Monday, 21 November 2016

Dublin Couple Wins Top Prize at Travel and Technology Conference

A model that analyses the profile of passengers to predict when they will arrive at Dublin airport security ahead of their flight has won the top prize at‘Travel Meets Big Data’, Ireland’s first travel industry focused hackathon and conference that took place in Dublin this weekend.

Barry Scott and Caroline Kirrane, a married couple from Dublin, take part in hackathons for fun. Barry is a trader and Caroline is an adjunct lecturer in Finance at Trinity College Dublin.

The conference brought together 200 software developers, data scientists, business developers and marketers to analyse large sets of data or ‘Big Data’ to reveal trends and patterns relating to human behaviour and interactions to build commercially viable products and services.

Conference sponsors, Dublin Airport and Hostelworld challenged participants to build an efficient security screening system for Dublin Airport and a recommendation engine for users for Hostelworld.

Speaking at the event, Silviu Preoteasa, CEO of BUILD Challenge said: “The travel industry is facing increasing challenges in an age where customers are taking ownership of their travel plans. The industry needs to begin to use big data to their advantage.

“This weekend focused on using real data to analyse and create solutions to real issues facing the industry. Taking something like creating an efficient security screening system at Dublin Airport has a positive impact on customers using the facility as well as for the DAA who are running it and making every effort to make the process more efficient.

“Similarly with the task set by Hostelworld, the user is king, if we can build a recommendation engine for users, it’s win / win. Customers are cutting out the middleman, and if we can rely on positive customer reviews, we can save travelers valuable time, improve their hostel experience, and increase user retention. That is what happened here this weekend. It’s been a very powerful learning experience for everyone, and extremely successful for all involved.”

Participants also enjoyed practical workshops and an expert line-up of speakers including Toby Houchens, ex-US Army Special Forces turned tech-entrepreneur and CEO and founder of Travel Recon; Cork woman Breffni Horgan, Head of Product & Design, Hostelworld Group; and Dublin Airport Innovation Manager Katie O’Leary.