The other day I made reference to the phrase Semantic Web and how I could sense that this was potentially the next big buzzword in online travel innovation circles. Well the buzz is extending well beyond travel, as since then I’ve seen Micrsoft’s new search engine Bing referred to as  Microsoft’s much-hyped semantic search product slated to replace Live Search – although as far a Bing is concerned, travel is clearly one of the four verticals they are going after. And this is why airline people should be interested; according to Microsoft, “What’s Bing Travel all about? It’s a faster way to make more informed travel decisions.” Microsoft purchased Farecast and they are now integrating this tightly into their new search engine. But so many people have already written about Bing and their foray into travel, that it is pointless for me to try and add anything to this debate – especially when I only used it for about a minute before giving up and going back to Google.

But on the topic of Semantic maybe there may be something worth discussing. PWC have come out with their Spring 2009 Technology Update, and if you wade through the 58 page download, as well as look at their landing page, the word semantic is everywhere. Putting together short posts like this one is relatively quick and easy, but it is the longer more thought out posts like the Bow Tie Model that have a life of their own well beyond this blog, and therefore have a much bigger impact. I’m doing a lot of thinking at the moment about how airlines can really innovate online; and I mean a game changing rather than an incremental type of innovation. I tend not to use the word semantic, but some of what I am working on definintely crosses into this area. The challenge I have is whether I try and find the find to pump out one really long and well researched post on this topic? Given that as of tomorrow I’m in four different cities for work over the next ten days, the chances of this happening in the near future are unfortunately pretty remote. 

Finally, I’ll be in Kuala Lumpur in late June for an Amadeus airline e-commerce conference aimed at Asia Pacific carriers, although I think there will be a few Middle East carriers coming as well. If you work for an airline in the region and are planning on attending, maybe we can have this conversation on game changing online innovation over a drink in the bar instead.

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