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Empowering innovation at the SIA AppChallenge

Alexis Girin

Account Director, Singapore Airline Group, Amadeus Asia Pacific

Thomas Edison has a few famous quotes. One goes “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Another is “Genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration”, but my personal favourite is a lesser known one that goes like this: “There’s a way to do it better – find it.”

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This last quote encapsulates the ethos of everything we do at Amadeus, and it’s why we invest so much of our revenues into R&D every year – so that we can find and create the solutions that make travel better for everyone.

Pushing the industry forward and on to its next big idea takes partnership and concerted, collaborative effort. No one can do it alone. We also need platforms that allow us to find, support and develop new and original ideas in travel.

This is why we were excited to support the recently concluded SIA App Challenge, organised by our partner, Singapore Airlines, who themselves have a strong heritage in driving innovation in the air transport industry.

More than 100 students from Singapore’s top tertiary institutions participated in this information technology competition, and were challenged to develop innovative new applications that would help build a more rewarding journey for the modern traveller. And the theme of the competition, ‘Your Travel, Your Way’, couldn’t have been more fitting. After all, today in the Age of Traveller Power, the traveller dictates the rules, and needs to be at the centre of everything we do.

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The competition kicked off on 3 October 2015 with a workshop, where our colleague William Warbington was on hand to introduce our Amadeus Travel Innovation Sandbox , a set of easy-to-use application programme interfaces (APIs) to access travel content such as flight, train, hotel, and car for testing and prototyping purposes.

In the week following, we also had colleagues based in Bangkok, Boston and Nice who provided mentoring to the student participants as they build their solutions.

And last Saturday, on the 10th of October, we were there to see the presentations and judging, where teams were evaluated based on innovation, business value, technical competency and user experience. It was great to see strong representation at the event from Singapore Airlines’ senior management team – a clear sign of their commitment to the event and to innovation at large.

The creativity in the room was impressive and inspiring, and the potential from the ideas – huge! The ideas spanned from apps that help optimise your time at an airport, to apps that monitor sleep quality and help you identify the best seats on the plane for sleeping. There was even an app for a virtual flight attendant! My personal favourite was an app that takes data on a group of friends’ travel preferences and agendas, crunches it, and then provides a tailored travel recommendation for the group. And I’m proud to say that the app was one of 18 that were developed using our Travel Innovation Sandbox .

Looking ahead, I have no doubt that as long as the industry continues to work together and nurture brilliant young minds like those we saw at the SIA App Challenge – the future for travel will be bright.

And Amadeus will do our part as well. We will keep improving the Amadeus Travel Innovation Sandbox tool by adding new innovative APIs and new test datasets, so that it can empower the next big ideas in travel. We have also launched the Amadeus NEXT programme that leverages our technology, expertise, reach and funding to nurture, mentor and partner with travel start-ups in Asia Pacific.

The possibilities are endless!


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Asia Pacific