Lufthansa Innovation Hub and SAP.iO Foundries have launched the Aviation Blockchain Challenge to draw attention to the potential of blockchain technology in the aviation industry. The point of the challenge is to uncover groundbreaking ideas in different application areas and initiate concrete pilot projects. Entrants should create a new blockchain-based solution that optimizes the traveler experience and makes airline processes, supply chains, and maintenance workflows smoother and better networked.

Gleb Tritus, managing director of the Lufthansa Innovation Hub, explains the motivation behind the Blockchain Challenge in an interview.

Why did you decide to focus on blockchain technology?
The “peak of inflated expectations” is slowly, but surely coming to an end and blockchain is starting to generate value. While many industries have found their first use cases, the im-pact on the aviation sector is not noticeable yet. We want to change that together with SAP and see substantial potential in our industry to utilize blockchain and other plays of decen-tralized networks.

Why did Lufthansa partner up with SAP?
Unsurprisingly, SAP is a front runner and true global player when it comes to software technologies. Therefore, we believe that we have found the perfect partner for the Aviation Blockchain Challenge to complement our profound aviation knowledge with a compelling tech background and tangible blockchain expertise. Furthermore, we are impressed by the bandwidth of innovation activities within the SAP organization, especially SAP.iO. This is a great breeding ground to rethink how business is done in industries like ours.

What are the expectations from the partnership?
To put it simply, we believe that the partnership of two multinational industry leaders with a strong R&D culture delivers the best possible framework to attract relevant talent on a global scale. We can give them all the support they need in order to take their blockchain project to a relevant level.

What are the desired outcomes?
First of all, we are looking for a great variety of inspiring and groundbreaking blockchain ideas across the whole aviation value chain. It is crucial to “filter the noise” and to find the right starting point where blockchain can deliver clear value. The rest is up to a pilot pro-ject that we certainly would love to facilitate together with SAP. The best-case result would be a blockchain-based solution that fits certain aspects of our IT agenda and infrastructure, our strategic focus areas regarding digitization, and has a potential to scale and create clear bottom-line impact.

How will the partnership play out long-term?
The participants will receive valuable feedback from seasoned aviation, business model-ling, ideation, and blockchain experts, both from Lufthansa Group and SAP during the eval-uation and especially the mentoring phase after the selection.

The best entrants will have the chance to pitch their ideas at the Lufthansa Group Innova-tion Forum in October 2018 at Lufthansa Group headquarters in Frankfurt. (Travel expens-es will be on Lufthansa.)  Applicants may compete in three categories. The Traveler Chal-lenge seeks solutions along the entire travel chain that offer clear added value for travelers, from booking and purchasing flights to loyalty programs and identification at the airport. The Airline Challenge seeks improvements in airline-specific operations and associated processes. For example, entrant could offer a solution that optimizes data sharing across company and departmental boundaries. Lastly, the Supplier Challenge calls for ideas that rethink maintenance aspects of the aviation supply chain, from document tracking and dig-itization to the transparent verifiability of documentation.

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