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At Farnborough, Airbus, Boeing and 5 Other Large AeroSpace Companies Broadcasted Directly Online July 23, 2014

Posted by ludozone in Aerospace, Conference, eBusiness Applications/Services, International Business Development, Internet Marketing, Management, Social Media, Twitter.
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In a sign that information dissemination is changing rapidly in the Aerospace and Defense industry, Airbus, BAESYSTEMS, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Thales, and Saab set up there own web pages on the occasion of the Farnborough International Airshow. It is not the first time for this kind of communication strategy: Airbus, Boeing, and Raytheon did it in 2010. What is unique about it is that using Twitter in combination with the webpages, they have been able to draw online traffic to their site in volumes never seen before.

First, let’s look at what information was available on these “micro-sites”:

Company News/Features Videos Photos Other
Airbus 21 21 159 N/A
BAE SYSTEMS 13 1 32 Twitter Feed, Media Contact, Show Schedule, Stand Tour, Products on Display
Boeing 15 9 17 Presentations, Briefing Schedule, Biographies, Media Contacts
Lockheed Martin 8 0 16 Media Contacts, Briefing Schedule, Featured Programs
Raytheon 8 2 11 Infographics
Saab 4 15 71 Media Contacts, Twitter Feed, Presentations
Thales N/A N/A N/A Posted Articles, photos and videos directly on Twitter and published on flashboard (ThalesLive)

Out of the companies that created these micro-sites, Airbus went all out on videos and photos. As a result, they trended on the Twitter stats for most of the show. It was great that, along with Raytheon, they continued to cover the public part of the show to try to leverage enthusiasm for the industry from younger fans. I also liked BAESYSTEMS stand tour, Saab posting its presentations, and Raytheon’s infographics.

As I explained before, it is now possible to narrow the Twitter feeds to just the interest you might have (e.g. #FIA14) and get just the news you want. In the past businesses counted on the industry press to “relay” and aggregate their press releases to their readers. Now, Twitter can be the aggregate and companies are broadcasting directly. After all, they have the best information about themselves. And the industry is responding. In the table below you can see the growth in followers for the major A&D companies. In comparison, @AviationWeek has “only” 83,298 followers (@AINOnline 12,274 – @FlightGlobal 53,864).

Twitter Account Followers at 2009 Paris Air Show Followers at 2010 Farnborough Followers at 2014 Farnborough Tweets on #FIA14
Airplane Manufacturers
@Airbus N/A N/A 215,094 66
@AirbusGroupLive N/A N/A 18,976 107
@Boeing N/A N/A 173,757 26
@BoeingAirplanes 0 7,256 174,026 37
@Bombardier_aero 53 1,419 60,228 93
@EmbraerSA 3 1673 11,577 12
@Saab Not On Not On 5,549 79
Engine Manufacturers
@GEAviation Not On N/A 71,103 12
@PrattandWhitney 351 1,485 45,616 45
@RollsRoyce Not On Not On 20,083 13
@Snecma Not On Not On 4,530 2
Defense Companies
@BAESystemsplc 0 1,146 18,873 55
@LockheedMartin 268 4,339 110,637 24
@NorthropGrumman 680 3,139 57,942 0
@Raytheon 625 2,909 58,532 74
@ThalesGroup 76 728 20,437 50

This shift to Twitter, embraced long ago by other industry and finally gaining traction in Aerospace, will force industry news to change their coverage of shows like Farnborough and focus on delivering added value and not just be a “relay” for the news. It will be important for them to provide opinion pieces, mash-ups, and contrasts (e.g. Infographic on Airbus vs Boeing orders from FlightGlobal). For other Aerospace companies not yet using micro-sites, blogs and twitter to directly manage their corporate communication, it is time to seriously think about it.

What do you think of this communication strategy? Should these companies do something more or different? Are there other companies doing things worth mentioning here? Please comment below.



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Farnborough International Airshow 2014: Online Coverage Review July 22, 2014

Posted by ludozone in Aerospace, Conference, eBusiness Applications/Services, International Business Development, Internet Marketing, Social Media, Twitter.
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Although 100,000 trade visitors attend the Farnborough International Airshow every 4 years, a majority of the Aerospace and Defense industry is forced to stay tuned to the show from afar. This review is intended to analyze the information available from the respective websites of the main industry news outlets. Specifically, I will discuss:

SHOW COVERAGE BY THE NUMBERS
Let’s start by looking at the amount of news shared online and how it was shared. You can read my other posts for Farnborough iPhone App Reviews, Twitter Statics, Aerospace companies use of Twitter, and Daily News Reviews. This post will focus instead on the overall coverage.

AIN AviationWeek FlightGlobal
Dailies Produced 4 4 4
(+3 online)
Articles 237 167 146
Blog Entries N/A 16 4
Photos 50 6 63
Videos 7 14 21
Tweets 180 46 73
Twitter Followers 12K 83K 53K
Twitter Klout 61 66 63

AVIATION INTERNATIONAL NEWS (AIN) COVERAGE
AIN made a strong case for the most complete airshow information online. For starters, their website was simple but functional. It had all the important functions: searching, sharing, tagging, headlining, and commenting. They published the majority of their daily articles online in addition to a complete “print online” version of the daily magazines. That was almost 100 more free articles than Flight Global and almost 200 more than Aviation Week. They had categorized photo albums as well as a number of strong videos with good content, editing and journalistic integrity (i.e. not sponsored).

WEBain_sm
Despite the best content, the execution of the coverage disappointed. The online app regressed compared to previous version, headline dumping (aka robo-tweet) continued to be the main activity on Twitter, and blogs remained nonexistent. In addition, a lack of attention to details made part of the website annoying: the overlay ad that didn’t close properly; some misfiled content such as the Farnborough videos not available in the multimedia section; the forgotten tab selection when using the back button; the lack of seamless navigation such as the inability to come back to the Farnborough coverage after navigating to some parts of the site. It left you with a “meh” feeling. It was like receiving a really badly gift wrapped present: if you manage to get past the ugly paper and the difficult knots, you will really enjoy the content. AIN should go back to its old app and hire a digital media manager for the website so it can leverage and organize the great content generated by its journalists and video editors.

AVIATION WEEK COVERAGE
Except for the disappointing “print online” version of its daily news, AviationWeek was firing on all cylinders at this show. The iphone app was good, the website was good, and the content was good and varied (including 14 videos). Several members of the AvWeek staff stepped up in front of the camera and produced good results. For example, I liked the exclusive video of the A350 demo flight from inside the cockpit. They also posted several blogs and a few photos (ATW had an additional 43 unlinked photos on its own site). Their Twitter presence was “human driven” with the Farnborough AvWeek team augmenting the official stream content counted above with 87 additional posts (almost half of them from social media director @avweekrupa, but why was ATW not posting in #FIA14?). This organized twitter strategy is why they have the most followers and the highest klout. And that is why they were the only specialized news organization making the top twitter influencers list for the show.

WEBaw_sm
My only (small) issue with Aviation Week continued to be with the available content. They made a good effort to force the integration of ATW and SpeedNews articles in the website, but though a inconvenient virtual “aggregated content”. About 100 articles from the Show News did not make it to the website. The content remained focused on the big companies (aka advertisers?). I wish I could see more integrated and free content including the use of infographics as well as more photos from ShowNews.

However, I have to name Aviation Week as Best Coverage for Farnborough 2014. They also definitely deserve the “Best Social Media” nod they received at the Aerospace Media Awards.

FLIGHT GLOBAL COVERAGE
In my coverage of the 2010 Edition of the show, Flight Global was definitely the leader. Four years later, I felt really disappointed by their performance.

WEBfg_sm
They seemed to have lost the drive and vision they possessed before and are rapidly falling behind the other organizations when it comes to online coverage. More specifically:

  • iFlight – this online newsletter had very little content and was mostly a gimmick. It was in conflict with the “print online” version of the daily news and its content was not re-purposed (e.g. why were the cutaways not also in the designated section of the site?)
  • Articles – Like Aviation week, Flight Global only posted a fraction of its articles in the free section. It was too bad because one of the thing FG did well was Infographics which the others didn’t do. They seemed confined to the iFlight and daily news. What made it a lot worse was that you could not comment or share the articles once you opened them.
  • Blogs – This was the old strength of FG but they were now nonexistent (only 4 produced). They were not even linked from the Farnborough page.
  • Photos and Videos – The photo section was never updated when pictures were added, so you only saw new pictures by swiping through the previewer. FG posted the most videos but they were mislabeled and not posted in chronological order. In addition, they were sponsored by Airbus so for example, none of the daily briefs mentioned ANY orders for Boeing aircraft.
  • Twitter – Most of the FG posts from the main publishing engine and from the staff were sent outside #FIA14 thus not visible for most of the show watchers. The rest of the posts seemed to be out of personal habit rather than driven from a strategic plan.

I think FG needs more leadership and discipline when it comes to online coverage. They must rethink their content like iFlight but should use more of their great infographics. They could also use better website technology and must think about their mobile presence (they no longer have an app for example).

CONCLUSIONS AND WISHES
Although Aviation Week has come a long way in 4 years and AINOnline continues with really good content, all three organizations must progress in reinventing themselves in the age of online coverage. As I explained in this post regarding the information available on twitter, the old way of reporting the news is no longer competitive. Large corporations produce their own news site for the show and traditional media produce specialized coverage of their own (WSJ produced a dedicated Farnborough section with 60 articles and 120 tweets to up to 4.7 Million accounts!). The industry audience is getting younger and is not gathering information in the same manner as before. Therefore, the industry news organizations must focus less on news reporting and more on “added-value” (e.g. mash-ups, analysis and opinions) and how to deliver it online to their (new) readers. If they do a good job at that, the sponsors will follow. If not, they will be replaced by new leaner providers.

What did you like/not like about the Farnborough online coverage. What should be done differently?



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My Favorite Non-Flying Photos of Farnborough 2014 July 18, 2014

Posted by ludozone in Aerospace, Conference, eBusiness Applications/Services, Internet Marketing, Social Media, Twitter.
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If you search for photos of Farnborough 2014 online, you will find tons of fantastic aircraft pictures. While these are best left to be judged by professionals like at the AviationWeek Annual Photo Contest, I wanted to showcase pictures of things that don’t fly. Although there were a lot of them, I excluded any selfies from my selection (this is a new category in AvWeek’s contest BTW). So here is my selection, you can click on the pictures to see a larger version.

MOST RETWEETED PICTURE
This photo from the show organizers (@FIAFarnborough) was retweeted almost 500 times.
MostRT

BEST AUTOMOBILES
The ATR static display featured the best automobiles at the show: the DeLorean from “Back to the Future” (photo by @RAFNewsReporter) and an aircraft shaped electric golf cart (photo by @Raytheon).
Delorean ATR cart

And of course, every little boys’ dream: a flight stealth buggy! (Photograph by Simon Dawson/Bloomberg)
Flying Buggy

BEST PHOTO SCENE
This picture from Carl Court at Agence France-Press (@AFP) captures the passion for aircraft photography.
AFPphotog

BEST BAD-ASS
This photograph by Leon Neal/AFP (Tweeted by @BloombergNews) captured an incredible next generation military helmet. Who would mess with this pilot?
BloombergHelmet

BEST HUMOR
Sometimes a photographer has to been at the right place at the right time!
Mobility

Did you see other non-flying pictures from Farnborough that should make this list? Email them to me at ludozone@yahoo.com and don’t forget to attribute the source/credit the photographer.



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Farnborough 2014 Daily News Magazines – Online Review July 18, 2014

Posted by ludozone in Aerospace, eBusiness Applications/Services, International Business Development, Internet Marketing, Social Media.
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If you have been to an international air show like Paris or Farnborough, you have probably picked up several of them: the printed daily news magazines published by the three main Aerospace news organizations (Aviation International News (AIN), Aviation Week, and Flight Global). They are each printed in thousands of copies and handed out for free at multiple locations. It was no different at Farnborough this year where each organization produced 4 issues. In fact, together in total, they published a colossal 800 magazine pages with more than 700 articles (See all the statistics here). These publications are great for attendees, but they are also available online. Here is my review and opinion of each of them.

Aviation International News (AIN) Farnborough Airshow News
DN-AINAt 112 pages of content over the 4 editions, AIN produced the smallest of the three magazines, but still managed to publish about 190 articles. The online version was linked promptly and directly from the AINonline Farnborough Coverage website. The content was pretty standard fare keeping up with AIN’s tradition and editorial style. The ISSUU viewing technology which AIN has been using since 2010 was very responsive and simple to use. It had all the functions you need: search, share, zoom, and clip. It was fully usable on iPad without an app. You can create an account and “save” magazines or clips for later use, emailing or sharing. In addition, AIN posted most of its Airshow News articles directly on the website and on twitter, so it was a good reuse of the content online.

Aviation Week ShowNews
DN-AWThe team at Aviation Week published the most content pages (150) including 266 articles. Each edition was linked from the Aviation Week Farnborough Coverage website and I liked that they embedded multimedia in some of the editions by replacing static pictures with video. The magazine contained some in-depth interviews with big players but also news from SMEs as the week went on. However, the Zinio viewing technology was disappointing compared to the others. First of all, the publications were not indexed so the search feature did not work. Secondly, there was no clipping or sharing functions so any information found here could not be reused elsewhere. Thirdly, because Zinio is using Adobe Flash technology, it was not available on iPad. Finally, the content of the magazine was not available on the Aviation Week website (although I am told that some of the articles are published in the subscription-only area).

FlightGlobal Flight Daily News
DN-FGFlight global decided not to publicize the fact that they had their Flight Daily News available online (other than for a couple of direct tweets from staff), and instead promoted their three web-only iFlight Daily News briefs. I wonder what the purpose of this publication really was. With about 10 news items for each edition it was hardly comprehensive. Each edition had an interactive cut-away, some video content, and some good infographics (e.g. Order Tracking). But between the content posted directly in their Farnborough Coverage website and the electronic version of the Daily News linked at the end of each iFlight edition, this seemed redundant. In addition, iFlight requires an app to be viewed on iPad. It would have been much better for them to incorporate this content in the online Daily News (e.g. cut-away) or on the website (e.g. video). However, once you finally accessed the actual electronic version of Daily News in the PageSuite technology, it was actually very nice. The content was varied and pleasantly layed-out. The “Face the Facts” interview series with a number of CEOs should have its own section on the website. There were some content gems buried in there (e.g. Boeing vs Airbus infographics) that would have deserved greater exposure on the website and on Twitter. Like AIN’s viewer, this viewing tool had all you needed: search, zoom, share, clip and was fully usable on iPad without an app. This technology was easier to use but it did not allow me to set-up a personal account online. In terms of content, Flight Global produced the largest amount of pages (306) and articles (281) of the three organizations. They too decided to post some of this content in their subscriber only section of the website.

LESSONS LEARNED
I understand the need for these magazines at the show and, with 400 pages of advertising (estimated revenue $4 million), they probably pay for the news organization’s complete on-site presence. But, if you are going to bother putting these together, I think you should get the most bang for the bucks:

  • If you are going to publish the magazine “as-is”, be sure to promote it (website and twitter) and use a good viewer that as a minimum includes a search engine (nobody is going to read these cover to cover online – unless they print it).
  • If you are handing out this magazine for free on-site, and making an electronic version available for free on-line, why would you publish the content in a subscriber-only section of your website? This seems like a far-fetched way of boosting subscriber “exclusive”. Instead make the content available for free or under free registration.
  • A lot of content (articles, pictures and videos) is being created around these publications. Consider re-purposing this content on the website directly. Why keep this content only for one day? Post it and open it up to the rest of the world.

Based on that, I must declare that AIN Farnborough Airshow News did the best out of the three organizations on this part of their online coverage (See also Full Review of FIA14 Online Coverage). As for the others, AviationWeek should pick a new viewer and Flight Global should reconsider iFlight Daily News.

Please leave a comment below to share your impression of these magazines. Your ideas, replies and suggestions are always welcome.



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Six must-have apps for Farnborough 2014 July 10, 2014

Posted by ludozone in Aerospace, Conference, eBusiness Applications/Services, International Business Development, iPhone, Social Media, Twitter.
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The Farnborough International Airshow (July 14-20 – #FIA14) is a huge tradeshow with over 1500 exhibitors, dozens of aircraft static displays, as well as aerial demonstrations. To get the maximum out of the show, it is important to get well prepared and organized. To help with that, here are the six smartphone apps you should pre-load before heading out to Farnborough:

AWEvents IconAfter evaluating the various offerings from the main aerospace news providers, I think the best show app is “Aviation Week Events” (See the full review). This app will give you a map of the site and exhibit floors, a list of participants with location, the news headlines, a twitter feed as well as many other features. This is the main app you will use at the show.

FIA14_hootsuite “HootSuite” is a free social media management tool that has become indispensable to sort through the online traffic generated at a show like this. This tool will allow you to create “streams” that can be used to filter the data coming over Twitter and pick just the right information for you. Even if you don’t tweet, set-up a free account on Twitter and download this app. Before you head out to the show, set-up streams like #FIA14 or for the list of sources that are important to you. This will help you tremendously if you want to listen or participate to the “virtual show” happening online in parallel with the physical show.

FIA14_evernote “Evernote” is an easy-to-use, free app that helps you remember everything across all of the devices you use. Stay organized, save your ideas and improve your productivity. Evernote lets you take notes, snap photos, create to-do lists, scan business cards, record voice reminders–and it makes everything searchable, whether you are at the show, at the hotel, or when you are back at work. It even searches for words inside the images! I chose this application because it is vastly superior to the notes capabilities of the Aviation Week app and solves the main problem of that app: all your notes are accessible securely on-line once you sync them.

FIA14_metoffice When you are going to spend a fair amount of time outdoors in the middle of July in the UK, it is important to keep an eye on the weather. Not just to find out what to wear, or what to bring, but also to know when not to venture outdoors. As the UK’s national meteorological service, the “Met Office” app provides accurate and timely UK weather warnings and forecast. Be sure to set-up Farnborough in your preset locations and to subscribed to notifications.

FIA14_journeypro The best way to get around London as well as to and from the show is via public transportation. “Journey Pro” is a free app that will allow you to manage the London tube and National Rail like a native. The app’s interactive maps will provide you with the best route using various combinations of available modes. Live service updates and departure boards are also available.

FIA14_london With “London Official City Guide” say goodbye to roaming charges and find the top ten best things to do in London no matter where you are. Make the most of your time in London with full offline access to maps and guides, as well as walking distance indicator. Use great local tips to find top attractions, things to do and restaurants in the city.

Don’t forget to check on your cell-phone carrier data plan prices and options before heading over to the UK. If there are other apps you think should be on this list, please feel free to make a recommendation in the comments below.



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Farnborough 2014 iPhone Apps Review July 8, 2014

Posted by ludozone in Aerospace, Conference, eBusiness Applications/Services, International Business Development, iPhone, Social Media, Twitter.
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Two editions ago (Farnborough 2010), there were two iPhone apps available. When I reviewed them at the time, the Aviation International News (AIN) app was superior and seems a good match for attendees. FIA10 Apps Things evolved for the next show and by then there were four apps available. I was an attendee at that show and did not review the apps but they were in general a definitive improvement over the 2010 versions. For this year, however, there are now only two apps left: “AINonline” and “Aviation Week Events” (search for these terms in your App Store to download the apps).

AINonline Icon This “new” version of the AIN app is very disappointing since it as lost a lot of what made the old version so much better (see video of old app). This is now a very basic app with small but complete articles organized in “Latest News” plus 18 unique channels like “Defense” or “Rotorcraft”. The AINtv videos are also accessible through a menu. The (only) great thing about this app is that it is totally self-contained and does not require internet access. You can load the updates from your hotel room WiFi connection in the morning and read the news from the app on the way or at the show. Unfortunately, there is no longer a search feature to find the information you want nor is there a way to customize the bottom menu for quick access to the news channels you are most interested in. This app is now more akin to drinking from a fire hose.

AWEvents Icon The new version of the AviationWeek app is based on the highly rated Genie-Connect platform and has been used for multiple shows by AviationWeek. The functions available in the app vary from show to show based on the information available to Aviation Week to configure a particular event. For example, there were a lot more interactive functions at MRO Americas 2014 than there are for FIA14. So even though the platform could do a lot more, I will focus only on the functions available for this show. Please note that this application is very good but not ground breaking. In fact, if you look at the NBAA 2011 app, it already had most of these features over 3 years ago. Nevertheless, it is good to see Aviation Week stepping up their game.

FIVE REASONS I LIKE THE AVIATION WEEK EVENTS APP:

AvWeek Events

  1. Exhibitor list and interactive map - You can find exhibitors easily through an alphabetical and searchable directory. This is very efficient. Each exhibitor has a description as well as a booth location. You can link to a zoom-able interactive map that will allow to find them on the site. Some exhibitors also have contact information and downloadable content. The map also work in reverse, meaning you could click on a location and find more information on a particular exhibitor. All 4 halls as well as the chalet row are included in the app.
  2. Booth Tagging, Tracking and Notes – In preparation for the show, you can tag the booths you would like to visit and create notes for the topics you would like to discuss. The exhibitors you have selected appear in red on the map, so you can easily plan your path through each hall. Once at the show, you can update the notes as you visit the exhibitors and un-mark the booths you have visited.
  3. Integrated QR Code reader - The square bar-code like tags (QR Codes) are becoming more prominent in international trade shows. You can scan them with your phone and they usually translate into a URL or some other coded information. Rather than having to use a separate app for that, the QR reader is integrated in the app and saves all the scanned information for you in a simple list.
  4. Headlines Central - The app also includes the headlines from Aviation Week ShowNews, the Check 6 Podcasts, the static display aircraft list (although inexplicably incomplete at the time of this review), as well as the @AviationWeek and #FIA14 Twitter feeds. The nice thing about this content is that it can be downloaded when a WI-Fi connection is present and accessed offline. The bad news is that the full articles, the flickr photo stream, and the YouTube videos which can also be opened directly in the app require a full connection.
  5. The “My Event” organizer - This features allows me to access in one spot my personal notes, flagged exhibitors, QR codes as well as the events I have selected from the official calendar. This makes an easy reference for the information that I prepared before the show, the information I collected during the show, and the information I need to prepare my report after the show.

Despite all of these great features, there are still some major issues with the way the app has been configured for this show. Some of these issues stem from features available on the Genie-Connect platform that have not been enabled by Aviation Week, some others, are things I would like to see.

  • No personal data download - This is my biggest problem with the way the app is set-up: there is no way for me to download the notes , URLs and other lists I have collected in the app. To access this information elsewhere, in my trip report for example, it will have to be retyped. It is too bad that there isn’t a way to export or email all my collected content to myself.
  • Poor exhibitor contact info - In most of the cases, the contact info consist only of the exhibitor’s home country. I understand that the Farnborough organizers are not going to hand out the exhibitors’ phone numbers and contact details to a competitor so easily, but it would have been nice to have at least each website available. And when in a few places, a telephone number is available is should be coded with the standard international country code (e.g. +1) so the direct dial feature of the app can be used. Finally, the app platform offers a great “categories” feature that allows you to see the exhibitors by business type (e.g. implemented in the MRO Americas 2014 Event). Unfortunately, the information was not made available to Aviation Week, so it is not turned on.
  • Limited search capability - Although a good amount of data is downloaded in the app (4MB at the beginning of July), the search capability of the app does not include the ShowNews articles or the Twitter feed. It would be great to be able to save such searches in “My Event” and provide a link from the exhibitors profile to a search for their names in the news feeds. Also, the general search is useless for the exhibitor list because it indexes the full description instead of just the exhibitor name as it does in the directory section of the app. For example, typing “Boeing” in the main search page returns 40 exhibitors.
  • No social interaction - Other than the integrated ability to tweet/re-tweet directly from the app (which is really nice), there is no social interaction possible between visitors an exhibitors. I know this is not directly an Aviation Week show and that personal visitor and exhibitor information is not available as it is at MRO shows for example, but there are other ways to use this app platform to do it (Message me if you want my ideas).

In conclusion, I am pleased to see the progress made by Aviation Week with this app, and I definitely recommend that you download it and configure it before you head to the show. AINonline continues to have rich and in-depth content, but their app is a disappointment. They should simply provide an RSS/Twitter feed or actually go back to the old app if they want their content to be useable at all on a smart phone.



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When Aerospace News Happens on the Weekend… July 7, 2014

Posted by ludozone in Aerospace, eBusiness Applications/Services, Online Supply Chain Management, Social Media, Twitter.
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737 in the riverBy now you may or may not have heard about the train derailment in Montana that sent 3 Boeing 737 fuselages in a river and teared apart another one. This happened on Thursday afternoon July 3rd, on the eve of the US Independence Day weekend.
In my recent post about the need for more Aerospace blogs, I made the point that the main Aerospace news outfits are now competing with traditional media on the internet, and that their added value should come in the form or opinion and analysis rather that just breaking news. This event was a perfect illustration of that.

NEWS REPORTING CHRONOLOGY

July 3 afternoon – Train Derails

Friday July 4 Morning (US is closed) – My Google alert flashes the headline in my daily report. I follow the search and find a dozen articles and web posts from general news outfits reporting (very briefly) the news and showing amateur pictures of the fuselages in the water. None of the main Aerospace news outfits (Aviation Week, Flight Global, AIN) have the information on their site nor in their Twitter Feeds. Jon Ostrower of Wall Street Journal (WSJ) (formerly from Flight Global) tweets links to the reports and exchanges information with a couple of followers.

Saturday July 5 – Aviation Week (Guy Norris) publishes an article on the front page of Aviation Week. He reports the facts but does not show pictures even though by now there are all over the internet. He reports (correctly) that there might be impact on the Boeing supply chain. The article is mentioned on the Aviation Week Twitter feed. Nothing yet on the other websites.

Sunday July 6 – Jon Ostrower at WSJ publishes a full article in the Sunday morning edition with quotes from Boeing and the rail company. The article includes several pictures. A link appears in the WSJ and Jon’s twitter feeds. In the evening, Jon updates the article with a video of the crash site plus additional information from Boeing and the rail company. He is obviously talking to them. No updates from Aviation Week (not even a replacement of the stock assembly line photo by a crash photo which are floating freely on the internet by now), and still nothing from the others.

Monday July 7 Noon – No updates from Aviation Week but a few interesting comments on the article, and still nothing on Flight Global. AINonline finally posted a basic article at noon.

THE NEED FOR BETTER INFORMATION

So, what is my point? I am not advocating that Flight Global and AINonline become 24/7 news outfits. However, it would be nice to have seen a quick blog/news flash on Flight Global on Friday (they were working in the UK), and the same from AINonline on Monday morning when they came back to work (Update: They did ended up posting an article at noon on Monday). Kudos to AviationWeek for reporting on Saturday but they could have put a picture of the crash site (Am I too picky?).

But looking at this from the point of view of people in our industry relying on AviationWeek, FlightGloabl or AIN for their news, what has been the added value compared to WSJ or other general news outfits? I am not expecting a full article on Monday morning for this kind of breaking event over the weekend, but this derailment has the potential to affect 4 airline customers and over 300 suppliers. Plus it challenges the “just-in-time” supply chain model used by Boeing and Airbus. How about a blog that, at the minimum, asks questions about that? How about opinion from a supply chain expert? How about a view from a specialist or a scrap expert how the ability to salvage these fuselages?

Since breaking the news could not be done, at least let’s have the analysis. And if not in a full article, at least in a blog.



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Why did ChangeYourFlight.com win Flightglobal’s website of the year award? February 7, 2012

Posted by ludozone in Aerospace, eBusiness Applications/Services, International Business Development, Internet Marketing.
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“It all started when five of us booked a trip to Paris”, says Iñaki Úriz, one of the founding partners of ChangeYourFlight. When three of his friends had to back out on the non-refundable tickets, he thought the airline could have made money had they known the three seats would be empty.  A simple concept was born: Would low cost airlines offer money in exchange for cancellation of a non-refundable seat they might be able to resell?

That is how this Barcelona based company got started. Úriz and co-founder Jose Vilar  put up some of their money for a prototype and then rounded up development money from friends and family. The partners had no IT or aviation background. But the two things they did have were airline consumer experience and design engineering backgrounds.

That explains why, when I first opened the website while judging the “Site of the Year” category for Flightglobal’s Webbies, I knew immediately that I had come across something very special. The concept was easy to understand and the design was simple but very slick. And, as Flightglobal’s Michael Targett points out, this translated into a wining website with fantastic usability.

The current concept took two and a half years of development. The site officially launched in December 2011 with Italy’s AirOne as its first Airline. In a phone interview last Friday, Úriz tells me that things have taken off rapidly for the website: “Air One is approving about a dozen voucher requests per day. And we are getting regular inquiries from a number of other European airlines.” For more background, on the company, check out this excellent post from the APEX blog. The company is now hiring IT talent and is actively looking for its next round of financing.

As a specialist in the use of Internet by the Aviation industry, I see my fair share of “new or improved” websites every day. The vast majority wouldn’t even get nominated for site of the year, let alone win it! So in my discussion with Úriz, I really wanted to find out what sets his creation aside and what other companies can learn from this example. Here are three things companies can learn from ChangeYourFlight.com:

  1. Innovate. Innovate. Innovate. “It is not because something does not exist that it is a bad idea”, says Úriz. Too many companies perpetuate the same processes and approaches to customer service and relationship “because they have always done it this way.” Most companies need to start from a blank canvas and change things up. This doesn’t always mean building your own website by the way. Using marketplaces such as ChangeYourFlight can bring the benefits of innovation and standardization without the costs of development.  Noteworthy websites provide innovative and more efficient ways to interact with a company. Winning websites roll-out simple win-win processes that benefit all parties.
  2. Users Prefer Doing to Reading. The era of the website as a slick electronic brochure for the company is long gone. Sure, the company needs to describe what it does succinctly right up front (i.e. elevator pitch), but today it is all about customer interaction. Could airlines set-up their own customer support procedures to handle the ChangeYourFlight concept over the phone? Sure! But for Úriz, “what makes our success is that it is all self-service and information rich. You just enter your data, pick a few options and then wait for the answer.” Noteworthy websites provide self-service information portals. Winning websites provide interactive and influential action portals.
  3. Keep It Simple Seniõr (KISS). “We felt that it we had to explain too much, ChangeYourFlight would never be used”. Did you ever notice that the iPhone does not come with a user manual? Imagine that you had to learn all of the Microsoft Excel functions before you could start on your first spreadsheet. As a rule of thumb 90% of the complexity is introduced by the last 10% of functionality. So the secret is to provide a simple interface that handles 90% of the task at hand and cover the rest some other way. Noteworthy websites provide a simple way to handle the most common tasks. Winning websites handle all the situations with an integrated and layered approach focused on delighting the customer.

I would love to see more website use these principles by next years’ Webbies. But in the meantime, give me your feedback on this winner or these principles. And if you have a good example of a company that is doing this right, pass it along!

NBAA 2011 Online Coverage October 19, 2011

Posted by ludozone in Aerospace, Conference, eBusiness Applications/Services, International Business Development, Internet Marketing, iPhone, Management, Social Media, Twitter.
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A week ago today, the2011 edition of the annual NBAA convention came to an end in Las Vegas. Although the show was a great success “by every yardstick” with over 26000 registered attendees, many business aviation professionals also rely on online coverage to figure out what are the industry trends. So, as I have done in previous years, here is my take on how the show fared on the internet.

News Outlet Coverage

As always the main aviation news outlet were out in force to cover the show. There were no less than 4 production rooms at the convention center where teams from Aviation International News, Aviation Week, Flight Global and NBAA relayed important information online. The content numbers were impressive:

  AINonline Avweek FlightGlobal NBAA
Articles 230 21 130 55
Blogs 2 18 12 0
Videos 10 0 13 18
Photos 54 75 18 216
Daily
Magazine
3 3 6 0

First of all, it was interesting see how NBAA stepped up in its own news coverage of the show with a team of freelance journalists and photographers. They produced quality material throughout the show and took advantage of their website and social media to distribute their content (some of it exclusive). Their website is a bit poor in potential interaction, but in my opinion, they did a better job than AviationWeek. AvWeek’s team continues to disappoint with the least amount of innovation, the smallest online content output and their ill-timed decision to part ways with their star reporter Benet Wilson (@AvQueenBenet) right before the show (although she did a very professional job covering the event for them from Washington).

For innovation, you had to look at AIN and Flight which both released a new version of their websites in time for NBAA. Both companies have recently invested heavily to upgrade their content management capabilities behind the scenes, which will allow them to grow the usability and features they can provide their online readers. At Flight, the changes were both cosmetic and premium user focused. It resulted in a redesign of the navigation features and (at last) in the introduction of a good comment function. As huge as these changes were internally, they left me and many other users underwhelmed by the new website. It is “OK”. I am sure the PRO users will get more for their money, but I did not get a chance to review that part of the site. For AIN however, the change in internal content management provided some much needed improvement to their old website. Because they switched to open platform Drupal, they were able to immediately take advantage of off-the-shelf widgets for twitter, Facebook and trending (showing the most popular article). It is definitely the most improved website of the four I reviewed and I really liked it. Because AIN continued to provide the most extensive content, in a well-designed new website, I think for the first time in my reviews, they have actually edged Flight Global for “best in show” (by the slimmest of margins).

With that said, all these news organizations continue to ignore the iPad as an important delivery platform at the show and off the show. These devices were everywhere in Vegas, and must be included in the content delivery plans of many aviation companies. Testing all websites for iPad compatibility is now a must. None of the four sites’ videos could be accessed directly (other than by jumping to the YouTube app). Furthermore, the daily magazines, available online on each respective websites, were not viewable on the iPad. And even though Flight Global and AIN have iPhone apps that work on iPad, but they have not been upgraded to take advantage of the content features of their new websites, nor do they feature conference specific filtering.

Social Media

Twitter was once again very active with over 2700 posts in the #NBAA11 during the show. The statistics from the archive show a healthy proportion of original content versus retweets as well as a crossover of users. Compared to last year the numbers are similar, but businesses were more directly involved with good interaction. A lot of companies took the opportunity to jump in for the first time, unfortunately most of them simply tweeted “Come see us at booth CXXXX”. Hopefully they have learned something by watching the event stream, joining others at the NBAA sponsored Tweet-up, or reading my advice (shameless plug!).

Amongst the companies most active in Social Media, Duncan Aviation continues to show exemplary behavior. They have been active on Twitter (@DuncanAviation) before and during the show, posted multiple blog entries, and deployed a show specific landing page that increased interactivity online as well as at the booth.

The Future

Technology continues to play a growing role in the world of aviation exhibitions. As mentioned before, the iPad was omnipresent both in delivering solutions, in marketing products and services, but also as an effective tool for attendees. The superior NBAA mobile app was also an interesting step towards changes that are upon us. For future shows, I think that the world of online and on site are headed for convergence with much activity taking place before the show online, while the actual onsite presence will become more efficient but will be shared online with others at the show and watching from afar.

Do you have any thoughts about NBAA or the future of this kind of show? Is there anything I missed online? Let me know what you think.

NBAA11 Mobile App Raises the Bar High for All Future Aerospace Shows September 29, 2011

Posted by ludozone in Aerospace, Conference, eBusiness Applications/Services, International Business Development, iPhone, Management, Social Media.
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If you read my critique of previous Aerospace trade shows, I have always said that exhibitors needed to do more with technology to get noticed at such events. Attendees have a limited amount of time to spend in the expo hall and they will be armed with a predetermined list of booths to visit. I am a big fan of mobile apps, and I have been looking forward to the possibilities of making trade show going a much more efficient experience. But so far, I have been disappointed with what has come out. For example, the 2011 Paris Air Show app was far less that exciting. However all of that changed this week.

For the 64th Annual Meeting in Last Vegas next month, NBAA has just released the official NBAA11 trade show app that sets the bar very high for all future large aerospace events. The FREE app, created by Core-Apps and available for iPhone, Blackberry and Android, is nothing short of brilliant. Finally!

FIVE BEST THINGS ABOUT THE NBAA11 MOBILE APP

  • No Internet Connection Needed – When you open the app, it updates the information if you have an internet connection. But to use the app, no connection is required. Everything is already there! Exhibitor info, maps, documents, news, twitter feed, etc… are all available as of the time of your last connection. This is an absolute requirement for large shows where connectivity is usually very difficult to maintain.
  • Booth Categories and Map – You can find exhibitors easily through an alphabetical directory or a category directory. This is very efficient. For example, if you are looking for a new base of operation, you can easily find in a list all the airport representatives at the show. You can then jump to a zoom-able map, exhibitor contact info, description, and (if you have connectivity) their website.
  • Booth Tagging, Tracking and Notes – In preparation for the show, you can tag the booths you would like to visit and create notes for the topics you would like to discuss. Once in Vegas, you can update the notes as you visit the exhibitors and flag the booths you have seen. At the end of the day or the show, you can email yourself all your notes for follow-up or reporting.
  • Events List with Personal Calendar – The app comes with a personal calendar for the days of the show. From the conference agenda, you can add the sessions that interest you to the calendar, then add your own meetings. And if your meeting will take place at a booth, the app will add the location information automatically.
  • Central access to important document and feeds – From the main menu, you can also access important documents, YouTube videos, and the NBAA Facebook page. This is a very convenient way to have all the event information in a central location although some of these features do require connectivity.

THREE THINGS THAT COULD MAKE THE APP EVEN BETTER

  • Trending and Social Networking – Since the app knows the exhibitors that are tagged and visited, I would love to see trending on a map. Rating and/or public notes could be additional information collected by the app. This would be a great way to find hot products or important innovations. If that trending can further be curtailed by my sector of interest, the opinion of renowned experts, or by the habits of the “friends” I have connected with (perhaps through LinkedIn), we could start seeing some interesting efficiencies.
  • Booth Tagging of News – As news gets submitted to NBAA over the wire or via press partners, the items could be tagged with the relevant booth numbers to make them available directly from the booth page. This would allow visitors to see the latest items relevant to the exhibitor right as they approach the booth.
  • Check-in and Directions – “Visited” flags are great, but “Check-ins” are better. It would allow visitors to keep track of where they have been, but also to provide them with direction to where they need to go directly on the map. Combined with the social aspects above, this would also allow colleagues to find each other on the show floor if the check-ins are made available to the network.

I know this app will be a huge success at NBAA 2011. And I hope that other show organizers take notice and build upon this strong foundation. Exhibitors should also push for this development as it is one of the best ways for them to rise above the fray at these large shows.

Do you have an opinion of this app? Are you planning on using it at the show? What has been your experience?

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