Nand Kishor is the Product Manager of House of Bots. After finishing his studies in computer science, he ideated & re-launched Real Estate Business Intelligence Tool, where he created one of the leading Business Intelligence Tool for property price analysis in 2012. He also writes, research and sharing knowledge about Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Data Science, Big Data, Python Language etc... ...Full Bio
Nand Kishor is the Product Manager of House of Bots. After finishing his studies in computer science, he ideated & re-launched Real Estate Business Intelligence Tool, where he created one of the leading Business Intelligence Tool for property price analysis in 2012. He also writes, research and sharing knowledge about Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Data Science, Big Data, Python Language etc...
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At the recent MarketHub Americas 2017 conference, Sam Turner, sales director at Hotelbeds Group, spoke about the growing role technology - and particularly data - will play in the future of travel. I caught up with him following the conference about the travel industry's biggest challenges in 2018 and beyond.
In your keynote, you spoke a lot about the importance of data and how the hotel industry is slowly learning to use data to its advantage. I'm wondering if you can break that down a little bit - why is data so crucial to the travel industry? And you mentioned something about 40 zettabytes of data by 2020 - how will it be possible for the travel industry to not just sort through this data, but quickly and efficiently isolate and utilize only the most relevant information?
Data itself doesn't have any value, it's what you do with it that matters. Looking to the future, the companies who will be able to efficiently process and analyze data to drive real insights that create real added economic value will place a significant gap between themselves and their competitors.
No company is lacking for data, so much so that only around 5% of all data in the world is ever processed for analysis - representing a big challenge, but potentially an even bigger opportunity for the travel industry. Having clean data - data that is accurate, collated, quantitatively measurable, and easily analysed - is half the battle. What is the answer? Already, artificial intelligence (AI) is starting to fulfill this task and will play a key role going forwards, making sense of all this data. AI will help us find useful and applicable patterns that humans alone could never have the time to do, even with computer assistance - in this way we might come closer to analyzing 100% of available data.
This will be particularly productive in one area: voice search. When you do a normal screen based search, a whole screen (or much more!) of information comes up - but on a voice based search there isn't time for Siri, Echo or Home to read out the whole page. A much more personalized response is required to give you the most relevant information only, and nothing more, otherwise it simply doesn't work. This is where the combination of data analysis and AI come into their own - scanning millions of options and possibilities to provide you with just the information you need or want, in milliseconds.
We're seeing big disruptions in the hotel and travel market - especially from companies like Airbnb, TripAdvisor, SkyScanner and so on. People increasingly want to eliminate the once-convoluted process of booking travel and easily comparing prices. There's increased customer autonomy and demand. What impact is this having on the hotel industry? You mentioned in your keynote that this has led to fragmentation - how so? And how must the industry change to adapt to this new market?
Naturally, people wish to compare prices to get the best deal and modern technology now allows us to do so in ways that would have been impossible - unthinkable even - only 20 years ago. Metasearch engines such as Skyscanner and Kayak have been around for some time now, responding to that consumer need, and have disrupted the market to drive transparency - providing consumers with greater choice, certainty, and value for money. This has developed into many of the meta players developing booking capability within the site (Tripadvisor, Google, Kayak, Hipmunk and others) to drive conversion and allow their partners to invest further. In fact, the top 3 OTAs (Priceline Group, Expedia & Ctrip) have also acquired metasearch sites so you could say these models are becoming a bit blurry now.
You mentioned Chinese company Ctrip in your keynote - are we not paying enough attention to the Chinese market? Should we be? What does the rapid growth of a company like Ctrip demonstrate about the evolution of travel consumers? How should the industry respond, ideally?