7 Ways Machine Learning Can Help You Handle Business Travel Risks
Travelling to meet clients and stakeholders is a part of the process for several organizations. A good percentage of day-to-day travelling are businessmen and women flying from one city/country to another for meetings and conferences.
The industry has changed tremendously over the years. Air travel has become a preferred choice of most enterprises as it saves time compared to other modes of transportation. Allowing people to check-in from their mobile phones instead of waiting for long hours at the airport is one major development.
However, the rise of the COVID pandemic in 2020 has disrupted all industries, and the travel sector is no exception. Flights have been cancelled; the borders between countries were closed. Even the borders between the states were closed to prevent people from travelling and spreading the virus.
While this led to substantial losses, it further pushed the industry to come up with new ways and promote safe travel for people. Technology has become an inherent part of this change. Be it self-serving machines, contactless transactions, or replacing customer care staff with virtual assistants to contain the spread of the virus, artificial intelligence and machine learning make it possible to handle travel risks on a large scale.
Safety First When Traveling
Employee safety has become one of the primary concerns for airports and airlines. The staff is at high risk of getting infected because of the nature of their work. This directly impacts productivity. At the same time, the health of the passengers travelling on the same flights is also a matter of concern.
AI solutions are helping to manage these risks and facilitating safe travel while also ensuring that the staff is not exposed to the virus. Facial recognition systems, predictive maintenance, and contactless luggage screening are a few ways in which AI and ML are being used in the aviation industry.
Masks, sanitizers, and face shields are an inherent part of the process to stay safe when travelling. But to arrange for safe travel, it is the technology that comes to the rescue.
The Need for Technology - What is Machine Learning?
Many airlines and airports are investing in ML to get back on track and increase their productivity without risking the lives of the people involved. But what exactly is machine learning? Is there a need to hire the services of a Machine Learning consulting company to adopt new technology?
It is a subset of artificial intelligence. It is a method of data analysis that teaches computers to understand data and make a decision with minimum human interaction. This algorithm allows the system to learn from its mistakes and improve its efficiency to produce more accurate results.
However, the vital point is that the airlines can be productive even in risky situations like the pandemic by using AI and ML services.
Coming to the second question, it is not compulsory to hire offshore AI consulting companies to adopt the technology. However, revamping the business processes is not easy unless there is the right kind of support. This support comes from experienced consulting companies that offer personalized services to various organizations.
How Does Machine Learning Help Reduce Business Travel Risk?
There are several ways in which machine learning can increase the productivity of airlines. We will first see how ML can reduce business travel risk and then read about how ML can be used in other areas of the travel industry.
1. Customization of the Trips
Travel companies and airlines are now offering customized plans based on your travel history. Based on your previous flying experiences and preferences, a personalized travel program will be charted by the machine learning algorithm. There are already apps that use smart calendars to create a travel plan for the sales personnel. X.ai already allows similar functions.
The apps have up-to-date information and can plan your entire travel program more effectively as they also consider the risk quotient, the delays in flights, the difference in time zones, and more. Machine learning can reschedule your itineraries based on your travel requirements and factors that affect your program. This is highly advantageous for business travel as it saves time and money for the enterprises who pay the expenses on behalf of the employees. It also helps streamline the trip to make it successful.
2. Self-Service Check-ins for Contactless Transactions
Check-ins with as little contact as possible is a great way to prevent the virus from spreading, isn’t it? AI services let you check-in in advance, not just in the airports but also in hotel rooms. Some hotels in countries like Singapore are offering contactless check-ins. You can check-in via the app and also request any extra services you might need.
You'll be provided with a QR code that needs to be scanned at the hotel so that you can check into your room straight away using the kiosk. There is no need to talk to the reception staff or enter your details anywhere. There isn’t any need to sign your entry and risk touching items that could spread the virus. Singapore’s Changi Airport Terminal 4 is using automation, while the CitizenM hotel group is offering self-service check-ins for guests.
3. Humanoid Robots and Robotics to Replace Humans
The Bangalore International Airport in India is planning to use humanoid robots in place of human employees. A local startup has been working on building the humanoid to assist passengers during travel. Sirena Technologies has also built the first Indian Humanoid Robot, Nino that enables a novel and modern approach to education.
Similarly, airlines are starting to replace robot-driven aircraft tractors to take passengers to their flights. By reducing the involvement of employees, airlines can continue to fly planes and stay productive even in adverse conditions. There is an idea to use automated kiosks to check the temperature of the travellers along with their travel details, all in one place. This will eliminate the need for employees to handle the passports and other papers of the travellers.
4. Screening Luggage Using Artificial Intelligence
Luggage screening takes time and also increases the risk of spreading the virus. By using AI in Airports, the luggage screening process is automated and helps the officials identify illegal and harmful items in the passengers’ luggage. The traditional method is complex, time-consuming, and tedious. By automating the screening process, the threats are detected by computers as the luggage passes through the X-ray machine.
The Pune Airport in India has deployed this smart luggage screening system using artificial intelligence. The system detects harmful and dangerous objects and alerts the security personnel in real-time. This ensures that there is minimum contact between people while also increasing the efficiency of the process.
5. Predictive Maintenance of the Airplanes
One of the most critical aspects of using machine learning in the aviation industry is to predict when the aircraft needs maintenance and detect the minor issues that need to be resolved before the plane takes off. The aircraft maintenance is handled by a crew of technicians who thoroughly check the engine and other components to ensure that the plane is good to travel.
The artificial intelligence-based systems collect data in real-time to analyze the performance of the airplane and determine its health. The system will alert the concerned officials when it identifies anomalies that could lead to complications in the air. This helps airlines prevent flight accidents and reduce the loss of lives due to airplane crashes. AI can also be used for in-flight monitoring and management and to assist the technical crew in repairing the aircraft.
6. Chatbots for Customer Support
Customer experience and satisfaction still remain a priority for the airlines. Having an efficient and streamlined system is crucial to ensure that there would be no glitches in travel arrangements for millions and billions of passengers. With the travel restrictions still in place, it can be confusing to plan business trips without assistance.
This assistance is now being provided by AI-powered chatbots instead of human employees. Numerous airlines around the world are using personalized chatbots to serve customers online. This is a cost-effective and time-saving method to serve more travellers in less time, that too while minimizing the risk of human errors. The support staff can continue to work from home and handle other aspects of their job and leave the mundane tasks to technology.
7. Traveler Checking-In Identification
We have mentioned how airports are now investing in facial recognition technology to identify and confirm the identity of the passengers during their check-ins. The data collected in real-time is compared with the database to ascertain the identity of the passengers.
AI solutions are also being used to deploy CCTV cameras that act as security scanners to detect anomalies. Mobile apps are being developed and released by airlines to help travellers have a safe and stress-free flight. The time taken by a human employee to attend to a passenger is much more than the time taken by the AI and ML-based app to help multiple customers at once. And since there is hardly any contact between people, it reduces the risk of being affected by the virus.
Other Advantages of Using ML in the Travel Industry
Apart from reducing the risk of business travel, machine learning has a lot more to offer to the travel and aviation industry. The following are a few instances of how AI in Business Travel is bringing a change for the better.
Travelling through different countries has its risk in terms of miscommunication. While English is used in most countries, it doesn’t prevent confusion in some passengers. Google Translator is good but not enough as it works online and requires an internet connection. By developing offline AI-based language translators, airlines can provide the exact translation of the details to passengers without any loss of context.
Streamlined Transportation Services
Identifying the easiest and cheapest route from one place to another saves time, money, and resources. While AI-based technology is already being used to identify alternate routes via road transportation, the same is applied to sea and air transport. When the technology is used in sync in various transportation modes, it will lead to an enhanced user experience. The delays in take-offs and landings ensure you don’t miss a flight due to traffic jams or connecting flights.
Virtual credit cards and online travel expense trackers are helping passengers keep a record of their expenses to submit to their employers. Collecting the receipts, making a list, and preparing a travel expense sheet are more tedious than the travel itself. But with the help of AI-powered apps, you can handle everything without any effort.
Augmented reality is an AI technology that augments the real-world setting by overlaying it with digital components. Though it is similar to Virtual Reality, it doesn’t replace the real-world environment with a virtual setup.
While AR is more used by the holidaying crowd, it is useful for business travel as well. Hotels are actively investing in AR to enrich their customers’ satisfaction and experience. By looking at a particular location or a structure through the app, you can know more about the place in real-time. There's no need to enquire or search for details. Business travellers find it convenient to use AR apps to know more about the destination, especially when they have little or no time to enjoy the trip.
Data Gathering and Data Analytics for Decision Making
In the current situation, ML can help you identify high-COVID-risk areas and find alternate routes to reach your destination. Data is collected from several sources like the airlines’ travel networks, public health websites, and the latest Covid-19 updates posted by the governments. This data is analyzed in real-time to suggest travel routes with less risk, that too while minimizing delays.
AI has many uses in the travel industry. It helps in identifying and preventing fraudulent transactions. It helps automate the tasks, improve customer experience, and facilitate safe travel for billions of people around the world.
The time has come for the aviation and travel industry to invest in advanced technology and revamp its operations. The leading machine learning consulting companies are providing valuable and experienced services to several airlines to overcome the challenges in the industry and increase profits.