Analysts tell us the number of people using smartphones, already over two billion, is expected to double over the next five years. What's more interesting is the length of time people spend using these devices each day, which depending on country and age group can range from one to over four hours.
Hard to believe? Not really when you consider our reliance on apps for email, social networking and communications. Add in apps from banks, passenger airlines and other mainstream B2B and B2C providers we all use regularly, plus news, media and entertainment.
In comparison there are relatively few smartphone apps on the business end of air cargo to initiate and track shipments, aside from those offered by a few post and parcel operators. Fortunately for air cargo users, this space is starting to get some attention.
Aviation is a high tech industry employing more than our share of rocket scientists and the physical side of air cargo shares this heritage. Automation for handling, safety, security, and back-office optimization is fairly robust. Why then do we lag so far behind on the commercial front-line at the intersection between shippers, forwarders and airlines?
Are we held back by the same systems and private network providers which decades ago enabled growth and interoperability but today siphon off our innovation dollars by still charging by the character to transmit short text messages representing bookings, air waybills, and related transactions? When can we expect the mobile revolution to impact air cargo and how will it affect us when comes?
One thing B2C and other B2B sectors have in common is their adoption of cloud-based systems and free, ubiquitous internet communications. Should our path forward be similar?
These questions and many more will be discussed at the Air Cargo Forum in Paris on October 26, 2016. A panel discussion on Embracing the Cloud will explore this trend and its impacts on security, productivity, costs and innovation.
Looking forward to seeing you in Paris.
TIACA Board Member
Managing Director, Worldwide Information Network