Mobipax

Image via Mobipax

APEX Insight: The twin tech zeitgeists of blockchain and artificial intelligence are driving innovation in cabin service through Mobipax’s cloud-based mobile solution.

Thailand-based startup Mobipax’s in-flight cabin service app incorporates blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) to improve customer service, customer recognition, claims management and in-flight sales. The cloud-based mobile solution gives flight attendants access to information including passenger preference data and customer feedback, enabling them to offer better, more personalized service. Since it runs on Android and iOS devices, the app requires no upfront investment, instead earning revenue through a per-flight fee.

“Mobipax uses blockchain for inventory management of the merchandizing module,” Roland Heller, cofounder of Mobipax, told APEX Media. “All inventory movements (adjustments, transfers, sales, uplifts, replenishments, distributed warehouse management and supplier deliveries) are kept in a private distributed blockchain.” Blockchain is the current go-to for secure data transfer, as records are impossible to alter once they’re created.

Heller added that Mobipax uses AI for inventory optimization and pricing, based on actual sales as well as missed sale opportunities. The system predicts the required inventory by analyzing previously-recorded demand based on route, flight time, seasonality, passenger profile and actual behavior. Like an eager student, a well-built AI learns from what it’s gotten right and wrong in the past.

“If you’re standing at row 16, it should automatically show details about passengers sitting in row 16.” – Roland Heller, Mobipax

Mobipax features an offline mode for in-flight use, allowing flight attendants to synchronize the app before takeoff and then use it in airplane mode without any safety issues. The information recorded during the flight is synced again once the cloud connection is re-established.

Mobipax developed the first portable sales-on-board solution for Swissair in 1996. As technology platforms evolved, so did the potential for reimagining in-flight interactions. “We analyzed the market and the competitors,” said Heller. “The big ones have tablet-based solutions and all of them require up-front investments and ongoing usage cost are high. That might be acceptable to large airlines, but … [for smaller ones and  LCCs] costs are a big issue. Our approach is to offer a low-overhead and low-cost alternative, with the same functional scope, or even better.”

According to Heller, Mobipax’s next steps include making the user interface even easier to use: “In order to make a smartphone user friendly, we need to find a way that the information shown follows the movement of the flight attendant – when you walk from the first row to the back of the plane, the smartphone will automatically scroll and display the information about the correct passengers. If you’re standing at row 16, it should automatically show details about passengers sitting in row 16.”

Jordan juggles deadlines across various time zones as he writes about travel, culture, entertainment, and technology.