innovation in the air (part 1 of 3)

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What if you could take two companies, two leaders in their respective industries, and cherry-pick experts to create a joint innovation program?

That’s what SITA and Orange Business Services have done. Since 2009, SITA and Orange have been working together to build a program that uses innovative technologies to bring new services to the air travel industry.

Passenger mobility is one promising domain under active development. Ninety percent of people already carry a mobile device when traveling by air. Currently, travelers can plan and book travel, make payments and even check in for their flights—all from their mobile devices. But SITA and Orange aim to take this further, enabling passengers to more easily pass through security and boarding, and use their devices while in flight.

Together, the companies are focusing on:

  • location-based services, helping travelers avoid getting lost and/or missing their flights, and enabling airports to manage foot-traffic flows
  • contactless services, allowing travelers to use their near field communication (NFC)-equipped smartphones to perform a variety of tasks, from passing through security to boarding the plane

Some of these services are already in the public testing phase. For example, an NFC-based digital access control trial is taking place this summer at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in France.

To better understand the value of this program and some of the other innovations in the works, I interviewed Thierry Hayes and Muriel de Beler, both with Orange Business Services. Thierry is head of the SITA-Orange Common Solutions Team, and Muriel is Manager of the Joint Innovation Program. Get their insights in parts 2 and 3 of this blog series on air travel innovation!

about SITA

SITA (Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques) is the only IT service provider fully dedicated to the air transport industry, including airlines, airports, freight forwarders, aerospace, air traffic control, such as Eurocontrol, and non-governmental organizations.

For 60 years, SITA has served the air transport industry. Over 90% of airlines and airports use SITA as a communications and IT service provider. For the average traveler, it is a behind-the-scenes, often invisible—yet critical—player in an industry that transports millions of people, goods and aircraft around the world every day.

Katie DeTitta

I've spent more than 17 years in global telecommunications, and was formerly responsible for international social media activities at Orange Business Services. I enjoy making technology accessible to non-techies and I'm a strong supporter of flexible working.