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BA iPad trial off to flying start

Posted by Phil Stewart on 20th September 2011

Filed under IT Trends

BA planeIn a bid to reduce paper consumption and improve customer services, British Airways recently announced that it’s going to trial replacing paper flight manifests with iPads. It’s a move that could replace reams and reams of paper on flights, whilst revolutionising customer service in the skies.

With iPads in hand, cabin crew could potentially access all sorts of customer information, such as seating plans, dietary requirements and flight history, as well as granting quick access to safety manuals, timetables and customer service updates.

BA’s move reflects the ongoing trend for consumer gadgets to be used in the workplace, with tablets being used for everything from taking minutes in meetings to sharing presentations. However, a common area of concern for all consumer devices is data security - these gadgets were not necessarily designed with business needs at their heart and that needs to be kept in mind.

BA will need to be extra careful about how it transfers data across to staff iPads. It will be essential to have the tablets equipped for highly secure access to its network – especially if customer information will be transmitted wirelessly to the device. Such a large treasure trove of data could make a tempting target for unsavoury characters.

In any case, it’s another sign of our increasingly connected way of life – and I predict that we will see more and more companies using technology as way of innovating with customer service in the flesh. It’s a trend that will only be accelerated by advances in mobile internet that make it easier and faster to access files and data.

With some airlines starting to rollout in-air broadband, as Mark blogged about recently, it’s easy to see how tablets could become almost essential tools for the cabin crew, giving them access to all of the information they could possibly need during a flight. I’m convinced we’ll see more of this in the coming years - you could say that the sky’s the limit for this particular trend.

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