The past 3 days, which I spent in Malaysia, allowed me to cover (and witness) just how involved AirAsia is in supporting new innovations and great ideas through their inaugural regional hackathon called, AIRVOLUTION 2017.
During my visit to AirAsia’s breathtaking headquarters named, RedQ, which also happens to be one of the coolest office spaces in Malaysia (and the world, in my opinion) and the venue for this most anticipated event, I was blown away by how well attended AIRVOLUTION 2017 was.
Before the event started, I had the opportunity to briefly tour AirAsia’s RedQ and be amazed by this unbelievable work space. I even got to see the MANILA ROOM — a Manila-themed hanging conference room which even features a colorful Pinoy Jeepney mural on the wall (reckless jeepney driver not included… LOL!), located on the 5th floor of RedQ.
I was even able to visit the Innovation Lab where AirAsia develops new products and showcases their latest technological services.
Shortly after this tour, it was time to head down to witness the opening of AIRVOLUTION 2017.
Hello, AirAsia AIRVOLUTION 2017!
AIRVOLUTION 2017 aims to spearhead innovation in the Asean region and to discover and cultivate talent from different parts of the world. Through this competition, AirAsia also aims to come up with new innovations and implement ideas to further improve its low-cost services.
Up to about 100 talented individuals, formed into 20 teams, have converged in this place to participate on-site for an 18-hour event (March 18-19), competing for incredible prizes by creating new products or solutions.
These ideas would have to be presented to a panel of judges comprised of notable individuals such as AirAsia Chief Data and Digital Officer Nikunj Shanti, AirAsia Group Chief Information Office Declan Hogan, AirAsia Head of Development Su Yu Min, AirAsia Head of Product Management Robin Low, C-ASEAN Thailand Managing Director Dr Karndee Leopairote and LINE Thailand Head of Strategy and New Services Kawin Tangudtaisak, among others.
AirAsia Group CEO, Tony Fernandes, arrived early to do a fun Facebook Live video which you can watch below…
Curious to know what the winning team of AIRVOLUTION 2017 will be getting? Check it out…
- RM25,000.00 (equivalent to about Php 283,000.00)
- 100,000 AirAsia BIG Points
- Return flights to any AirAsia destination.
Pretty awesome, if you ask me!
AirAsia presented 3 possible challenges for the participants from which ONLY ONE will be announced during the event itself. These challenges are…
- How do you profile AirAsia fans based on their digital social footprints to improve customer experience?
- How do you reduce guests’ waiting times at the airport, from check-in to boarding?
- How do you offer AirAsia guests the best flights and tours at lowest prices, as well as the best itineraries?
Day one opened with much fanfare and festivity to the delight of guests and participants alike.
AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes kicked off AIRVOLUTION 2017 with a fun and rousing welcome message to everyone in attendance, as well as expressing his desire to continue supporting people with great ideas but lack the needed funding.
Tony Fernandes also said that AIRVOLUTION 2017 allows them to bring AirAsia to the connected generation and help the company come up with new talents and creative solutions that will help improve the airline industry.
Competing teams coming from all parts of the world such as Australia, India, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Kazakstan and, yes, even the Philippines (two teams actually!) were introduced on stage. I was a bit surprised to find out that most of these guys are actually very young! Wow.
After much anticipation and suspense during the event, it was finally announced that the selected challenge for AIRVOLUTION 2017 would be:
“How do you profile AirAsia fans based on their digital social footprints to improve customer experience?”
As soon as the go signal was given, teams immediately put on their thinking hats and got down to business.
Some of them huddled together in different tables, while some preferred the enclosed areas.
Others opted for a more relaxed setting with beanbags and throw pillows at the center of RedQ.
For 18-hours, teams worked tirelessly, hacking away and coming up with fresh ideas and innovative solutions aimed on addressing the challenge.
During the hackathon, hackers were assisted by mentors from AirAsia’s ICT department, as well as ServisHero Business Development Head Suresh Tan, MDEC Stakeholder Engagement and Partnership Programmes Head Azreena Azizan and Telekom Malaysia Innovation Lead Maznuddin Zainuddin, Innovation Lead.
During the entire course of the event, participants were provided unlimited food and drinks from RedQ’s cafeteria, salad bar and cafe. To keep everyone energized for the long night ahead of them, an overflowing supply of ice cold Red Bull was always within reach.
Teams were also supplied with airbeds for those needing to have a quick nap.
I also had the pleasure to meet our Philippine teams — Team Swoosh Swoosh and Team Algorithm respectively.
Both Philippine teams were just so thankful to be a part of AIRVOLUTION 2017 and to be able to show AirAsia what they can offer. Of course, winning and bagging the wonderful prizes that come with it is everyone’s objective, but more than the title, the honor and opportunity to be able to compete at this level and be included in the competition is more than enough recognition for them already.
After an intense 18-hour hackathon which lasted all through the night, it was time for teams to present their concepts and demonstrate prototypes of their ideas. Each team were given 8 minutes (6 minutes demo + 2 minutes Q&A) on-stage to showcase their product.
Some of the innovative ideas that were presented on-stage were chatbots, finding your ideal travel partner, a system that gathers complaints from all social media platforms and categorizing them, personalizing each customer’s flying experience by knowing their preferences by harvesting data on their respective social media accounts, and so much more.
After over 2 hours of presentation, judges were given enough time to deliberate and pick a winner based on the following criteria:
- Impact: How would the project benefit the target audience?
- Creativity: Ingenious solutions and original ideas, no matter how big or small.
- Design: A well thought-out blueprint and crash proof, front-end layout and UI/UX.
- Execution: The solution should have a clear timeline and effective results from start till finish.
Team Aviato wins first ever AirAsia AIRVOLUTION 2017
After the hackathon dust has settled, Team Aviato from Singapore came out victorious and were crowned winners of the first ever AIRVOLUTION 2017.
Team Aviato’s proposal allowed them to piece together a real-time user profile from Instagram pictures and likes, making it possible for more targeted offers of AirAsia destinations and food that reflected user interests.
For their winning effort, Team Aviato was awarded the grand prize of RM25,000 cash, 100,000 AirAsia BIG Points and five return flights to any AirAsia destination.
AirAsia BIG is AirAsia’s loyalty program where members earn BIG Points from AirAsia, Tune Hotels, Tune Talk and more than 100 other partners worldwide. BIG members can redeem free AirAsia flights for as little as 500 BIG Points during AirAsia’s BIG monthly Final Call sale, as well as free Tune Hotel stays.
AirAsia Chief Data and Digital Officer Nikunj Shanti said, “We were really impressed by the creative problem-solving and technical knowledge on display this weekend. The teams demonstrated some truly out-of-the-box thinking and we look forward to seeing more innovative ideas on how to make travel even better for our guests.”
Congratulations to Team Aviato and everyone who participated on the first ever AirAsia AIRVOLUTION 2017.
AirAsia AIRVOLUTION 2017 has proven to be not only a huge success, but a much needed platform for aspiring individuals with enormous talent and technological know-how. May this be the first of many more AIRVOLUTION hackathons in the future.
Kudos to AirAsia for their relentless pursuit of excellence, convenience and putting customers’ interests first before income.
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