We are one of the few airlines in the world to have 100% cloud-based IT infrastructure: Vinod Bhat, CIO, Vistara
Vistara has been at the forefront of embracing new technologies since its inception and is constantly investing in cutting-edge tech to provide seamless and hassle-free experience to its customers. Vinod Bhat, Chief Information Officer, Vistara shares that the airline continues to focus on driving and adopting technological innovations to enhance customer journey and to build efficiency in the processes
What are some key technology initiatives that enable seamless and hassle-free experiences for Vistara customers? How have your cloud-based IT Operation Management systems been of critical importance during the pandemic times?
At Vistara, we have been constantly investing in new age digital technologies for better customer experience. We have been at the forefront of technology adoption since inception and continue to look for opportunities to deliver consistent enhanced experience across multiple channels e.g. web/mobile/conversational commerce, airports, call centers, chatbots, etc. and transform the way our customers travel. In fact, we were the first Indian airline to have introduced paperless/touchless boarding at a few Indian airports more than two years ago.
The pandemic fast-tracked our digital transformation journey. We introduced several tech-enabled processes to minimise physical contact between customers and staff. Casting of kiosk screens on passenger mobile, Scan-N-Fly, self-tagging, self-baggage drop, self-boarding, e-gates, e-boarding passes, and bag tags are all touchless solutions that have been helpful in making air travel safer and getting passengers to repose their trust in flying. We are also working closely with the government on the DigiYatra program, which is based on biometrics and customers can register for it. Once registered, customers will be able to experience the next level of touchless travel, wherein face will be the boarding pass. Travel will become a seamless process, right from the moment customer reaches the airport to boarding the flight.
Vistara has also embarked on ‘Data-First, Digital-First’ strategy for digitization and digitalization across the value chain. To ensure seamless customer experience and operations, we heavily rely on AI/ML based data analytics and insights technologies for a multitude of processes – website/mobile application, passenger marketing campaigns, route/revenue KPIs and predictive maintenance. Targeted segment customer strategy provides an impeccable experience to our passengers through personalised content that caters to their specific needs.
We are one of the few airlines in the world to have 100% cloud-based IT infrastructure that helps create better resilience and adaptability in aviation. This makes things a lot more efficient and easier, helping us optimise our costs, deploy seamless operations, and make the organisation dynamically scalable, which is even more essential in times of crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic.
Please tell us how your focus on investing in cutting-edge technologies has ensured the airline’s operational efficiency.
One of the key priorities of Vistara is to bring high operational efficiency. For this we identify business processes, that are good candidates for Automation and LowCodeNoCode kind of technologies. Vistara has invested in self-service technologies, to give better control in the hands of customers and employees to improve operational efficiency and increase cost optimisation.
We continue to focus on driving and adopting technological innovations to enhance customer journey and to build efficiency in the processes. Having invested in developing digital infrastructure from the very beginning including cloud, Big Data, Analytics AI and ML, RFID our Digital Center of Excellence (DCoE) focuses on developing solutions for key business problems, by staying abreast with the technological changes happening in the industry.
We have integrated several technological solutions to improve operational efficiency, for example, our dynamic scale-as-needed cloud model has helped improve infrastructure resilience, adaptability and cost optimisation. Departments like Engineering, Flight Operations, Ground Services and Safety have seen a lot of automation of data exchange between aircraft and IT systems, enhanced analytics for real-time decision-making regarding safety and MRO maintenance, technical monitoring of operations for better disruption management of flights and much more.
In partnership with Aerospace Software Development (ASD), we became the first scheduled Indian airline to deploy RFIDAeroCheck technology as part of our commitment to maintaining highest safety standards. ASD’s RFIDAeroCheck tracks the presence and expiration of emergency equipment on airline’s entire fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft.
You will soon be the first Indian airline to go paperless and introduce e-tech logbook … what are the benefits of this solution?
An e-tech logbook solution will aid our efforts to go paperless in our operations, which is a step further in ensuring our operations are as environment-friendly and sustainable as possible apart from also being more efficient.
We have appointed ULTRAMAIN ELB that will enable accurate, real-time global operational visibility of the entire Vistara fleet for efficient maintenance, higher dispatch reliability, and increased aircraft utilization. Currently in the airborne proving stage, implementing e-tech logbook will fully replace aircraft paper technical log, cabin log, journey log, damage log, and fueling log providing a validated electronic Certificate of Release to Service (e-CRS) on flights operated by Vistara. This application will be used by flight crew, cabin crew, and engineers on iOS devices to provide integrated workflows with Vistara’s maintenance and operational systems.
How can airlines effectively use emerging technologies like IoT and AI?
New age technologies like automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), robotics, cloud, IoT, big data and analytics that help make sense of data can streamline and automate many processes and tasks for an airline.
By analysing data trends, AI and big data help airlines take quick proactive decisions related to flight planning, flight operations, ground services, customer engagement, aircraft engineering, safety and so on. These tools have been key in helping airlines optimise operations, implement social distancing measures, improve revenue, take data-driven and data-informed decisions, while staying ahead in the game.
On top of it, technologies like 5G and Edge computing, have multiple use cases for aviation for customer experience, security, business decisioning.
Any other important factor you wish to highlight?
Apart from cloud infrastructure, Vistara is further enhancing its digital investments in cyber, data and information security infrastructure. It includes tools in XDR, SIEM, SOAR, PAM, IGL and other process and technology areas.