Close this search box.
Close this search box.

21 Must-Knows About The Most Important Airline Technology Trend

Feed-based content apps are one of the hottest airline technology developments that are currently going on. Since the publication of the idea to transform KPI solutions from static dashboards to dynamic content feeds, we've received a lot of questions on comments.

Undoubtedly, feed-based approaches open the door to a new dimension of airline KPIs and operations content. Nonetheless, new technology creates questions. That’s why we gathered much of your feedback and provided answers to 21 of them.

And in case you are new to this technology topic, you should read the relevant post about feed-based approaches first:

1 – What’s A Feed-Based Airline Content Solution?

Actually, this is relatively easy to answer. You know Facebook, don’t you? Facebook is probably the most prominent feed-based application. Instead of a fixed design, feed-based approaches provide content in an endless content feed. Airline feed-based content solutions adapt that idea. Instead of visualizing KPIs and information in dashboards (browser-based or even PDF/Powerpoint), you can scroll through your content as you do with your Facebook app.

2 – What Are The Benefits Of The Feed-Based Technology?

Actually, the feed-based technology contains a whole bunch of benefits. However, here’s the most essential: It liberates content from the boundaries of static views. As a result, feed-based approaches allow entirely new opportunities for airlines to visualize content.

A feed-based solution makes it swift and easy to explore content instead of using a fixed dashboard structure where you have to drill down. In addition, with feed-based technology, it is possible to introduce smart KPIs and contextual communication (see questions 6, 8, and 9).

3 – Is The Feed-Based Technology Completely Replacing Airline Dashboards?

A question many of you asked. From my POV, it is not about replacing airline dashboards. Here are two reasons why.

First, the feed-based technology and dashboards serve different use cases. Feed-based solutions are about exploring, getting new insights and knowledge. Dashboards are more about a purposeful search.

Second, airline dashboards still make very much sense, especially as overall situational awareness tools (for example, in an Operations Control Center or Hub Control Center).

4 – Is This Technology Only About Visualizing Airline KPIs?

The feed-based technology does not have a sole focus on key performance indicators (KPI). Nonetheless, KPIs represent an essential part of the displayed content. However, a feed-based solution should integrate content from different sources (see next question).

5 – What Additional Airline Content To Show?

On a higher level: Any content that helps create situational awareness or serves as a source for new insights. 

On a detailed level, here are a few examples:

  • News articles from websites
  • Social media information (Twitter feeds)
  • Flight updates
  • Flight events
  • Ground process information
  • Weather information
  • Financial information (stock price, oil, etc.)
  • Etc.

6 – How To Personalize Content To A Single User?

An excellent question since the success of feed-based solutions stands and falls with personalized content. We do believe that most of the content should be created automatically and “at-scale.” However, creating content at scale implies mechanisms that allow personalizing content. This is essential to avoid flooding users with content they are not interested in. Actually, there are different approaches to solve that:

  • Channel Approach: Users choose the channels (topics) they are interested in. Accordingly, each content piece has to be tagged with a channel.
  • Behaviour Tracking: That means tracking and analyzing the content a user is consuming and interacting with. Accordingly, previous behavior determines future content.
  • Relevance: Content is displayed according to its relevance (interactions, importance, comments, etc.)

7 – Why Is Automated Content Important?

Although I’m comparing this technology with social media apps like Facebook or Instagram, there’s one significant difference. The initial content creation should be mainly automated. Although the possibility of creating manual content should be available for airlines, I believe that at least 90% – 95% of the content has to be created automatically.

There are two reasons why: First, employees still have other responsibilities than creating internal content, and second, you need content at scale.

8 – What’s Contextual Communication?

A super-powerful method. But I guess you want some more details. Creating content at scale and establishing a personalized content feed leads to the user receiving highly customized information. Together with the possibility to comment on any content piece, we are triggering contextual communication. 

To give you an example of that: Imagine a runway closure for a specific airport (automatically) pops in as a post. The post is (just as an example) simultaneously seen by the station manager, a pilot whose next flight is planned to that destination, and the Customer Care Center Manager. So, immediately they can have a quick discussion in the comments section of the post. That is a) a swift process, and b) probably helps other colleagues with similar questions.

9 – Which Devices Should Be Supported?

If you have been following this blog or our podcast for a while, you probably already know the answer. I’m the most prominent advocate of a mobile-first strategy. But, again, compare it to Facebook. Although you can use Facebook on your laptop, most people use it on their smartphones. The same applies here: Smartphone is the device to support first and foremost. Everything else is a nice-to-have. Period.

10 – How’s The Feed-Based Technology Linked To Smart Airline KPIs?

Smart KPIs are a new approach aiming to combine analytical insights and KPIs (find out more about the concept here). 

Smart KPIs are probably one of the hottest new concepts when it comes to airline key performance indicators. The idea behind smart airline key performance indicators is to calculate 10, 15, or 20 different KPIs and calculate thousands of KPIs automatically. 

For example, instead of calculating one single on-time performance, I’d advise calculating hundreds of different, more specific OTPs. For example:

  • An OTP for every sub fleet you’re operating
  • An OTP for every airport you’re operating.
  • A comparison of your OTP with yesterday’s OTP
  • Or a comparison of your current OTP with the average of the week
  • A comparison of your current OTP with last hour
  • Or a comparison of your current OTP with the average of the month
  • A comparison of your OTP with each day of the year that had a similar number of passengers
  • Or a comparison of your current OTP with the last 2, 3, 4, … same days of the previous weeks
  • A comparison of your current OTP with your competitors
  • Etc.

Accordingly, by doing so, you quickly end up with hundreds of different OTPs. And of course, you should repeat this exercise with all your other KPIs: Regularity, number of passengers, delay minutes, delay reasons, etc. 

Therefore, the feed-based technology, for the first time, allow airlines the usage of Smart KPIs. Why? Because you are no longer bound to a fixed set of KPIs. With personalized feeds, airlines can provide precisely the KPIs that are relevant to a user.

11 – How Does This Technology Allow New Forms Of Airline Analytics?

This is tightly linked to the usage of Smart KPIs. Compared to traditional analytics, the massive advantage of this approach is that you don’t have to analyze. Instead, through the continuous calculation of thousands of KPIs, you are provided with insights/answers to questions you haven’t asked yet.

12 – Should We Include Social Interactions And Functions?

I don’t think you have to copy/adapt each Facebook function (actually, this wouldn’t be possible). However, I genuinely believe that commenting, liking, and sharing are vital functionalities. Therefore, integration into a feed-based solution is highly recommendable.

13 – Can You Give Some Examples Of Content Types?

Like question 12: You don’t have to copy everything, but you should support the basics. Basics, for me, means pictures, videos, documents, and audio.

14 – Is This An Airline-Specific Approach?

We’ve received several questions asking if the feed-based approach is airline-specific. Straightforward answer: No. 

15 – Are There Off-The-Shelf Products Available?

As far as I know, no. However, I can tell you that we are in the final steps of setting up Version 1.0 of our feed-based product. The current release date is August 2020.

16 – What Infrastructure Do I Need To Deploy Such A Technology At My Airline?

Answering this question would blow up this blog post. However, I can tell you that we are operating a sophisticated infrastructure containing several business services, micro-services, data warehouses, data hubs, and interfaces. However, I plan to do a dedicated blog post on this during the next couple of weeks.

17 – Which User Or User Groups Should Use A Feed-Based Solution At An Airline?

Frankly speaking, every airline employee. 

18 – Why Do You Think That This Technology Has Such Tremendous Potential For Airlines?

There are many reasons for that. The most straightforward explanation: Think about how Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter has changed how you consume content and communicate during the last years. I genuinely believe that feed-based solutions hold the same potential.

19 – When Will We See The First Ready-To-Use Products?

See question 15. Planned for August.

20 – Can You Provide Some Visual Examples?

Here are two —very early— mockups of our feed-based product. To find out more about that, check out the product page.

Airline Technology
Airline Technology — Feed-Base App Mockup 1
Airline Technology
Airline Technology — Feed-Base App Mockup 2

21 – I Want To Know More About That Technology — What Do I have To Do?

That’s the most straightforward question. 1) Find my contact details at the bottom of this site. 2) Get in touch with me on your preferred channel. 3) Ask me your question personally.

What Do You Think?

Always happy to receive your feedback and thoughts. Just hit me up on Twitter or get in touch on LinkedIn.

Share this article
About the author
Author picture

Benjamin Walther

CEO, Frankfurt

Benjamin is Information Design's CEO and a proven content-maniac. Besides running a successful business and developing pioneering ideas, he's dedicated to writing blog posts and creating content.

You might also like