Thought Leadership

AI And Travel Safety

by James Barton / October 19, 2017

You hear a lot of talk about whether the future of Travel Safety is mobile. Now I believe that statement to be incorrect. And the reason is that mobile is here now. It’s not something for the future, it’s something that we should be looking at immediately. 90% of the travellers that we talk to already have smartphones. So we should be making sure that our products are ready for mobiles, today. However, what is the future of Travel Safety? I would argue that actually, the future is Artificial Intelligence, or AI.


What Is AI?

So what is it? What is AI? Artificial Intelligence is something that’s been around since the very beginning of computing, but it really came to the fore when IBM built Deep Blue. In 1996, Deep Blue managed to beat the grand chess master at a game of chess. That then started a wave of interest about how we can use artificial intelligence to drive everyday tasks.

When Deep Blue was around, it cost $100m to make, and was the size of a large car. Now clearly, that’s not mainstream. But recently, advances in computing and the ability to get services on demand has brought artificial intelligence right into our hands. Now on our mobile phones, if you have an iPhone, you will have something called Siri. Siri is a level of artificial intelligence. If you look at what Amazon bought out with Alexa, again, this is artificial intelligence.

Gartner reckon that by the end of 2018, 20% of all business content will be created by artificial intelligence. 20%, that’s a huge number, and it’s going to have a massive impact on business
processes around the world. But what has it got to do with Travel Safety? How can we leverage artifice intelligence to help people stay safe? I will give you three examples.


Using AI With Chatbots

The first one would be around a chatbot. This is something we are really excited to be developing here at eTravelSafety. This chatbot will allow our travellers to communicate with us in real time, and ask us questions like “Is it safe to travel?” or “What do I need to do about this visa?” The chatbot will be able to understand the intent behind the question, and respond directly back to you, enabling you to get critical safety information about your journey, in real time, no longer having to wait for your security manger to come back to you.


Using AI With Smart Risk Assessments

Secondly, smart risk assessments. If you look at a risk assessment now, what normally happens is that someone will do a risk assessment based upon the country that you’re going to. But how does that impact you? I know for myself that I have a completely different risk profile than someone like Stuart, whose background is in Travel Safety. I don’t have the experience, I don’t have the training, so how could it be different? With artificial intelligence we can ask some really sensible questions that will, through some clever algorithms and some great data, enable us to create risk assessments that are specific to the individual, and therefore making them even safer than they were before.


Using AI To Go Hyper-Local

Finally, we can talk about something called hyper-local. Hyper-local is really exciting technology which will allow us to take a risk, let’s say an incident inside a city, then map out its impact within 3 square metres. Then we’ll be able to suggest routes, directions and advice based around specific information. No longer will you get an alert that isn’t relevant to you.

For me, if you’re not thinking about AI as part of your Travel Safety strategy, you need to start to think about it. 

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James Barton

James Barton

With over 20 years of experience in technology and sales, James is one of the leading voices in leveraging technology to create effective solutions.