Research & Development

ORACLE TECHNOLOGY WILL DRIVE IMPROVED TRAVEL EXPERIENCES

Oracle technology will underpin a new generation of services that will greatly improve the travel experience for business and leisure travelers alike. As part of an EU-funded development project named i-Travel, Oracle will help to create a ‘connected travel’ e-marketplace for buying tickets and services and a ‘virtual travel assistant’ to help travelers to enjoy a smoother, more timely journey.

Imagine a world where every setback could be taken out of travelling. Where delays, missed meetings, and environmentally-unfriendly traffic jams were a thing of the past, and where queuing to buy paper tickets was no longer necessary.

This is the vision behind i-Travel, a new collaborative project that is being partly funded by the EU under its FP7 framework for technological innovation. i-Travel aims to create a secure, web-enabled technology framework that will enable the ‘connected traveler’ to plan, book and carry out each journey from door-to-door using just one chosen secure online service. It will also provide each traveler with a ‘virtual travel assistant’, which will continuously monitor conditions on the proposed route, inform the traveller of any potential delays, and propose and book alternative forms of transport if required.

Many elements of the i-Travel infrastructure are in place today: business and leisure travelers alike have become used to planning journeys and booking tickets online, and many also use handheld web-enabled devices to check conditions during their journey and make alternative plans if necessary. Another aspect of the i-Travel service will be an online information-sharing community for travelers, inspired by Web 2.0 services with which millions of people are already familiar, such as Flickr, Facebook and YouTube.

What’s currently missing, however, is the ability to use all these services in one place. Under the i-Travel project, a wide array of travel suppliers and services will be integrated in an e-marketplace for the first time. Instead of surfing around different sites – one to book a hotel, one to book a flight, one to book a train ticket – travelers will be able to use their chosen one-stop i-Travel provider to plan and book their entire journey. Instead of using different online information sources to calculate delays during the journey, they will receive constant updates to their mobile device from their ‘virtual travel assistant’, which will proactively monitor many sources – including the traveler’s own current location – for relevant information and use online payment mechanisms to book alternative tickets when necessary.

The result will be an intelligent, proactive, ‘total travel service’ that can be used for simple and complex journeys alike – and which will learn about the travelers’ preferences over time so that journeys can be made even simpler in the future.

Oracle is one of the technology suppliers, together with companies like Logica, TeleAtlas, Navteq and Amadeus, that have been chosen by the EU to research and develop the i-Travel service. Oracle’s Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) technology will be instrumental in creating the single travel e-marketplace that lies at i-Travel’s core. SOA will be used to integrate the online information and services provided by participating suppliers, and to orchestrate the data flows and business processes that will enable the online planning, booking and co-ordination of the multiple stages of each journey.

Oracle technology will also be used to ensure the security of the data being exchanged in the e-marketplace, and to deliver tailored, location-based information to the many different types of mobile devices used by travellers. It will also be instrumental in collecting and recording data from travellers to drive a highly personalized service, and will underpin the post-trip feedback and social networking aspects of the service.

Leading Oracle’s contribution to the i-Travel project is Fulvio Sansone, Business Development Director at Oracle EMEA. “i-Travel will not only make travelling more comfortable and convenient, but will also have a lesser impact on the travel networks involved, and will make each journey more environment-friendly,” he says. “I am delighted that Oracle and its world-leading, open-standards-based software have been selected to take part in this important project that will have such a positive impact for travelers, travel suppliers and the environment alike.”