Vinod Bhat, Chief Information Officer, Vistara

The year 2022 saw enterprises pushing the pedal on exploring 5G use cases and devising plans to leverage its potential. During the year, enterprises across sectors deployed new-age technology solutions such as AI/ML, big data, AR/VR, cloud computing and robotics to enhance their productivity as well as business. Vinod Bhat, Chief Information Officer, Vistara, shares his views on the key technology trends, the opportunities opened up by 5G, challenges in digitalisation and the way forward…

How are new-age technologies such as AI/ ML, big data, AR/VR, cloud computing and robotics transforming the enterprise segment and fuelling Industry 4.0? How are you leveraging these solutions?

Travel and hospitality are customer-centric sectors that involve direct engagement with customers, and new-age technologies have a crucial role to play. Big data, analytics and insights, cloud computing, automation, AI, ML, immersive technologies su­ch as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), extended reality (XR) and metaverse, internet of things (IoT) and other evolving technologies are helping airlines deliver an enhanced experience to their cu­stomers. Several touchpoints are now fast becoming touchless or automated, thereby offering a more efficient and swifter travel experience.

The aviation industry stands to benefit immensely from the deeper integration of these technologies and cater to the ever-ev­olving needs of passengers. The data co­llected through these technologies is hel­ping companies curate new solutions that make travel convenient by helping air­lines take proactive decisions to impro­ve safety, efficiency and comfort and manage flight disruptions.

Technology has always been at the core of Vistara’s operations and we have al­ways been at the forefront, adopting cu­tting-edge technologies that improve customer experience, make operations more efficient, cost effective and intelligent, and identify business processes that can fur­ther be automated and connected ac­ross the va­l­ue cha­in. Technologies such as low code/ no code are not only helping in automation but also giving business stakeholders better control and power to be much more productive and effective. Our multicloud architecture proved quite handy during Covid-19, for managing fluctuating business demand and operating costs. We are enhancing our cybersecurity and infrastructure platform towards zero trust network access (ZTNA) and se­cure access service edge (SASE) for better id­entity, access and threat management us­ing extended detection and response (XDR) and security information and event management (SIEM). A few industry-first solutions by Vis­ta­ra include the deployment of RFIDAero­Check technology in partnership with Aerospace Software De­ve­lop­­ment (ASD). RFIDAeroCheck tra­c­ks the presence and expiration of em­ergency equipment on the airline’s entire fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft. We have also announced a partnership with Ul­tramain ELB to introduce e-tech logbook, which will aid our efforts to go paperless in our operations.

Our investments in customer data platform (Customer 360 degree) and analytics are helping us to connect the dots in the cu­stomer value chain and provide more personalised services. The process of integration of these new-age technologies, with a focus on business transformation, is key for digital transformation. Besides, it helps in upskilling our employees for faster adoption of new digital technologies.

Further, we are actively partnering on the DigiYatra programme, initiated by the government, for a complete touchless customer experience using biometrics at airports, where the passenger’s face becomes the boarding pass. Passengers can download the application and use it to experience the new way of travelling.

What opportunities has 5G opened up for enterprises in India? How do you plan to le­verage its potential?

Technologies such as 5G and edge computing have multiple use cases for the travel and hospitality industry. From smart airports to comfortable air travel experiences, 5G can support a large user base. Today, the advancement in technology all­ows passengers to connect to the internet even while flying, and with 5G, connectivity will only improve. 5G will help to process information at the edge (for example, real-time background check of passengers at airports) and it may lead to the decentralisation of cloud technology.

What, according to you, will be the key digital trends that will reshape the enterprise segment in 2023 and beyond?

The aviation sector is transforming in nu­merous ways because of technologies such as IoT sensors that enable ongoing tracking of aircraft systems, the use of block­chain to track customer luggage and frei­ght, enhance passenger identity verificati­on, enable automated payments, and offer loyalty programmes. We feel the following will be the key trends or priorities for 2023 and beyond:

  • Enhancement of cybersecurity frameworks based on XDR, ZTNA and SASE for better identity, access and threat management.
  • Focus on enterprise data strategy and insights using AI/ML for proactive/predictive decision-making will continue.
  • Enhancement of immersive customer experience using AR/VR/XR/metaverse/ChatGPT.
  • Moving from personalisation to hyper-personalisation offerings for customers and employees.
  • Better employee collaboration and productivity tools with inbuilt workflow integration.

These digital trends will play a major role in shaping the future of the enterprise segment and help companies optimise their processes, improve efficiency and re­du­ce costs. Companies that can qui­ckly adopt and leverage these techno­logies will have a competitive advantage in the marketplace. This is expected to lead to more efficient, flexible and res­pon­sive operations, and a more persona­lis­ed customer ex­perience.