The 2–4 of April saw the Passenger Technology Solutions expo — a hotbed for innovation in the aerospace industry, with exhibitors ranging from manufacturers of the next business-class-worthy airplane chairs to the latest technology screens to watch the Jurassic Park trilogy on your journey. And in the heart of this conference, BeMyApp was hosting a hackathon with Reed Exhibitions where top developers and innovators from Hamburg gathered to work towards boosting the passenger journey with new tech solutions. And here is what went down…
As we opened the doors for #PaxTechHack, the sun was shining through the Hamburg Messe window casting a spotlight on the hackathon space. We welcomed 50 bright-eyed and eager developers, designers, marketers, and business savvy individuals to the 48-hour hackathon, and kicked things off by giving them a lowdown of what to expect over the coming days.
14 ideas were pitched on stage in just 60 seconds — some opting for Challenge 1: the Inflight Community Challenge. The aim of this challenge was to create a digital solution that brings together flight passengers as a community and encourages interaction on a long journey. Others had an idea that was a perfect match for Challenge 2: the Boost Airport Retail Challenge. This challenge aimed to create a solution that addressed those early-bird passengers that sweep through security and head straight to the gate without a passing glance at those giant Toblerones in duty-free (we all know someone like that; it might be you! But that’s okay…).
After hearing the ideas and skill sets of everyone wanting to build a team (or add to the team they arrived with) — we had a swift team formation session (think speed dating…but replace the romance with coding compatibility) and before we knew it, our 50 innovators were now 12 teams. Now, all they had to do was quickly get to know each other, put their game faces on, and get ready to win.
Want to meet the teams and hear their ideas? We thought so…
Here are the teams that tackled Challenge 1: Inflight Passenger Community Challenge
Air Pocket: An in-flight entertainment-based gamification platform to earn frequent flyer points in the sky. What makes us unique is that we help you get the most out of your journey. Have you ever imagined earning some points for your frequent flyer miles by playing with a team you create all by yourself with the passengers?
Flymate: A solution that asks simple questions about a person immediately after they have bought a ticket for their flight. An algorithm then distributes people to seats on a flight to maximise passenger satisfaction.
tindAIR: Writing text messages can be tiring and is often emotionless. Speech recognition software reacts sensitively to background noises that can create an issue when there is loud chatting picked up. By using tindAIR which utilises lip reading technology, you can chat easily and see the emotion of your chat partner. tindAIR is a lovely way to communicate above the clouds…
ShAir: A chatbot that uses a matching algorithm to bring passengers together who have shared travel goals. Offer or ask for anything you need and ShAir will find the right match for you. Travel the world. Make new friends. Networking in the sky has never been easier.
CloudLounge: This app and the IFE experience provides an easy-to-use personal networking experience for all the passenger segments. Whether you are a traveler who is looking to explore with the app prior to travel or a business traveler who might only have limited time onboard CloudLounge will work for you. Just glimpse at the IFE camera, or read your QR code to join the lounge of a fellow traveler.
Here are the teams that opted for Challenge 2: Boost Airport Retail Challenge:
Fantom Gaze: We provide an opportunity for the retail shops to create amazing ads that will on one side be an unforgettable experience for the airport guests and from another side provide opportunities to increase sales and improve brand awareness. All this while providing a pleasant and easy experience, without cumbersome interaction with the smartphone.
SHOP2GATE: Our innovative solution creates mobile and web apps for online duty-free shopping. Pick up packages from arrival/departure stores and have your package delivered to the gate or to any address. Our solution navigates early-birds through duty-free shops by highlighting incentive offers. Our solution is fully integrated with shops, airports, and airlines to convey valuable information.
Metashop: A One-stop web app for 1.Targeted retail; serving customers products that are more likely to be bought, 2. Incentivized purchasing; paying customers to have the chance of winning selected items/services, and 3. Flight information; partner airlines get a digital channel to push information to app-less passengers.
Airport One: Urgency to board the plane and more digital shopping behaviour calls for innovation in duty-free shopping for passengers. Airport One is an augmented reality self-learning platform that enhances passenger experience on the ground through engagement and personalization.
FlyMart: When traveling, you don’t have the time and energy to buy gifts for your beloved ones or take care of your groceries. FlyMart offers a shopping solution that allows you to shop for goods at your destination airport and pick them up at the baggage claim.
BudJet: This solution offers passengers the best products they can purchase at the airport based on their leftover budget. Choose from categories such as souvenirs, food & drinks, luxury items, and regional products. BudJet recommends the products in a way that they match your budget, and has a feature to navigate you through the airport so that you pass all shops of interest. You can be sure to be back to the gate on time.
Navnow: A tool which airlines can integrate within their app: passengers receive all information directly from there. We offer shop/restaurant recommendations (as well as discounts) and an indoor navigation system to help them find their way around large airports. The advertising is refined and personalised based on the individual profile, preferences, and budget of the passengers.
During the 48 hours, the teams were visited by mentors from the airline industry who offered sound business advice to help shape the pitches for the grand finalé of the hackathon. Each team had just three crucial minutes on stage in front of the jury to showcase their demo and prove the value of these new and innovative concepts. This was no time for last-minute nerves — this was their opportunity to showcase all of the hard work and determination they had thrown into the hack. All of the teams rose to the challenge; the jury saw no telltale signs of sleep deprivation (we had some hardcore hackers pulling all-nighters at this open-all-hours hackathon) as each presenter channeled their inner TED talk guru.
Our jury was an esteemed panel consisting of industry legends with a whole wealth of experience between them:
- Pierre Charbonneau: Director, Passenger Experience & Facilitation at International Air Transport Association (IATA)
- Dr. Stathis Kefallonitis: Founder & President at branding.aero & Noesis Analysis Labs
- Katie Murphy: Senior Exhibition Director at Reed Exhibitions
- Sylvain Guilbon: Head of Customer Program Management at Sitaonair
With the final demos over, the teams could now relax with a cold Heineken (shameless shout out to our drinks sponsor!) while the pressure was now on the shoulders of our jury. They had just 30 minutes to come to a mutual conclusion on the best team for each challenge. This was no easy feat, especially with a great prize up for grabs for two teams (the winning projects for each challenge walked away with a cool 5k euros to share between them — milkybars on them!)
We had kept the teams (and you, if you have read this far!) in suspense long enough — it was time to announce the winners:
Challenge One Winners: CloudLounge
Challenge Two Winners: BudJET
Despite there being only two prizes up for grabs, all of the teams deserve a huge round of applause for their efforts. We saw nothing but focus and determination from all of our participants, and we hope it’s not the last we hear of these amazing ideas that could make our next long haul a much greater experience.
Thanks again to Reed Exhibitions for hosting this awesome event!
Read this article and thought ‘Wow I want a piece of this hackathon action!’? — we thought so, and maybe we are coming to a city near you! Check out our current events here.