Big Interview: Why Collinson’s quest for a connected travel ecosystem has led to digital twin exploration

Big Interview: Why Collinson’s quest for a connected travel ecosystem has led to digital twin exploration

Collinson has been at the helm of innovation within the travel industry for over 30 years and has since bolstered its position with the hire of chief product and innovation officer, Mo Shakarchi, 18 months ago. We sat down with him to understand the value need for this type of tech

In its quest to create the world’s most valued travel ecosystem, Collinson wants to eradicate the fragmented nature of both digital and physical realms.

A disjointed physical experience with a “disconnected and fragmented” digital experience creates the “perfect storm for a bad customer experience”.

A potential tonic to this issue? A digital travel twin.

“The digital twin in a web 3.0 world starts to create a more curated experience for that customer, and it starts to empower them through their journeys.”

It’s a new concept for the consumer, as previously it has only been used to replicate physical infrastructure, like its use case in manufacturing as part of Industry 4.0. 

The reason for it gaining popularity and exposure now is because, as a society, we’re creating a greater digital footprint online than ever before which allows us to potentially create a digital twin version of the traveller. 

A travel twin will mean travellers have a “proactively better experience” and you can go on to plug the whole ecosystem into it. 

“If a company knows that I’m travelling to a particular airport in a particular manner, they can provide me with the best experience at the airport but also create a value exchange.

We create a higher value exchange at the airports, the companies that operate in the airports and for our wider customer base within Collinson.

“This is where you start to create a better view of the online-offline interactions and start to bridge the gap between the digital and physical experience.”

Collinson is exploring its own digital twin and has already got the data foundations in place for it. 

The team has done some very early work in its alpha release, as well as the core intellectual property that it is trying to build into the experiences and products. 

While there are no predictions for when the technology will land, the team presents regular demos to Shakarchi on this and many other exciting new innovations, who says the pace they are moving at is “encouraging”. 

To realise its vision,  through its  strategic investment arm of the business, Collinson is continually looking to identify “high growth start-up companies that are looking at something similar , so we can accelerate the value for the consumer and, ultimately, for our customers as well.”

“This takes our innovation ambition to the next level,” as once a company has a proof of concept and proof of value that Collinson can scale, that’s when they’ll work with them and say “great, let’s get after this and really accelerate it for the industry”.

Collinson will ensure it can compute power in a more sustainable way, as well as having the right data in a “compliant and ethical way”, alongside the ability to understand the foundations of the journeys it wants to enhance.

Though it’s early doors for computation sustainability, Collinson is working with its tech providers to find the optimal version of compute power through experimentation.

You can read Mo's full interview in our 2023 Innovation Report, here.