Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 9 October 2018

Our weekly bulletin on the latest developments in media and technology around the world, as published every Tuesday morning at 06:00 BST.

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Hangar 51
Hangar 51 (Image Credit: International Airlines Group)

Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin featuring the latest developments on media and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 06:00 BST.

IAG selects next start-ups to join Hangar 51

For the past three years IAG has been running a start-up accelerator programme known as “Hangar 51”.

Start-ups are invited to pitch new applications and products across all aspect of airline and airport operations from cargo to frequent flyer programmes.

IAG has revealed the ten finalists for this year. They will all spend ten weeks at IAG working with senior management to test and develop their projects. A demonstration day will be held on 14 December 2018 and a select number will receive a financial investment from IAG.

Here are the ten finalists:

1. 30K is a US start-up which provides an application programming interface (API) that populates flight search results detailing the fare’s mileage earning and frequent flyer benefits.

2. Assaia is a Swiss start-up which feeds airport ramp video footage into the airlines’ networks to set up more efficient aircraft turnarounds.

3. Biobeat is an Israeli start-up which has developed a wearable medical monitoring device suitable for cabin crew, pilots and travellers.

4. Emu Analytics creates real-time analytics and data to track cargo and baggage containers.

5. LuckyTrip is an app which uses artificial intelligence for passengers to find unique trips with one tap. Users set their budget, tap the “Lucky” button and instantly see a trip to hundreds of destinations in Europe.

6. Mobilus Labs offers a wearable voice communications platform which enables teams to connect from various environments.

7. SATAVIA provides airlines with decision making intelligence. It uses satellite earth observation data, numerical weather prediction and aircraft tracking to optimise maintenance and flight operations.

8. Signol develops software which focuses on fuel efficiency by analysing operational data and provides feedback to pilots to help reduce CO2 emissions.

9. Skylights has developed a Virtual Reality headset that enables passengers to watch in-flight entertainment in 2D, 3D and 180°.

10. Soter Analytics specialises in wearable health devices for airport ramp staff to prevent physical injuries in workplaces.

Ironically, the pitch day was held on the same day that BA announced that customer data had been stolen from its website!

Facebook Launches Portal

Facebook has joined Amazon and Google in launching devices for the home.

It has launched a combined hands-free smart speaker and video calling device known as Portal.

The camera has the ability to automatically track your movements so you can move freely around a room when participating in video calls. Given recent controversies, Facebook is at pains to emphasise privacy and security features such as the ability to disable its built-in camera and microphone.

At present the Portal is only available for pre-order in the US priced at $199 and $349 for the larger Portal+. (Facebook)

Made By Google Launch Event

On a related note, Google is holding its “Made By Google” product launch event today at 11:00 EDT / 16:00 BST.

Google is expected to reveal updates to its Pixel smartphone and Google Home smart speakers. The event will be streamlined live on Google’s YouTube channel.

Also of note this week:

Apple Music poaches BBC Radio 1 & 1Xtra’s Charlie Sloth, three years after it poached Zane Lowe to launch its radio station Beats 1. (Music Business Worldwide)

The Economist’s Gulliver does not like the BA website. (The Economist)

The Financial Times interviews Sony Chief Executive Kenichiro Yoshida, tasked with recapturing the company’s spirit of innovation. (Financial Times)

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