Last week, BLOCK71 Jakarta hosted Singapore Airlines (SIA), the world’s leading airline, on their Southeast Asia roadshow to share about the Singapore Airlines AppChallenge 2019. After last year’s great turnout, we hosted SIA for the second time this year; right after an inaugural session in BLOCK71 Bandung the day before. The SIA AppChallenge is a corporate innovation challenge held annually with challenge statements culled from their internal business units, seeking solutions from around the world. Whether you’re a startup, programmer or student, each gets the opportunity to collaborate and co-innovate with SIA in solving their business challenges.
Not only can you win attractive cash prizes of up to SGD12,000, you will also get exclusive mentoring by SIA industry experts, networking opportunities with renowned brands and exposure to the global aviation industry. Solutions with business potential will also be offered a proof of concept collaboration of up to SGD150,000. The AppChallenge is open to two tracks and categories of participants: 1. “Startup & Innovators” tracks (open to startups and innovators at a global scale) and “Singapore Students” tracks (Indonesian students may apply through “Startup & Innovators” track).
Key dates to note for the SIA AppChallenge:
23 August 2019: Submission deadline
2 - 12 September 2019: Semi-finals
18 October 2019: Finals
There are six challenge statements from four categories in this year’s AppChallenge:
- Customer experience: On-Ground
- Customer experience: Passenger Lounge
- Customer experience: Passenger In-Flight
- Travel Ecosystem: KrisShop
- Engineering: Aircraft maintenance
- Sustainability: Resource management
For each of the above, there is a video and info brief detailing what participants need to know. Visit their official website for more.
The event kicked off with Wilson Wong, SIA’s Digital Innovation Lab Business Technologist sharing on the AppChallenge followed by an exciting panel discussion with the Country Head of Zen Rooms (Sam Makhlouf) and Founder of Trabo (Rajeev Verma) on tech in the travel industry.
Wilson explained that the aviation industry is a curated, competitive industry. Big corporations try to meet customer demands for a more personalized, seamless holistic experience from flight search to booking experience. For that reason, SIA works with startups that can share fresh insights in solving their current problems. To improve the customers’ experience, SIA also has a huge team of data scientists working with big data and machine learning, to strategize everything from pricing to simplifying engine operations.
In proportion to the ease of travel, online flight bookings and hotel bookings have both shot through the roof, Sam shared. Traditional hotel businesses often take more time to adjust to the increase in demand as they need to manage land and build rooms to accommodate. Budget hotel chains like Zen Rooms on the other hand, can successfully grow at a much faster rate by onboarding partners to expand their network. Both Sam and Rajeev strongly encouraged everyone to take part in the AppChallenge as it provides the opportunity to be exposed to problems faced by large corporations, like SIA.
The panel also discussed traits and characteristics of individuals they look out for, whether for the AppChallenge or in building lean startup teams. The three key traits are: initiative, grit and fit - fit with the team and product market fit. Something practical for the audience of students and entrepreneurs to take note of! On the topic of travel tech, the audience had to ask the panellists what their favourite travel app is, excluding their respective company’s apps (of course). And surprise, surprise, Zomato, Google Flights and Google Map were the favourites! Google must be proud.
Do you have a solution or idea that solves any of the six challenge statements, or enhance a traveler’s experience? Submit your ideas before August, 23rd!