the Internet of Things and location-based services are appearing at airports across the world today.

I might not be invited to give a TED talk about it but I believe that we have delivered a valuable view of the industry to the air transport community. We didn’t do it on our own so thanks to all of those who answered our surveys, gave us the benefit of their experiences and shared their insights. The Future is Connected is a great example of the power of collaboration.

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