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The 10th Amadeus Rail Innovation Forum came to a close in Prague last week with Antoine de Kerviler, Global Head Rail & Ground Travel, Amadeus, underlining the importance of customer focus and collaboration in unlocking the future of rail. 140 attendees from around the world shared insights into how innovation can drive rail success. Speakers included rail providers, Travel Management Companies and industry experts.
The packed RAILyourWAY agenda kicked off with a welcome to rail in the Czech Republic from Zuzana Cechova of České dráhy (Czech Railways) . Zuzana’s description of the multi-operator Czech rail market set tone for the rest of the day as speakers addressed the need for greater customer focus to tackle the challenges of increasing competition.
Technology innovation held the key to enabling this focus. Denis Lacroix, Amadeus, explained how the cloud’s flexibility, cost efficiency and resilience made it the ideal platform to innovate and speed new offers to market.
Fabien Soulet and Katerina Vichova, SNCF , looked at how open innovation could help make the biggest rail players as agile and disruptive as a start-up.
The afternoon session saw the conversation move to the rail customer experience, with the needs of the business traveller the main focus.
As part of her consideration of the impact of digital on rail, Diane Bouzebiba, Amadeus, looked at how fast-evolving customer expectations, alongside technology developments in mobile, big data in rail and Artificial Intelligence are compelling the industry to get to grips with traveller-driven distribution. For Lutz Vorneweg, Amadeus, this meant rail players collaborating to enable air rail interlining and digital tour operators.
Closing the afternoon, Sven Gossel of new train operator Trans Metropolitan discussed the challenge of how to launch a railway. While progress has been made on European rail deregulation, the complexities encountered by Trans Metropolitan en route to launch reminded the forum of how far the industry still has to go to become truly open.
The Amadeus Express Hack was a brand new feature of the 2017 Forum: the first Amadeus rail hackathon! We challenged three teams to invent new business models that would leverage synergies between industry players.
The teams worked through the night and were ready to present their ideas to a specialist panel of judges made up of Railway Gazette journalist Nick Kingsley and Amadeus’ Denis Lacroix and David Doctor. The winner was then selected by the jury and the audience.
The winning idea, Share IT Smart, allows passenger to share a transport for the last mile of their trip when they arrive at a station, handling the payment also through the railway or coach site.
The judges also praised the runners up EZchange, a model to enable real-time collaboration on itinerary rescheduling between travel providers and SearchMyWay, a solution to offer personalised offers to rail customers based on their social media profiles.
The Technology Showcase is a space within the Forum where Amadeus, together with other partners, showcased existing rail solutions, rail it soware and innovations. In Prague, attendees could see how technology is delivering the customer-centric experiences that will define the future of rail.
This year, 7 technology showcases demonstrated innovation in rail with initiatives such as Chat & Pay, Rail Kit and Holiday Tab for Railways.
We hope you enjoyed being part of RAILyourWAY and came away with new insights into the issues and the exciting opportunities that face our industry. Thanks also to everyone who followed the Forum on Twitter using #RailForum17. The conversation doesn’t end there – to share your perspectives, please leave a comment below.