Sunday, June 20, 2021

Future Opex 2021 – Aviation & Logistics Business transformation revisited

by Staff Correspondent

Future Opex 2021, amongst the most vital virtual shows committed to discuss operational excellence regarding aviation and logistics held on Thursday, hosted by Aldrich. Numerous important entities from aviation business shared the stage to discuss the impact on Business Transformation, Innovation Execution, Agility, Customer Experience, Value Creation, Strategy, and the very important challenges surrounding Leadership & Cultural Transformation.

The event started with Alaa Elshimy’s, Managing Director & Senior Vice President, Huawaei Enterprise Business Group, Middle East stressing on the use of technology and “how in real world we can benefit from artificial intelligence.” Speaking at the occasion Elshimy said that the global aviation industry is going through a great time. “5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud, Big Data and Internet of Things (IoT) are just some of the key technologies that are powering this transformation.

As urbanization progresses, governments and administrations are looking for more diverse ways to manage increasingly complex issues related to people’s lives. Innovative smart city technologies are being applied around the world to analyze and assess data in real-time to enable city management officials to manage traffic better, distribute energy appropriately, ensure public safety, and more,” he added.

“I believe it is imperative to create an industry leading ecosystem to offer the technology, skills and knowledge for best-in-class smart city solutions. Only by fully leveraging this collective intelligence and tapping into the opinions, knowledge, and experience of ecosystem partners, will we build smart cities that will deliver value to all of us,” Alaa Elshimy’s concluded.

Alaa’s speech was followed by a keynote panel discussion on, “The Impact of Covid-19 & the Development of ‘New Normal.’ The session was decorated with panelists like Kashif Khalid, Regional Dir. – Africa & Middle East, International Air Transport Association, Sheikh Aimen Al Hosni, CEO Oman Airport, Michael Ibbitson, Excutive VP, Technology & Infrastructure, Dubai Airports, Mohamed Al Binfalah, CEO Bahrain Airport Company and Videsh Kumar Jaipuriar, CEO Delhi International Airport.

While speaking in a video conferencing session, Kashif Khalid said that airports need to be more vigilant than ever, followed by taking stringent actions to ensure that passengers follow the guidelines. “Undoubtedly, when this period will over it will be new dawn for the aviation industry but till then we have to adopt the new culture of making sure sanitization and social distancing should be utmost priority.”

Testing at airports should be smooth at airports so that passengers do not be concerned for the same. Airport authorities will have to work along with prescribed guidelines being issued by global health care organisations to maintain the same at airports and provide hassle free travelling. Also, sanitization of aircrafts after every movement is one thing where stakeholders will have to invest but it starts with building trust of passengers and their safety.

Shedding light on “new normal” at Delhi International Airport, Jaipuriar recalled that we have made it mandatory for passengers to follow COVID-19 appropriate behavior. “We’ve ensured that the double-filtered fresh air is introduced inside the Terminal-3 every 10 minutes. Disinfection of surfaces being one using UV technology. To measure the effectiveness of sanitization of different surfaces, we have a machine called ‘Luminometer’, which measures the amount of ATP (an enzyme found in any living matter) on any surface. If virus/bacteria load on a surface is high, it’ll show up.”

Rest of the speakers too agreed on the fact that a pandemic has brought many challenges to the aviation industry and entities will have to roll up their sleeves to tackle them for the safety of passengers. “However, it’s the need of the hour to take these precautions ensuring prosperity for all,” said Michael Ibbitson, Executive VP, Technology & Infrastructure, Dubai Airport.

Following a break, the session restarted with new topic i.e. Driving Force in Digital Response to Operational Resilience through OpEx. The speakers which participated in the session were Hannes Mueller, Managing Director Lufthansa Consulting, Sohail Ali, Middle East & Africa, Major European Airline, Dorian Reece, Partner, Global Airport Lead, Deloitte Middle East and Javed Malik, Group Chief Operations Officer, AirAsia.

While discussing the matter, Hannes Mueller, Managing Director Lufthansa Consulting said that, “Technology is giving us now a huge leap in getting closer to the goal of multi- connectivity. With applications on the rise running on the edge based on swarm technology without the necessity of centralized configuration and offering multi-channel communications, it has become much easier to realise the challenge. If airports want to be able to run their operations in the future, it is a must to invest in these technologies making the entire process more resilient and less affected by any turbulence ahead.”

All the speakers in the session had common understanding in terms of Artificial intelligence. “Artificial intelligence (AI) has often been advertised as the answer to many evolving issues in the industry from greater cost efficiencies to enhanced resilience and passenger experience. Yet, the adoption of AI has been slow. Although there have been pockets of data science innovation from check-in to cleaning robots and chatbots, the full potential of intelligent automation has seemed some way off,” reiterated Javed Malik, Group Chief Operations Officer, AirAsia.

“Being able to expand and automate the collection of data across the airport, and then intelligently analyze and interpret it, is one area where operators can derive massive value from AI capabilities. AI uses powerful algorithms that digest large amounts of data and identify patterns. In an airport, these are used to predict how long processing will take by analyzing factors such as queue length, productivity and how many security lanes are open,” added Malik.

Machine learning, a subset of AI, improves how algorithms recognize patterns on their own. It is the foundation of the continual feedback loop, needed to improve outcomes, based on learning from past events. It is also how airports can increase automation for greater efficiency and mitigate the risks inherent in ‘institutional knowledge’ in a significantly smaller workforce, Dorian Reece, Partner, Global Airport Lead, Deloitte Middle East said.

Future OPEX 2021, was driven by Covid and its effects post the period of pandemic. Sessions like, SAP for Cargo, Transportation & Logistics and “The impact of Covid-19 & the Development of ‘New Normal’-Logistic Industry” made speakers think how industry and its aspects will evolve post Covid era. However, the Cargos, transportation and logistics industry stepped up better than ever in such a crisis. They were vital in delivering essential requirements from one country to another whether its vaccines, oxygen containers, ventilators and even rescuing people stranded at one place, far from home.

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