Saturday, 18 March 2017 15:12

Boosting revenue, efficiency aim of hackathon: CEO

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AirAsia Group chief executive Tony Fernandes says he has just one criterion by which to measure the success or otherwise of the hackathon that his company is hosting in Kuala Lumpur today: whether it yields ideas that lead to a boost in revenue or efficiency.

The hackathon, under the name AirVolution 2017, brings together 20 teams from a number of Asian countries, to code a solution to a problem put forward by AirAsia.

In response to a query, Fernandes told the media this morning that he had no idea of expanding the hackathon to also include a general section for students or others.

The idea of having such an event was to bring digital solutions to bear more and more on an airline which he claimed was a pioneer in using digital means to grow.

He said AirAsia was the first to do bookings only through the Web, among the first to indulge in expanded use of social media and wanted to continue to on the path of being what he called a digital airline.

fernandes big

Tony Fernandes: bringing digital solutions to bear on AirAsia.

He said the IP developed during the hackathon would be owned by AirAsia, adding that he was open to the idea of licensing it to other companies down the line.

Asked whether the process of continuous digitalisation would lead to job cuts, Fernandes said he was not inclined to go down that path.

He said, in part, the hackathon was decided on to also educate his own staff that they could use digital tools to do their own functions much better.

In this connection, he mentioned the case of his own communications department which was using the same data that it had earlier to do much by making others know what they were doing.

As to what could grow out of the hackathon, Fernandes said one possibility was the creation of incubators to help grow some of the ideas that came out of the event.

Asked about the cost of hosting such an event, he said it would come in below half a million ringgit (below A$146,332).

The writer is attending the hackathon as a guest of AirAsia.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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