IBM is transforming the future of transport and you will never see it in the same light ever again. A very recent partnership with Travelport is meant to help use Blockchain technology and Artificial Intelligence (A.I) to transform the way businesses manage the spending on corporate travels. The initiative will emerge as the first of its kind in the industry. The announcement of the partnership was made by Travelport in August 2018.
What happens is that the artificial intelligence platforms developer, IBM, will use its technology to analyse and synthesise data from Travelport to eventually figure out costs, and make predictions on travel destinations, saving companies a lot of stress when planning corporate trips. Now with Blockchain, IBM and Travelport can effectively distribute the landscape of these travel destinations.
Mike Croucher, Chief Architect at Travelport, explains
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“If you look at our relationship with IBM, it’s one that has been in existence since the beginning of the global distribution system (GDS),”
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Travelling, and having to prepare for the travel all by yourself is pretty much exhausting in today’s ecosystem. You may have to sort out a number of destinations based on pricing, preferences and a whole lot, but with A.I and Blockchain your worst nightmare could have been solved. IBM has for several years been very much interested with travel and wants to use artificial intelligence and Blockchain technology to make that easier. Elizabeth Pollock, IBM’s Travel & Transportation Industry Client Lead reiterated IBM’s commitment to developing travel innovation at Travelport. She says
“In this instance, we are looking at new ways of innovation. IBM brings their R&D, while we bring our experience and knowledge of the industry. Because of our history, we are now able to combine resources, breaking into A.I. and blockchain technology.”
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Mike Croucher makes the vision of exploring the capability of blockchain in the partnership clearer when he explains “This is done by looking to specific use cases in the industry. With IBM, we are now executing our first use case.”
IBM’s Watson, an A.I powered technological advancement, could come in handy for Travelport in this partnership in the use of A.I to analyse data. Watson functions in many different areas ranging planning to architecture to building and construction to medical sciences and a whole lot. Watson has even been stretched to limits of voice-recognitions, and language processing. Elizabeth explains that blockchain in itself will have a not always favour the economic growth of a country.
“From my perspective, the ability to mine and leverage that data, to help make better, informed business decisions, will ultimately impact the performance of a company. That is the opportunity we see here, which helps drive new business models and revenue streams, creating greater value for shareholders.”
The use of Watson is a real opportunity for Travelport to get to apply its experience in the travelling sector to real world scenarios. Croucher mentions
“I’ve been in the travel and IT industries for nearly 40 years, seeing Watson develop. Once technology becomes high-profile, you need to understand how to apply it across industries. I think A.I. has become easier to apply and more cost-effective. Watson, over the last few years, has very much developed from a highly-skilled R&D, now being implemented across many verticals.”
IBM’s Travel Manager Developed With Watson
With the use of it’s A.I system, IBM has developed Travel Manager to offer travellers the adequate insight in terms of travel spending through analysis of structured and unstructured data to predicting prices by analysing trends and patterns – at the least. Travel Manager is intended to go commercial and be supplied by both IBM and Travelport.
Travelport’s global distribution system enables Travel Manager give its users an incorporated access to past records and information and synthesising this data to provide them with near accurate suggestions on how to adjust for their spending on a travel trip with budgets impacts of the proposed trip. CCMO at Travel, Fiona Shanley, reiterates that Travel Manger is not your normal travel finding app or destination finder
“ IBM themselves, are very large corporate travellers, and we are now able to analyse their travel data, identifying when people buy their tickets and the manners in which they obtain travel vendors…Putting this information together in IBM Travel Manager’s dashboard platform, we are able to understand travel habits. That is very exciting for us.”
With this new partnership of A.I and blockchain we can expect to see some very streamlined experiences on the user particularly in the empowerment of third party platforms. These platforms can now through Travel Manager use blockchain tech and A.I to speed-up their transaction processes. Booking and other travel transaction systems could all be integrated as one and auto updated across various platforms all as one relieving the stress of manual updates on travelling agencies. IBM will be looking forward to having major organisations buy into their new development as many travel agencies and other companies are targeting the integration of these two leading technologies – blockchain and A.I – into their operational systems.
Croucher also believes this development will inspire people to go out travelling even within their very social media circles without having to exit them. Look at it as just clicking an image on a friend’s travel destination from either your Twitter timeline or Snap stories and voila, you are give details of how far you ae from the place, details of bookings, pricing, and similar destinations. You are inspired at this point to also travel even without skimming through thousands of destinations from website or app. This is what Croucher is referring to when he says inspiration
“Take Instagram for example, you will notice it’s very travel-related. The younger generation wants to be inspired, but it stems from the content they see from their friends. They want to visit these places, often impulsively and on short notice. Therefore, we have to rethink how to get millennials to travel within the channels they are engaged in… I’m not asking you to click on any particular picture. It’s something you are choosing to do on your own, because you saw something engaging within your own channel, clicking on it. While the technology does recognize where you are, you are asking for that recognition. The thing to keep in mind is as long as that information isn’t being stored or recorded somewhere, there shouldn’t be a privacy concern, because it’s simply providing you with an answer back, if you were to travel on short notice.”
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