The data jigsaw puzzle of traveller safety

You can always spot a business traveller, they’re the person that knows where the best seat on the plane is, the best airport bars and which line to join at passport control in certain airports because it will be the quickest.

They’re the people that can confirm that in-flight Wi-Fi can be good, work on their laptop despite the size limitations of the pull down tray and they know every trick in the book for maximising their frequent flyer reward points.

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Business travellers are adaptive. But no matter how often they fly, or how frequently they may visit certain cities each year, there are certain incidents they simply can’t prepare for.

In today’s major cities and business hubs, it is the sad and unfortunate reality that there is a constant threat of violence.

In the last months alone, there have been attacks in London, Paris and Stockholm – all places that millions of people visit for work each year.

When incidents like these take place, even if an individual has visited the city numerous times before, they can lose all familiarity with their location as the city goes into lock down, police are deployed and emergency procedures activated.

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For the business traveller, thoughts go from ‘how do I get to my next meeting’ to ‘where can I find a safe place?’ What happens in the seconds, minutes and hours after an incident occurs are all important for the safety of the traveller, the peace of mind of their family and also their employer.

For the latter, there is a legislative requirement that they implement processes in order to educate and protect workers that travel abroad to prepare them for such a scenario.

Staff that travel regularly must be briefed on the correct procedures should a terror-related incident take place. This knowledge about what to do and where to go in such a scenario is highly beneficial.

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But the onus is far from just on the employee to act as a sponge, soaking up knowledge about processes. Companies have a responsibility to act fast when they know something has happened and that an employee is within close proximity to an incident.

For example, technology exists that can pinpoint someone’s location in a city where an attack has taken place based on factors such as their Outlook calendar, their itinerary, the last restaurant they used their company card at, where they last got out of an Uber, Lyft or MyTaxi, and when their flight leaves.

The key to this jigsaw puzzle is data. More specifically the right data, that maximises visibility and empowers businesses to take proactive action.

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Data that can immediately decipher if someone is safe or not, based on their approximate location to an area where an incident has taken place – particularly if communication networks go down.

If you’re reading this thinking that this all seems a bit well, over the top, in 2016 we issued more than 10 million alerts notifying business travellers of potential risks and the number of users receiving alerts increased by 770%.

Whether we like it or not, the world isn’t changing, it’s changed. This is a fact that cannot be ignored, but one that needs to be proactively addressed through proactive communication capabilities and assistance coordination.

Businesses must ensure the right processes are put in place and the best technology harnessed to ensure the safety and welfare of business travellers everywhere.


Sourced to Chris Baker, MD, UK enterprise at Concur


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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