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Elevating the User Experience with Thales’ New In-Flight Digital Assistant

Airlines are looking for new technologies and turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to support and personalize service for their passengers. Consumers expect quick responses and instant access to easy-to-use self-service options from the companies they trust. Airlines can enhance customer satisfaction through AI advancements designed to help passengers get the real-time updates and information they need.

With a clear focus on transformative technologies, Thales is at the forefront of digital innovations to support airlines and offer solutions to make the passenger experience more personalized, unique and memorable.

As part of its open innovation strategy, Thales launched an Artificial Intelligence-enabled startup acceleration program called AI@Centech. This 6-month Montreal-based program led to fruitful collaboration with ICM Hub, a U.S. conversational AI startup, which allows Thales to directly integrate chatbot capabilities into its In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) systems. By investing in this technology, Thales creates added benefits for passengers and airlines through immediate communications and seamless navigation of IFE content.


Thales’ Digital Travel Assistant

Thales’ digital travel assistant will accompany the passenger from takeoff to landing with two-way communications. Capabilities will include immediate assistance at a quicker rate than any other digital assistant available on the market. Passengers will receive instant answers to questions such as, “Can I view a map?” “When do we land?” “Can I have a meal?” “When will we take off?” “Can I have a blanket?”

The chatbot will seamlessly integrate into in-seat displays and be accessible through voice or text command capabilities providing interactivity in a traditionally passive cabin environment. By automating routine tasks and improving IFE efficiency, Thales’ digital travel assistant will enable airlines to elevate their brands by using direct feedback from passenger questions to make improvements to their service and offerings. This will enhance the passenger experience, creating lasting impact that reaches far beyond the cabin environment.


The Future of Connected IFE

Studies show that in an effort to meet growing passenger demands for digital self-service, 68 percent of airlines will adopt AI-driven chatbot services by 2020. However, not all chatbots are created equal.
Through an assisted-learning AI model, Thales’ chatbot will be backed by ICM Hub’s most specialized Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the airline industry, specifically trained with pre and post-flight queries, building on a rich and robust data foundation key to effective conversational AI. The chatbot continuously learns and enhances its AI models as passengers introduce new data through their inquiries and a team of data scientists will monitor and optimize the chatbot’s natural language understanding and functionalities for successful human interaction at all passenger touchpoints.

In addition to streamlining the interaction with the IFE, the chatbot will have the capability to connect to an airline’s meal service, shopping marketplace, and other purchasing opportunities to improve passenger service and enhance ancillary revenue. Airlines will have the ability to push notifications directly to passengers such as, “We noticed you missed your meal, would you like us to bring it to you now?”

Thales’ chatbot service solution will help passengers effortlessly find the content they need within their IFE system. They will have the ability to locate games, music, and navigational tools through simple one-step text or voice commands empowering airlines to captivate their passengers with an intuitive and engaging experience.

Thales’ digital travel assistant will be trained to expand on its capabilities and could potentially reach passengers before and after their journeys, creating memorable experiences long before and after they board their flight.