EC Global Repost: The airport of the future is in sight

This is a repost from Entrepreneur Country Global, where I write as contributor for their UK sub-blog. Read the original article here and check out my author’s page here.

Recently the innovative potential of airports sparked some media interest as Google’s Larry Page announced his plan to start a new innovation hub named Google Y to tackle large societal problems and develop a model city and the world’s most efficient airport.

Looking back at your last airport experience, this may seem a substantial task. But nevertheless airports are improving and developing in recent years with a strong push towards economic efficiency. Research by the University of British Columbia in Vancouver indicates how highly efficient airports generate a large part of their revenue from auxiliary income sources such as real estate rentals, retail in terminal buildings, parking as well as outsourcing terminal activities to third party providers. Among the most efficient airports are Copenhagen Kastrup International or Zurich Airport.

However this drive towards economic efficiency and the large scale of airport costs which need to be counterbalanced often result in a lopsided effort to make money from about anywhere creating meandering shopping malls instead of welcoming airport terminals. A recent example of this shopping mall trend can be seen at Stansted Airport which just upgraded its terminal in a million-pound transformation aiming to increase customer revenue by 10%. But by blatantly increasing the amount of high scale shopping opportunities, huge potential for disruptive innovation and creative design thinking is left untapped.

Building up on current tech and marketing trends, the following innovative approaches give an overview of potential service innovations that could help shape future-proof airports that take efficiency beyond economic perspectives.

Seamless connection for a premium
Take a traveller who is departing from Stansted and is in a hurry. To save time there is the Stansted Express, fast lane security, and the opportunity for priority boarding. Currently these amenities are only offered as separate options. But how about incorporating them into a single exclusive offer directly connected to a ticket. Giving some guarantees like a maximum transfer time from the city railway station to your seat. Or even better from door-to-door. Partnering with Hailo, Uber, local transfer operators and airlines along with airports could result in dedicated offers bookable ahead. And building up on the democratization of air travel this should be available to everybody albeit for a premium. It’s time for offline offers to follow integrated solutions such as tripit.

Turn waiting time into relaxation
Instead of rushing through an over-the-top shopping mall snaking through the airport and limited seating options along with overpriced wireless, why not make the time between security and boarding a pleasant experience where users are in a mood to sample regional specialties and stock up on souvenirs. Take an example from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, which offers a free library and a museum featuring Rembrandt.

Integrated marketing
Instead of plastering the airport with billboards, allow visitors to interact with a brand. Waiting time could be spent at a Netflix Cinema or preparing your tablet for the flight in the Google Play Offline Store. Or build up on the fact that many travellers are returning from a trip to visit family members and would love to go back right away. Leverage this urge and set up a travel agency booth in corporation with the tourism board, a major airline and AirBnB.

Think ahead
Work together with the arrival airport and offer tickets for ground transportation or fast lane immigration. Arriving to an empty fridge? Why not work with Just-Eat (or the regional equivalent) and have pizza waiting when you come home. You could even inform the pizza company if your flight is delayed.

Airport API
Allowing third party providers to create apps and services based on information about security waiting times, bus schedules, flight trackers or retail coupon codes could spark additional innovation and a streamlined experience, all by simply creating a dedicated airport API.

At the bottom-line, the airports economic situation relies on the generated revenue. But by branching out and offering genuine service innovations along with a well-orchestrated marketing and retail platforms taking customers into account, efficiency can increase overall.

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Local-to-global beer retail

Snapshot Cover In the search of suitable sideproject I came up with an idea how to bridge the regional interest for digital startup culture with the urban hunger for quality craft beers. Aiming to start a low-key project I want to reverse the global pull for traditional regional brews with a local-to-global approach by starting to represent small privately-owned breweries online.

The project centers on a lifestyle blogzine representing the heritage, background and surrounding culture of the local brewery. The style is following A Restless Transplant in terms of outdoor affiliation and Hops Hysteria in terms of beer-related content. Stories will incorporate the current glossy Instagram look and be big on photography. Along with the blog, a shop system will be built in, allowing to link products directly and ensuring a stringent shopping experience using Geode WP Theme (see above).

The business model is based on exclusive retail rights for online and foreign distribution allowing for three income streams. This is possible through the current regional focus of the beer partners. The first income stream comes via direct sales. Secondly, breweries would be charged a small fee the digital marketing in the blog. The most interesting income could be derived by selling to bars globally being able to promise exclusivity in their area. Bars or restaurants would be the only ones selling this specific beer in the state, country or even continent. This feature, mixed with over 200 years of brewing tradition, could both drive interest and resell prices. And in the long-term help small private regional breweries like Held Bräu stop becoming part of the current brewery foreclosure trend.

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Popup Foodtruck

The interest in food trucks and original homemade American cuisine is no new trend in Germany and I have been a fan of traditional American food for over 10 years. However I always had the feeling that the typical hearty breakfast is still underrepresented next to all the burgers and taco trucks. Time for my own food truck.

Inspired by the exceptional variety of the Smorgasburg Food Market in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and the Streetfood Thursday at Markthalle 9 in Berlin, I started discussing options for a low budget food truck or stall serving American breakfast.

Inspired by a recent startup talk on gypsy brewing I looked into the possibility of adopting the principle to food sales. Gypsy brewing means using the equipment of existing breweries and in return giving up part of the profits. Shareconomy for beer brewing.

So why not rent a burger joint like Burgermeister from the early morning until early lunch time. The menu should be simple and feature a variety of on-the-go items such as breakfast burritos, waffle tacos, hash browns and egg sandwiches. Add coffee and 3 Euro combos are there to please the crowds returning from the party.

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Intro to the NYC Startup Scene

New York is one of the global hotspots for startups, so it was time to visit and experience the vibe first hand. And in an effort to learn about the local startup community I signed up for a General Assembly introduction meetup.

Not only did the meetup result in a great networking session but also provided substantial input for anybody playing with the idea of moving to NYC and working in the startupsector. Here is a quick overview for any adventure seeker.

First check out this map of startups hiring. Over 1500 business are looking for new people. Or go through VCs such as Accel Partners, Venrock, Founder Collective or First Round Capital which all offer plenty of opportunities and are eager to place you in one of their businesses. Of course Accelerators such as Techstar, Blueprint Health or Dreamit Ventures are no bad idea either.

Once you’re in the city check out all the great events and meetups to get in touch with the community. Networking events such as Uncubed, coworking spaces like WeWork or the Brooklyn Brainery which offers community-driven, crowdsourced education are all worth a visit. Or sign up for a General Assembly course to improve your entrepreneurial skills.

And for those thinking to start something themselves check out the local support structures like Coalition for Queens, promoting entrepreneurship in Queens.

 

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Convenience Store Start-Up

Nachdem ich einen interessanten Artikel (Absatz 5) über die besondere Rolle und das hervorragende Serviceangebot von Kiosken in Japan gelesen habe, hab ich mich gefragt warum man hier mit Ausnahme von Postdienstleistungen nur kühles Bier und Zigaretten bekommt.

In Japan kann man im 7-Eleven (und anderen Kiosken) auch Rechnungen (Strom, Gas, Wasser) zahlen, Banküberweisungen tätigen dazu Flug, Bus, Zug-Tickets buchen und ganz einfach seine Dokumente drucken. In Deutschland kann man gerade noch Postbus-Tickets kaufen.

Idee: Man entwickelt ein Start-Up, dass Spätis und Tankstellen mit der Soft- und Hardware für oben genannte Dienstleistungen ausstatten und als Vermittler und B2B Serviceprovider auftritt. Man etabliert ein sinnvolles IT System für Überweisungen/Buchungen etc., stattet Spätis mit Ipads/Terminals aus, schult die Betreiber und stellt Druckerterminals auf. Gerade bei den Druckerterminals als größere Investition bietet sich eine Partnerschaft mit HP oder anderer Druckerfirma an. Dazu entwickelt man ein sinnvolles Onlineinterface wo man vom zu Hause oder dem Smartphone per Drag/Drop Dateien auf das Druckerterminal schieben kann und dann vor Ort einfach ausdruckt indem man sich via Code einloggt.

Bei der Soft- und Hardware kann man sich direkt an Bezahlanbietern wie Orderbird, Square oder Sum-Up orientieren und muss lediglich eine ausgefeiltere Buchungs- und Bankingsoftware mit Funktion zum Beleg einscannen integrieren.

Zusätzliche Ansätze wären die Integration von Offline-Abwicklung für digitalen Bezahlmöglichkeiten so wie Barzahlen:  https://www.barzahlen.de oder eine Auflademöglichkeiten für iTunes- und Handykonten.

Zielgruppe: Einwohner mit Migrationshintergrund (kein eigenes Konto, Sprachbarriere bei Überweisung), Senioren und nicht internet-affine jüngere Zielgruppen (kein Onlinebanking, kein digitales Einkaufen) sowie Minimalisten ohne eigenen Drucker. Gerade die Diskrepanz zwischen der geringen Verbreitung von Kreditkarten in Deutschland und dem verstärkten Einkauf online bietet gute Entwicklungschancen.

Der Markt besteht aus Spätis, Kioske und Tankstellen, die wiederum die Soft- und Hardware einsetzen.

Eine gute Funding-Möglichkeit wäre ein „Equity for Media“ Model mit starkem Werbedruck auf klassischen Medien da die B2C Zielgruppe nicht digitalaffin ist.

Ein passender Name wäre Konbini (japanisch für Conveniece Store).

Mehr Info über die Zielgruppe (in US) und die Weiterentwicklung von Postfilialen.