Rahul Samant has charge of the Department of Computer science, in addition to a Hangar, the incubator of innovation of the firm. With almost four years at the company, spoke with Digital Trends in Spanish about the innovations created to make life easier for both their customers and their employees.
“Ours are always innovations applied. We see innovation in two dimensions. One is that we want to empower the employees who we believe represent a competitive advantage and a strength. Your service makes us stand out. The we empower them with mobile tools and ideas to ensure that the information we help you to bring your service to another level. This is a way of innovation. And the other way is directly related to the customers. Want to personalize the experience and get to know you; to eliminate weak points and stress in the whole process of the trip. Everything we do, from the point of view of the innovation or the technology, is geared towards one of those two purposes,” he said.
And continued: “we are Announcing five innovations. Three of them are more related to the customer and two with help to the employees. We have an exoskeleton, and that will be very important, because safety is our main priority, both with employees and with customers. The tension is removed of load, whether cargo or heavy suitcases or in our maintenance workshop, where the people raise large assemblies, engine blocks, turbines, and so forth. The other benefit to unintentional, or intentional but less obvious, is that it puts everyone at the same level. Someone of my stature might not be capable of lifting something about 25 pounds; now, suddenly, it is very easy. It feels like lifting a feather. I can do it, anyone can do it. Age, gender, height or physical obstacles. Nothing.”
“And if you look behind the scenes, in our operations center for the client, you’ll see the algorithm of machine learning with artificial intelligence, a model that we created for doing simulations. We can do thousands of simulations to analyze what we have done previously, what if we could change a variable? What about a parameter? What would have come out better things? That helps us with the operations of the future, mainly in terms of climate. Those are two major innovations that perhaps customers don’t see, because they will not see the exoskeleton. Will be behind the scenes. You will not see the models of machine learning. They are in our command center. But to have an impact on your security and convenience,” said Samant.
— You talked about customers and employees, and to make life easier. What are your priorities?
— Normally, our virtuous circle begins when, if we take care of our employees, they will take care of our customers, and that will take care a lot of our shareholders. This gives us the resources to take very good care to our communities and employees. For the sixth consecutive year, we have made a profit of more than $1 billion (1,000 million) of dollars to the entire organization. What we do the Day of Valentine’s day, and it’s like a big celebration that day in the company when we announced the profit sharing.
“In what the customer is concerned, we have extended the application so that it is more like a concierge and a companion. And of course, when you’re onboard, how do you arropamos? It is your moment. How do you arropamos with great entertainment? And if you want to be connected, we hope to have free wifi in a couple of years.”
— But not only free, but better…
— I love that you say that because that is not no, is it to be free. This is a business decision… we could do that tomorrow.
— JetBlue does it…
— It’s a different scale. Our scale is about 1,000 planes in the air and 6,000 flights per day. Then, we want to make sure that if we lift the restriction, that today is of money, people can choose, and say: “I don’t want to pay that for a two-hour flight. I’m fine. I’ll wait. I will be in airplane mode”. If we eliminate that, then the bandwidth and latency, and the performance must meet the standards of Delta, as one would expect a certain level of operational reliability of us.
“If you already paid a ticket, why can’t you have wifi at 30,000 feet? We want to democratize, but we will not do so until we are confident that you will be at the height of the standards of Delta, because you launch it before it could generate even greater problems”.
— Can you explain the “parallel reality”?
— Is a startup. Missaplied Sciences. It is an optical technology unique and innovative. A single pixel is able to emit different bands of light in different directions. And you’re labelling anonymously. Then, you have the tag number one, you can use a barcode, you can use your phone, you can use your boarding pass, any thing you carry. And not know that you are John Garcia. Just know that you are the label number one. And they don’t know that I am Rahul. Just know that I am the tag number two. Then the software takes care of show you personalized and relevant information just for you. And we don’t need to be at a distance of one metre. We can be a few centimeters. The screen will be different for both. It is amazing. Think of the people who come from Latin america, Asia. English is not their mother tongue. And we can show you information in the language you prefer, if in your profile you said that you prefer hindi or English, all the messages of the airport will be in your preferred language, including information such as your gate. How far are we from that? We will test at mid-year in Detroit. In a site very prominent.
“In Detroit, when you get to the main area where sales, there are shops on both sides and right there there is a big screen. We think that this is where the going to put. It will have more or less the double than you see here. And we’ll activate it and we’ll see. I say, the issue with innovation is that you have to think big. The customers will tell us if they like it, and if it works, we’ll expand it”.
— What other places are testing their technology?
— What you will see very soon is a deeper integration with the app Lyft. We think that is very relevant to the trip. Later, can food, bags? Can we carry your bags from your house to a hotel? And that is done through the application and you can use your miles to pay. Because they think in the approach, which is a time of high stress. Isn’t it? All pushed, they want to get up ahead to get space in the overhead compartment. Maybe with your miles you could guarantee delivery and I’ll be waiting for you at your hotel.
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