Wiki wiki – The power of “super fast” information

Have any of you been to the Brisbane Airport lately? It is a hive of hustle and bustle, like any other airport in a  major city. People are focused solely on their next move and achieving it as soon as is humanly possible.`

What next move?  Well for a start:

  • Connecting flights
  • Car hire
  • Shuttle bus, that is supposed to be running on time
  • Limo driver that should be waiting as you exit
  • Air train that should be running on time

I have been to the Brisbane Airport recently and it is a *big place*. It strikes me that in order to ascertain information on any of the above examples you have to move to multiple places, see multiple people, and often wait in long, long lines for a long, long time.

In 2012 is this really good enough? Shouldn’t this information be available at our fingertips? I discussed most of us being armed to the teeth with technology in my last blog. Can’t we utilise this plethora of tech to minimize aching feat, headaches and frustration? Yeah, I think we can.

Enter the wiki.

The term “wiki” comes from the Hawaiian phrase, “wiki wiki,” which means “super fast.” That’s right, super fast, as in now, as in at your finger tips. Want to make commuters 1000 times happier? Make it easy for them to get the information they want, when they want it, with very little effort. How? Let everyone contribute, let the wiki evolve, let everyone concerned be a part of it.

Enter an airport specific wiki.

Imagine, you step off the plane, pull out your tablet and instantly know where you are going. Oh, Avis has actually run out of Rental cars? Ok, no problem, you head over to Hertz instead. Your connecting flight has been delayed? You head directly to the Qantas club for a well earned rest. The shuttle bus has broken down? But what about your connecting flight?! The worry dissipates as you finish reading the sentence explaining that the airport has booked cabs for affected commuters to get to the international terminal on time. That it is simply a matter of showing your boarding pass to the cab drivers in region A.

Knowledge is power, and happy commuters are commuters that feel empowered, not commuters that are stumbling around in an unfamiliar abyss trying to find their bearings.

The challenge?

The above information could be available on any tablet or smartphone with different clickable areas, completely free of charge by utilizing airport wi-fi. However, what if the information is not up to date? What if the information is inaccurate? Could this be worse than not having it at all? Most certainly, absolutely, unquestionably yes. Then you would have this sort of situation, which is in this day and age, for a respectable enterprise, simply not an option – not if you want to retain users.

So, they are going to need to do it right, the first time. If Brisbane Airport considered the benefits a wiki like this could provide there would be ample motivation to keep it up-to-the-second accurate.

The benefits:

  • Far less ‘information’ personnel required to be wandering the airport
  • People would be more likely to spend money at the airport because they would be in better moods because they feel empowered.
  • It’s free advertising – providing this information electronically means room for well placed, tasteful advertisements or ‘deals’ for consumers.
  • Airports could charge their many subsidiaries to place ads that would attract custom within the wiki
  • Running like clockwork – less confusion, less delays, faster movement? Could this open the door to more flights being available? The airport would effectively be streamlining its operation.

The balancing act

This is one of those ideas that is going to be either ultra successful, or fail miserably depending on the way the implementation strategy is handled. In the beginning, it should be all for the consumers (customers), information just because Brisbane Airport cares. 

The National Federation of Independent Business warns that if you push too soon for gains that will eventually come from introducing new innovation the following occurs:

  • You start choosing quantity over quality
  • Your clients (commuters) feel undeserved
  • Your vendors and partners feel overwhelmed and under appreciated

Balance, Balance, Balance!

Make the change first because it is a good idea that will actually benefit commuters. Realise benefits will come in time, and appreciate as with most social media these benefits can be cascading and take time to emerge as discussed in my previous blog about enterprise 2.0 ROI.

So, tell me readers… would you appreciate a wiki like this being available? How long do you think something like this would have to be successfully operational before advertisements or special offers could be introduced?

I look forward to your comments!


3 thoughts on “Wiki wiki – The power of “super fast” information

  1. Hi Adam,
    I could already visualize how the wiki would work out, you reach the Brisbane airport and there’s a notification on the tablet to accept the WiFi terms of use then forwards it the customer to the wiki when its done. It would redoubtably be handy if it had maps and any information relevant to the airport on the day (since as you pointed out airports are large places and people such as myself who visit them get lost).

    I think implementing it and keeping it up to date daily based on specials or vendor status could be a bit difficult though. The airport may need to encourage the vendors to take care of that themselves. What ya think? Also I think in modern day people naturally “take-to” technology such as wiki’s. Once its implemented with enough information it would probably be worth updating it with vendor info.

    Thanks for the read.

  2. Hi Adam,

    Your idea sounds fantastic! As a frequent domestic flyer, I can not even fully express the number of problems I have faced at the Brisbane Airport including long queues and extensive waiting times to get information, only to find out the same information the previous two people in line were told. The simplicity and ease of placing all my troubles into a Wikipedia page sounds very refreshing.

    Unfortunately, I think it would be a large target for people with a lot of spare time on their hands, who spend their days abusing Wikipedia pages purely for their entertainment (I am still unaware how this could be entertaining, but each to their own, I suppose). Other implications could come from keeping the page frequently up-to-date, and whether or not users would really take a few moments of their chaotic time at the airport to post updates.

    Despite the issues, I still think it would be worth a shot!


  3. Hi Adam, interesting post. Getting off the plane and having up-to-date info regarding transport and how to transfer to the domestic terminal is important, as well as directions to an accommodation booking counter for those that didn’t manage to book pre-trip.

    I don’t think advertising on the wiki is a great idea though as many passengers will be time poor and will not be interested in wading through content. Links through to social media would be beneficial, as passengers can then opt in to participate in an environment they are more familiar with if they want more info on deals, specials etc. As you mentioned, it is important to find a balance.

    I would appreciate a wiki that is purely informative that gets me in and out as quick as possible. anything more than that would be more successful coming through other channels.

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