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Limitless possibilities, Clarity disrupts ITM

Clarity disrupts ITM, Darren ITM Conference

Picture the scene. You have an early flight from Manchester Airport to Inverness. Normally, you would get a train from Hazel Grove station to Manchester Airport, but the train isn’t running from Hazel Grove at that time. You spend the next hour working travel equations like a mathematician on steroids. 


Do you drive to the airport and swallow the cost of parking? Probably not, as to reach that number you’ll need to re-mortgage the house. Do you get a taxi? Play the rail version of Frogger, hopping from one line to the next in hope of reaching the airport in time? How much is this going to cost? Think of the hassle of booking multiple tickets and then claiming the expenses on top of that!


Why can’t someone just do this for you? 

Maybe they can…


This past week, hundreds converged on Aviemore, Inverness to attend the annual ITM Conference, a highlight in the calendar of many travel buyers and suppliers. The two-day event invites experts from all areas of travel to take part in keynotes, panels and breakout sessions aimed at sharing their wealth of insight and knowledge with an industry thirsting for both. 


Key benefits of the conference are four-fold;


·       Educate

·       Inform

·       Connect

·       Be Inspired


And that is exactly what Clarity hoped to achieve when their head of MI, Darren Williams took to the stage to participate in an ITM Techsplains It All panel on AI and Robotics. 


Moderated by Louise Kilgannon (Festive Road), Darren was joined on the panel by Ian Spearing (EY) and Ellen Trotochaud (SAP Concur) to discuss the impact robotics and AI play in travel programmes. 


Whether it’s Alexa in your home or a chatbot on a website, most of us have probably had some level of engagement with robotics in modern times, but how can companies utilise this alongside AI to make the life of a traveller better?. 


Darren explains “Planning the journey is never as simple as it seems, taking into account all aspects of multimodal travel to get from point A to point B. A big part of our mind frame at Clarity is marginal gains, working out the cost savings between driving, parking costs and mileage expense claims vs finding the best train route that can take account of my season pass while getting me to the airport on time. Whilst we currently do this via our travel consultants , it got me thinking, why can’t this be done automatically for me? 


He muses:


“The thought of asking my smartphone to provide me with a number of options with costs sounds like the kind of future we envisioned with Doc and Marty McFly, but the reality is that we are only 12-18 months away from that becoming a reality.”


Clearly, this timeframe wasn’t agreed upon by the panel, with EY’s Ian Spearing, countering that he believed the timeframe to be closer to 3/5 years. But that’s the best part about a future that is still to be written. Technology is moving at such a rapid pace that the only limit, is the imagination of developers. 


So, how is Clarity planning to change the game when it comes to robotics and AI? 


“AI is about learning. By taking information that already exists, collating, packaging and presenting it in a way that fits the profile of the individual we are building processes that work on a much more personal level.


Williams adds:


“Whether that’s learning your preferred route to a location, understanding your purchasing habits en route to ensure your coffee is ordered and prepared, or simply advising you of a delay ahead and suggesting an alternate route without you needing to think about it, the possibilities are limited only by our imagination.”