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SAP and Lufthansa: Digitalization Takes Flight

Feature Article | May 10, 2017 by Cornelia Weiss-Justen

Innovation doesn’t just happen on the ground. On the flight to Orlando for SAPPHIRE NOW, Lufthansa and SAP will hold a pre-event conference on topics including artificial intelligence and the future of work — all at around 30,000 feet.

In the first joint project between the innovation arms of SAP and Lufthansa, the two companies are collaborating on Lufthansa FlyingLab to reach “New Heights with Innovation.” Lufthansa Digital Innovations and SAP Innovation Center Network are designing an in-flight conference program.

Hosts Torsten Wingenter, senior director of Digital Innovations at Lufthansa, and Upen Barve, head of the Customer Strategy and Experience for SAP Innovation Center Network, will be at Frankfurt Airport to welcome the passengers to a corresponding gate event. Innovation starts with the sharing of ideas, after all.

“We’re excited to be working with Lufthansa on offering a glimpse of the future of digitalization on this special flight,” affirms Juergen Mueller, chief innovation officer at SAP. “We will provide a lot of food for thought.”

Lufthansa FlyingLab is an open innovation platform that the airline uses to show customers what digitalization can do. To date, Lufthansa has cleared three FlyingLabs for takeoff: one on the future of travel and virtual reality on its service to San José, California; one for Fashion Week on a flight to New York; and one for the South by Southwest (SXSW) digital conference in Austin, Texas. Each FlyingLab theme reflects the event taking place at the respective destination.

The key feature of Lufthansa FlyingLab is its conference component. Speakers on board will share their insights: Martin Wezowski of SAP will discuss the future of work; Teemu Arina, author and biohacker, will talk about how to upgrade and biohack travel habits; and Ingrid Rothe of RSB Partners will ask whether robots are the future of work.

Passengers will take in a live video stream and access the presentation slides over a dedicated FlyingLab WiFi connection on board the 747-400. This network can be used with any WiFi-enabled personal device such as a laptop, smartphone, or tablet, and will be installed specifically for the FlyingLab flight. During the presentations, passengers will also be able to send questions to the speaker from their devices. This means they’ll be able to engage in a live dialog with the speakers even as they enjoy a unique conference atmosphere 30,000 feet above the Atlantic.

The New Heights with Innovation project shows once again how two major companies can innovate and bring the best of the digital opportunities to all businesses and consumers.

“It’s all about experience and thought leadership,” says SAP’s Upen Barve, who is excited to drive the collaboration with Lufthansa Digital Innovations. “The joint project team is looking forward to an inspirational start!”

The Lufthansa FlyingLab for SAPPHIRE NOW takes off on flight LH 464 from Frankfurt to Orlando on May 15, 2017.

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