My wife and I had to go to a wedding in Chicago the first weekend of 2015. We were fortunate enough to get an earlier flight out and miss all of the fun snow that was just starting to hit – whew! However, we weren’t so fortunate to not have our luggage lost in the process.
I must admit, I’m not one to check bags. Being a well-seasoned business traveler, I’m all about filling my 21” Travelpro Suitcase with exactly what I need and still fit it in the overhead bin. However, this wasn’t a normal trip.
1) We were going to a wedding (black tie optional) – I “optioned” to squeeze into a suit I rarely wear.
2) Not only did we have the wedding but we also had the rehearsal dinner – which for me wasn’t that big of a deal, change the shirt, substitute a different tie and whalla :-) – Did I mention my wife was going?
3) We were going to Chicago in January? Who gets married in Chicago in January – brrrrr?
4) Did I mention my wife was going? You can imagine the number of outfits, makeup, accessories that needed to be put on that plane …
Enough about the wedding – except that it was amazing – great people, great food, great fun, great location (Newberry Library).
Lost in Space?
Back to my luggage. Lost. All I could think about was oh my, we had A LOT of stuff in those two bags. Replacing it would not be fun. Fighting with the airline would not be fun. These clothes were at the top end of our wardrobe, this was not pleasant to think about it.
In the midst of all of this, I couldn’t help but wonder why the airline couldn’t tell me anything about my bags. They had no clue if the bags had made it on the plane when we left Chicago or if they made it to Oklahoma City (brief plane change) or if the bags had actually made it to Dallas but for whatever reason didn’t make it to the baggage claim area.
Can’t We Do Better?
In today’s world of technology, can’t we do better? Imagine what it would be like to depart a plane and look up on a board that shows you exactly where given bags are – why isn’t that feasible? Imagine the amount of heartburn it would save the poor unfortunate souls who’s bags didn’t make it to their destination as well as the customer service agents that must deal with irate passengers WHO NEED THEIR BAGS!!!!! Imagine the amount of money the airlines would save in ticket vouchers – I can tell you that I was witnessing $50 vouchers being handed out like candy by agents to poor souls like me – and this was just during a 20-minute span on one airline at one airport.
I’m confident that some smart airline or consultant is already working on this solution and I look forward to the day of NOT seeing my name on the board but taking comfort in knowing that if it is on the board at least I know where the bag is :-). New technology is coming out every day to help us reimagine what’s possible.
What will you Reimagine with your data?
This is a tagline that we use at MarkLogic. For the past 40 years companies have been living in a relational database world, which has served the masses extremely well and was a big paradigm shift away from the Mainframe. Now, we are seeing that happen again with data and the use of an Enterprise NoSQL Database – MarkLogic. Having the ability to ingest data natively (JSON, XML, text, binaries) without having to build out complex schemas is a huge “reimagine” moment for many organizations out there who’s data is living in 100’s of silos. If you’re an Executive – imagine how nice it would be if you wanted to add a new data set to your daily executive dashboard and IT handling that for you in a day or two, not 6 months. Imagine if you’re a sales executive and the amount of time you save calculating commissions because now you don’t have to go to 6 different sources and cut/paste the data in order to run your calculations but can auto ingest the data into one centralized app (personal experience on this one). Imagine how much money your company is spending “working around” data issues because your suppliers’ formats are all different and none of them match yours? Imagine the amount of lost sales on your ecommerce site because your customer can’t locate the product or information on your site even though it’s there! Reimagine – what a great word. At MarkLogic we also like to say that when it comes to data – “We make the impossible possible” and “We make the hard things easy”
Obviously there is a definite opportunity for the airlines to enhance their customer service, streamline their operations, and save a ton of dough as well – unfortunately I’m not the guy to help them with that – I’m just the poor guy who sat at the airport for 30 minutes filing a report while missing the first part of the Cowboys Playoff Game – grrr.
Happy ending – bags were found the next morning – but I could have lived a much happier 24 hours without the heartburn of “what if my bags are lost forever?” – I guess I’ll just continue to reimagine what it will be like when the airlines begin applying technology to their baggage systems.
View all posts from Paul Barth on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.
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