Under the title “blueprint” we would like to introduce concepts for IT or applications in aviation. The whole thing is a mind game and aims to stimulate debate.
We start this series with a blueprint on social networking of passengers during a flight.
While Digital Natives are taking their seat in the cabin
I would describe myself as quite Digital Native. I think it’s wonderful how the Internet brings together the people of this world. How easy communication has become. How easy is it, now retrieve information about all aspects of life on the web.
Still, I love to travel. Mostly these are business trips to other continents and countries. The Internet allows me to stay here in my “global village” but to take my social network on the trip. Only as long as I’m sitting in an airplane, I have to leave the “global village”. Without not be alone, because I have other passengers started this journey for hours. We all form a “social network for time” : From row one to 38.
While I am commencing a tedious conversation with my “seatmate”, perhaps another guy is sitting at # 23 Delta, who shares my preferences for running. By the way, he knows a great running route through a park northwest of Kuala Lumpur.
Jakob from row 38 is bored: “Is there someone who has the desire for a chess match?” 12 Alpha is a specialist in SAP investment controlling, he works for the XY Airways: There was this problem the other day at our airport … ! 17 Bravo would like to know what current events will soon take place in the Malaysian capital. At home for the research simply was no more time. At the end of the flight the same three people in the industry operate find themselves linked in their social network.
Utopia? No, the tools, like Facebook, for example, already exist. Complex and expensive are the connections to the Internet and the airplane’s internal wireless networking, or provide these tools in the in-flight entertainment equipment. First carriers started already to make “Social Inflight Networking” real like Shashank Nigam (Simpliflying) has demonstrated “@ 35,000ft”. GogoInflight is one of the providers, who has helped airlines like Air Canada, Virgin America or Delta to improve their services.
So the technology is somehow available, but what is about the applications and the use cases?
One could imagine the airline creates a group for the respective flight (eg, XY 123, FRA – KUL, Sept. 9, 2010) in Facebook. Each passenger can connect with this group and leave his comments on the “wall”: “The Tuscany pasta was great, plus smooth Chianti. Make my day.” Anyone who wants can also send his message via “Share with Twitter ” to his followers in the “global village”.
On top one can add new connections with other passengers as followers or “friends” in Twitter, Facebook, Xing and so on.
Imagine the marketing response for the airline
In the “info” tab the airline can leave information about the onboard meals, services, shopping offers, descriptions for filling out the immigration form and so on.
Homeward travelers can leave their digital photos in the “media gallery”. In the end, virtually all the seats move closer together without having met the knees. On the right side might be enough space for advertising or third party information.
On another occasion, digital natives appreciate to tell “on air” about an event and to exchange their comments. The inflight experience is still largely taboo: Make it virtually to share with others. The technologies of the “social networks” can take the today’s hurdles.
Picture credits: Blueprint of “inflightbook” © Sven Solterbeck, 2010.