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Sustainability through optimising user interactions within the transport domain

03 Aug 2023 by Emma Foster 8 minute read

Welcome Alan Kiernan from Cation Consulting

Alan Kiernan is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and co-founder of Cation Consulting, a Dublin-based global group of specialists in Cloud, conversational AI Bots, and voice. They have extensive experience in the telecoms, finance, insurance, tech, and travel industries. Their mission is to enhance user interactions through the combination of conversational AI, intelligent document processing and call centre intelligence, across multiple channels and languages.


Alan is an AWS certified Solutions Architect, Developer, and Sys Engineer. He is also an AWS subject matter expert and a certified Alexa skill builder. Like Anaeko, Cation Consulting is an AWS partner, assisting customers with cloud migration, modernising data-driven applications, and introducing innovative cloud services.


Alan presented at a recent AWS partner event showcasing one of their transport customer use cases, which left a positive impression on the audience, so we welcomed him to our recent Anaeko event, in partnership with Digital Leaders, to talk about sustainability through optimising user interactions within the transport domain.



Optimising User Interactions within Transport 

Today, I'll be discussing sustainability through optimising user interactions within the transport domain and how we apply this approach to Europe's largest airline, Ryanair. Cation Consulting, is an AWS partner consulting firm specialising in serverless solutions, conversational AI, call centre intelligence, and voice applications. We are Lambda service ready partners and have been recognised by Amazon with their approval for qualified software. Some of our customers include Ryanair, BuzzAir and Lauda Motion in the transport domain, Voice works AI Community Corp in the media domain and 123.ie/RSA and Dolmen Insurance.


Sustainability in Business Operations

Let's delve into the topic of sustainability in business operations. We believe that achieving better environmental performance can be a byproduct of optimising business processes and operations. It's essential to focus on sustainability practices while aiming for lower operating costs and improved efficiency. This way, we can make significant achievements that are environmentally conscious and economically viable.


In business operations, there are two simplified forms of energy at play. The first one is resource energy, which refers to the physical aspects including electricity and the effort put into building, maintaining networks, IT resources, and data centres. This encompasses all the physical expenditures involved. The second form is human energy, which is crucial for efficient operations. By optimising processes, businesses can drive down costs and achieve better resource utilisation.



I am going to focus on the second form of energy, human energy, and when it comes to Transport Logistics, we typically have two different operation centres, though there may be more in some cases. Let's take the example of airlines, which are close to our hearts. Firstly, there's the customer support operation centre, where the public connects with airlines or travel groups to resolve their travel-related inquiries or challenges.


Secondly, there's the less obvious but critical internal operational centre, which is the beating heart of the industry. This centre manages logistics and keeps everything running smoothly. It ensures staff members are scheduled for flights, flights operate on time, baggage is handled properly, and plans are made well in advance. It's what keeps the entire operation moving. To understand the impact of this centre, consider the day the EU grounded all flights due to COVID-19. The massive disruption downstream was felt by the airlines, their customers, and staff. It illustrates how essential and influential these operational centres are in the transport industry.

Ryanair Use Case

Let's look at the example of Ryanair's crew control, which is their internal operation centre where pilots and crew members communicate to resolve issues affecting their working schedules and customer operations. After the pandemic, as life returned to normal and people started travelling again, Ryanair, like every airline faced a challenge with immediate staff onboarding and jumping back to full capacity ASAP, creating a heavy demand on their crew control operators.


To address this challenge, we were tasked with adapting the conversation experience by transforming synchronous phone calls into an asynchronous intelligent case management process. The primary business objectives were to assist crew control personnel by making their jobs easier, faster, and less stressful, providing the high level of crew control service and smooth operations which Ryanair departments are accustomed to.This involved reducing inbound calls to the call centre and utilising data intelligently to automatically prioritise cases.


For instance, cases with immediate impact, such as a person who can’t make their flight schedules or shift that starts in 3 hours, were prioritised over requests for time off. The goal was to automate query resolutions wherever possible and efficiently handle and adapt cases. As part of this process, we aimed to continuously gather actionable and insightful data to improve operations further.


Our efforts yielded impressive results: we reduced call volumes by a staggering 98%. Response times for urgent cases were brought down to 5 minutes. Customer satisfaction significantly improved, with a satisfaction score of 76% based on surveys conducted with Ryanair's 15,000 crew members who use the system. All of these achievements were delivered in an impressive 4 weeks.


As part of the entire ecosystem we built, our staff and stakeholders were dedicated to developing a common understanding of what the endpoint should be. After the initial setup and platform bootstrapping, we continued to deliver features daily. This iterative process allowed us to build a digital testing platform, evaluate interactions, endpoints, and overall business processes. We continually reacted and adapted based on the feedback received during this phase. The success of such projects heavily relies on having dedicated stakeholders. Fortunately, we had a committed team that included designers, engineers, and experts from day one. In an industry as large as airlines, we had support from various teams, working as a multi-agency team, this collaborative effort proved to be effective and led to a successful outcome.


Conversational AI Powered by AWS

Conversational AI plays a vital role in our solution. It's a cutting-edge approach to communicate with users for data collection and immediate business process execution. With Conversational AI powered by AWS, we can create dynamic and structured conversation flows tailored to specific business objectives. This means we can dive deeper into a user's query, understand their needs, and act on specific data points to provide satisfying responses.


Conversational AI ensures a seamless human-to-machine interaction, delivering immediate and personalised responses to meet user needs. In today's world, customers demand seamless and efficient communications. Providing support services across multiple channels has become a necessity, and Conversational AI excels in this area. It operates across various channels and languages, allowing users to access support services conveniently through their preferred channel, be it chat or other means. This flexibility enhances the user experience, leading to greater engagement, loyalty, and overall satisfaction.


AWS Sustainability Pillar

In 2021, AWS introduced its sustainability pillar as part of the Well-Architected Framework. This pillar emphasises a shared responsibility model for sustainability in the cloud. Leveraging Amazon for sustainability across infrastructure and services for sustainability in technology.


As a cloud provider, AWS aims to have a lower carbon footprint and be more energy-efficient compared to traditional on-premise alternatives. They achieve this through heavy investments in efficient power and cooling technology. Cloud workloads benefit from higher utilisation rates and reduced environmental impact, thanks to shared resources like networking, power, cooling, and physical facilities. This optimisation covers everything from the physical infrastructure to networking and software services.


On our part, as a technology provider, we make concerted efforts to focus on energy reduction through the efficient use of all components. This includes using appropriate coding languages, optimising infrastructure utilisation, and implementing coding practices that result in efficient use of services. We ensure that data storage is optimised and that all resources are right-sized to minimise waste and promote sustainability.



Thank you Alan for walking us through that impressive case study. I'm glad to see you mentioning the AWS Well-Architected Framework. On a side note, Anaeko is also providing free AWS Well-Architected reviews.


Interestingly, we're observing in our clients that cost optimisation and performance efficiency have been significant drivers for them. However, what you've demonstrated is that sustainability is not mutually exclusive from these goals. By achieving efficiencies, you can directly impact the bottom line while also delivering sustainable benefits. It's a win-win situation that aligns well with their pillars of interest.

AWS Well-architected review sustainability pillar


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transport data sustainability event

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Topics: Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, data discovery, AWS Partner, transport, AWS, AWS Cost Optimisation

Emma Foster
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Emma Foster


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