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CAPA Elevate: Aviation Innovation Roadshow- Spotnana

CAPA Elevate is designed to showcase the most influential innovations transforming aviation in the next decade. In this unmissable session key stakeholders from select CAPA partner organisations will deliver overviews of their products or services and explore its real-world applications.

Showcasing innovation has always been at the forefront of CAPA’s event strategy, and it has never been more important than it is in 2022. Expect to hear from a wide variety of interesting speakers who are revolutionaries in their own right.

Each supplier will be given a 10-minute time slot to showcase their innovation and explore how it is set to change the industry.

Speaker: Spotnana, VP Strategy & Partnerships, Johnny Thorsen

CAPA Events are hosted in key markets around the world and attract the highest calibre of thought leaders and decision makers in the aviation and travel industry. Delegates are provided with unprecedented access to the latest data, insights and trends from our global team, in addition to valuable networking opportunities with executives across all sectors of the aviation and travel industry. Review CAPA’s full events calendar here.

Transcript

Johnny:

Good morning, everybody. I'm going to give a quick intro to Spotnana, who we are and what we do. But before I do that, I just want to do a quick profiling of this audience, in terms of your readiness and willingness to accept innovation. So, raise of hand, how many in here owns any form of crypto? Yeah, that matches. Normally, it's kind of two to 3% of the room, so we actually a little overweight in that white corner. That's the crypto corner. How many owns an NFT? Okay.

You heard Richard talk about NFTs with airBaltic and Martin last night. I just checked this morning. The floor price for the NFTs of airBaltic is a quarter of an Ethereum. That means people selling are charging that. That's about five times up on what they bought it for. So, it's been a nice profit already on buying the airBaltic NFT, which actually has no benefits, yet I'm sure they will come. But it's common to travel fast and furious, so if you're not in it, look at it. You cannot avoid it. 30% of millennials and Gen Zs in the US own crypto, and prefer to pay with crypto.

So, if you want to fly these people, you have to get ready for them. Okay. With that said, let's move on to Spotnana. We came out of stealth mode in September last year, after quietly developing for more than two years a completely new framework or platform for corporate travel management for the future. We're basically describing it as, Rebuilding Trust in Travel. We do that by unbundling the old travel stack and putting it together in a new way. All of you know how complex and archaic and outdated the current stack is if you take a look at it with modern technology eyes. It's nobody's fault, it's a natural evolution in the technology world. At some point, you get to a stage where it's not worth investing anymore in the old. It is better to build new. That's what we have done. The goal is really to bring freedom, simplicity and trust to the travellers out there, meaning they need to know and feel very confident that they are looking at the real best available global picture for anything.

No more looking at one isolated PCC or office ID. It's a global market. The customers are global. You cannot force them into that narrow model anymore, because the customers, the corporate travellers who we focus on, do not want to play that game anymore. Our platform is native cloud based. That's important because it means from day one, it is the site to deliver one version of the truth for these four customer segments. We sell directly to corporations. We can act as their TMC, if they want that, or they can work with another TMC. However, the TMC must work on this Spotnana platform. They're no longer working in Amadeus or Sabre or Travelport. They don't have a traditional GDS point of sale interface anymore. They have a cloud based UX which sits on top of this platform. So, the agent and the corporate traveller are seeing exactly the same. They're sharing the same content. They have access to the same information and they follow the same rules.

Another way, an agent can no longer overrule or break policy by booking in native JDS. Those days are gone. We also work with suppliers. We have won a First airline customer who will start migrating some of their dotcom capabilities onto our platform, which certainly means to get a cloud infrastructure for their entire dotcom presence. They don't have to keep adding layers on top of the old backend. And we work with technology for providers in the industry. This ecosystem is open. Any other third party solution provider can connect and start offering services to the corporation, the TMC, or the supplier. Sharing the booking data in real time in the cloud backend without using GDS, PNR queues. Just imagine not how having those queues anymore, being hit 200 times for PNR in the corporate travel world. That's what this is enabling. I don't know how much you know about the corporate travel programme.

We heard Karen from EY yesterday. On the left, you have a complete to date best in class global standard practise configuration for a corporate buyer. In every single country where they have deployed online, there will be a booking engine, and there will be a TMC service environment. In other words, there are two configurations per country. If you are EY and you buy travel in 105 countries, you are managing 210 environments in a worst case, which is why they never go online in all markets.

Typically only in two thirds, but that's still, say, about 140 configuration environments they're managing to buy travel. In our new cloud world, one. Same worldwide. If you launch new markets, you just upload employees who are based in a new place. There is nothing else to do. This means a corporate buyer can roll out a new platform globally in potentially, a little as a month. Today it takes two to three years with the legacy booking engines. So, the speed of change in the corporate buyer environment at the high end of the market will accelerate dramatically. And they will be able to take advantage of any deal you give them, globally. There are no legacy restrictions.

Everything is built on modern cloud technology and development and design tools. It's a full on consumer style retail experience, including cabin class specific images that you, the airline control. You can give us access to customer specific images if you want to do that. Or, you can use same for all. We have unlimited fare bundle support using the NGS NextGen storefront format, and you can make customer specific, fare bundles dynamically and deploy them globally. You no longer have to rely on the old structure for managing and deploying fares by Pseudo-City Code office ID. The customer can even add their own value elements into the NGS store front layout. So, one version for everybody. And this is what the agent is seeing as well in the TMC. And NDC fare if you want to play with that, will look the same for the TMC staff and for the travellers. There's no difference anymore. And there's built in support from managing and supporting the NGC bookings, just like the GDS bookings.

And everything is in one place, part of the cloud benefits, right? You have real time views for dash boarding, for sustainability information, for duty of care, and of course, for anything else, including social information about crowd behaviour in a large corporate company. So, if a traveller searched for something on the city pair, they have not gone before they will see what is the most used flight number in our company for the city pair. They will immediately know, instead of randomly having to ask around and hope that somebody can give a good recommendation. The data are there. Why not use them intelligently? They can go down and see, at hotel level, what hotel most people stay in inside the company. So, you have crowd wisdom sharing, which is again, one of the important cloud principles. And this is where any other third party solution can be blocked in. And the individual traveller will be exposed to their sustainability footprint at time of search. It's not at the end. It happens upfront.

Most importantly, because this is a cloud-based new infrastructure, we do not rely on the PNR anymore as the order management system. In other words, there are services developed and used here that are not visible in the PNR. We can still make PNR segments, but it's just a very skinny PNR without the 200 lines of random information in remark lines, in passive segments and everything else that the industry all the years have used the PNR for. Things it was never designed for. And we don't have random lines with random information. The mobile number now lives in a dedicated field and can be validated instantly. We can make sure that the same mobile number cannot be used across multiple travellers, which is a common problem in the large corporate world. Everything lives in a designated field, and can be API accessed or used for workflow automation or other integration services, including completing new digital retail capabilities for the airline.

You can reach the traveller directly whenever it makes sense, based on business rules. It's all cloud based. And of course you cannot have a technology presentation without a diagram. But the key here is to... on the right, look at the content. We are completely agnostic. In other words, whenever a search happens, we look in all available sources. We consolidate it all. We dedupe it, meaning we remove duplicates so travellers don't see double lines of anything. And then we run it through the corporate rules engine, and make sure that it's presented. However, there's one big difference from the old booking engine world. We always start with showing everything. Also out of policy, the traveller can decide to remove out of policy data and only look at what they're allowed to do, but they will see the entire data world, because the most asked question in a corporate travel programme is, "Why am I not seeing this flight or this fare?"

Because it's on Expedia or airline.com. The old booking engines remove it causing frustration. We show everything. But we also have omnichannel support completely. So I can start a search on my laptop, I need help, I involve the agent with online chat. The agent can take over my session, continue the work, hand it back to me, and I'm now on the road, so I complete my booking in the mobile app. That's complete channel integration between the three.

And that means the days of different people looking at different things finally are over. The traveller and the TMC person will always see the same. And it's now up to the suppliers to make sure that the best available and most relevant content flows in to this platform. And as you can see, you can even take advantage of this in your e-commerce environment because the policy engine, as an example, is open. As long as the customer, the corporate client, gives consent, you can actually connect in and potentially even start making custom offers based on dynamic policy. That is not possible today, in no environment in the corporate travel world. That's what open technology gives you as an opportunity.

We are Silicon Valley based. We came out of stealth mode in September last year. We are 160 people now. We have won our first two corporate customers in the so-called BTN 100 list. That means the hundred largest US based corporate travel buyers. Two of them have come over the line and will be launched and announced very soon. And we are also selling to TMCs and have four TMCs so far getting ready to migrate their production of bookings to this platform. So, this will become part of your environment as a supplier going forward. And unlike the old tech stack, it's native cloud. It's really ready for you to engage with and work with and take advantage of without all the legacy limitations. That what we built. That's what we are looking forward to. Work with you on hopefully modernising and optimising the travel programme. And this is what the corporate buyers have been waiting for, for roughly 20 years. So that will be a significant uptake very quickly. We are quite confident about that. Thank you very much.

Jonathan:

Thanks very much Johnny. And in fact, to all of our Aviation Innovation Roadshow partners for telling us what they're doing, transforming the space.

Johnny:

As Jonathan just said, I have been working with CAPA for several years on also pointing out new technology and significant innovation to them. And there are three products right now that are kind of approaching, or already are here that I just want to raise your awareness of. Because I think they will play a significant role in your programmes in the tech world very soon on the supplier side. And this is not a promo for anyone. It's just highlighting that these solutions are coming to a tech environment near you. The first one is in the sustainability space, and it's the company that CAPA have been working with already to produce their sustainability report that came out in October last year. An Australia based start-up called Invest Global. CAPA and Invest are preparing a new version of the original airline report aimed at the corporate buyer.

And this is why life might get scary for you. Because this is a neutral nameless indicator of average CO2 emissions per RPK for 52 airlines. The end of this year it'll show a hundred airlines and include '21 data. Right now. It only includes up to 2019 because 2020 was kind of relatively useless from a data point of view based on how the industry performed. But now we are going back into a new normal world, and corporate buyers are going to be exposed to these type of informations across 52 airlines with same analysis and presentation of everybody. Of course, no buyer wants to rely on one indicator. And there's therefore a total of 16 indicators of factors being used to create eventually a new index, S&P style for financial health in the corporate world. This will be an index that eventually grade the airlines based on parameters that corporate consider most important.

It could be load factor. It could be average plane age. It could be average sector length. Whatever matters the most to the individual corporate buyer is how they want to select their suppliers. And the data set exists, the work is being done. And as you heard from Karen yesterday from EY, there a very high interest level for this type of services without being controlled by the individual airline. Buyers want industry information, not individual supply information. So that's coming, which means it's important for you to make sure you provide the best data, the most accurate and most timely data, because that means you feature the best.

The second new technology is also from an Australia/Silicon Valley based company called P-A-T, PAT which is an abbreviation for a kind of linguistic theory. They have quietly, during COVID, built an incredible new virtual agent technology. And one of the three global airlines are probably a week, max two, away from launching the first ever, I would say, intelligent user interface for the around the world ticket, which is one of the most complex products to sell, right? I'm sure all of you know, how low the conversion rates are. PAT literally makes it a joy to sit and plan your round-the-world ticket. You can even just in clear word and say, "I would like to replace Milan with London." Or, "Can you change the order of Munich and Barcelona?" Natural language, which converts into intelligent search results. This technology is built to become the future virtual agent in the airline world.

And the final one is out of Lagos, Nigeria. And of course, everybody will say, "That's got to be a scam," but it's not. It's developed in partnership with the largest kind of blockchain development education programme down in Nigeria. And it's attacking one of the biggest problems in Africa, which is how do you take payment from people who don't have credit cards or bank accounts? So, they build a blockchain payment framework, initially designed to manage refunds, and make money move much faster. But you can also keep the money in the Bitcoin or in the blockchain ledger and use it with upgraded value for future purchases. Or you can release it back.

But this is technology built on the blockchain framework, which gives you whole new payment services in a market that's completely underdeveloped right now. The African continent will go from being way behind to being world leader when this technology is released. A few airlines are already looking at it and are very excited about the opportunity. Just wanted to feature those three and tell you innovation is coming at you fast and furious. You cannot build this yourself at the same speed. Take advantage. It's there. Thank you very much.

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