image via Sabre.

Image via Sabre

APEX Insight: Sabre, the airline software solutions company, predicts the passenger experience will become more connected and personalized. Thanks to big data, biometrics, the Internet of Things and passengers’ generally positive reception to these concepts, the future is arriving sooner than we think.

At the IATA World Passenger Symposium in Hamburg, Sabre, the airline software solutions company, believes much of the groundwork for this future has already been laid and personalization will come sooner rather than later.

“It’s going to be about personalization and not necessarily about segmentation of groups of people,” says Stan Boyer, vice-president, Solution Marketing, SabreSonic CSS. “We can get down to individual travelers. I don’t think we have to wait until 2034 to see that.”

“I think the full value is for airlines to offer customers three things: connectivity, convenience, and context,” says Angelo Contreras, Global Product Marketing, SabreSonic CSS.

The future requires a more open exchange of data between aviation stakeholders, which is an ongoing process that requires expertise and support. And passengers are there to push the process along.

“I think consumer technology is driving and will drive airline partners, alliances, airports and technology providers to integrate, cooperate and collaborate around the passenger experience,” says Contreras.

“I think the full value is for airlines to offer customers three things: connectivity, convenience, and context.” – Angelo Contreras, SabreSonic CSS

Social media like Twitter and Facebook, Contreras points out, “have developed platforms of data that have opened up to the developer community saying: ‘Here’s the data, build applications against it.'”

Boyer cautions that consumers voluntarily put information in the open domain, whereas airline transaction data is not public domain. “Digital privacy laws say that data must be used for its intent,” he says. But arguably more personal data, our biometric information, is already used by aviation to maintain security and control borders.

Boyer and Contreras also point out that we, as travelers and consumers, are already more receptive to biometric identification than we might believe. “Governments are already using biometrics for passport control,” he says. “With your iPhone you can clear a purchase by using your fingerprint – it starts to become second nature.”

And Contreras adds, “in Las Vegas casinos are very heavy users of biometric recognition.”

Contreras also sees the future from the perspective of his six-year old daughter. “What she’s going to expect is connectivity… ‘I want it now… in front of me. Whatever I want should be available to me.’,” he says. “Whether it’s an airplane with no windows, or whatever, [passengers are] going to expect connectivity.”

“I think we’re close,” Contreras says, “I wouldn’t say it’s 20 or 30 years from now. I think it’s closer.”