Hoping to Get a Good Deal Online for your Next Holiday? A*STAR Data Storage Institute Unveils Smart Big Data Software for Tourism Sector

Singapore’s Data Storage Institute (DSI), a research institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) has developed a big data software that enables travel companies and hotels to tap the growth potential of online travel bookings.

Fuelled by the rise of the internet-savvy middle class and prolific use of mobile web, mobile travel bookings are expected to triple by 2013.

A key factor that has inhibited the profit growth of travel companies is the high look-to-book ratio, determined by the number of clicks and eyeballs on travel websites by holidaymakers who conduct numerous price comparisons to sieve out the best travel deals before making final reservations. Based on global booking trends, look-to-book ratios have been rising exponentially. Search requests range from checks on airfare and hotel availabilities, customer records and sales-related transactions. Travel websites have implemented aggressive marketing tactics such as price bidding, live chats with travel agents and imaging functions to give previews of travel destinations, underscoring the stiff competition in the online travel market. This has led to the explosion of data which places strains on conventional IT and data management technologies not equipped to effectively capture, store, manage and analyse the massive volumes of data, different formats used by various players and quick real-time delivery.

DSI’s big data technology can also be extended to the hospitality sector for business insights. Through an ongoing partnership with five hotels and Fujitsu, DSI will jointly develop a hotel booking application to create greater efficiencies in business operations and raise staff productivity. By collating travel information requests, event searches, points of interests, and geo-location data on mobile devices, hotel managers will be able to tap on the business intelligence obtained to improve the overall service quality of the hotel. This application will be deployed on Fujitsu’s Global Cloud Platform, a highly reliable and cost-efficient enterprise-class infrastructure capable of handling large volumes of data with the flexibility needed for future expansion.

Analysing large data sets, referred to as big data, creates opportunities for businesses to improve operational efficiency and profitability. Managers will be able to make more precise forecasting, planning and decision making. The information technology, electronics and finance sectors can benefit from the use of big data, an emerging market estimated to grow from $3.2 billion in 2010 to $16.9 billion in 2015, according to International Data Corporation.

A technology development study conducted by DSI researchers found that a significant amount of transactional data exchanges on travel booking and reservation information were duplicates. Based on this finding, DSI researchers designed an intelligent software that operates on in-memory compute grid technology, smart cache mechanisms, context-aware algorithms and commodity servers to enable reduction of workloads, quick searches and interpretation of large pools of data collected which are indexed based on time-stamps.

In the face of budget cuts on information technology infrastructure and increasing demands on processing capabilities, the high performance architecture will help companies reduce data volumes transacted by cache and manage the influx of real-time data. This alleviates the need for expensive new equipment to handle more data, thereby enjoying cost savings. Tapping on just two server nodes, the software is capable of processing real-time travel data to achieve 500 transactions per second with only 200 milliseconds in latency. The core data and cache engine that drives the algorithms are designed to help online travel players achieve a significantly lower look-to-book ratio by using data management features to intelligently cache information requests.

“DSI’s technology has turned today’s big data challenges into opportunities, enabling companies to gain a competitive edge by helping them extract valuable insights from the avalanche of information created by mobile devices. Our successful partnerships with key industry players in the travel sector have demonstrated the software’s ability to capitalise on big data and improve sales through accurate operational intelligence. We are currently exploring new capabilities to benefit more industries as they boost efforts to drive productivity and innovation,” said Dr Pantelis Alexopoulos, DSI’s Executive Director.

The research team has filed a US Provisional Application on managing travel data transactions to optimise look-to-book ratios. The breakthrough technology will be unveiled at the Implementing Information Infrastructure symposium at Fairmont Singapore Hotel on 29 June 2012. The event is co-organised by Computerworld and Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA).

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About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)

A*STAR is the lead agency for fostering world-class scientific research and talent for a vibrant knowledge-based and innovative-driven Singapore. A*STAR oversees 14 biomedical sciences, and physical sciences and engineering research institutes, and seven consortia & centres, which are located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis, as well as their immediate vicinity.

A*STAR supports Singapore's key economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to its partners in industry. It also supports extramural research in the universities, hospitals, research centres, and with other local and international partners.

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About the Data Storage Institute (DSI)

The Data Storage Institute (DSI) is a member of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Established in 1992 as the Magnetics Technology Centre (MTC), it was renamed Data Storage Institute in 1996. The research institute's vision is to be a vital node in a global community of knowledge generation and innovation, nurturing research talents and capabilities for world-class R&D in next generation storage technologies.

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Media Enquiries
Data Storage Institute (DSI)
Ms Melissa Loh
Assistant Manager, Corporate Communications
Tel: 6874 6852
Email: [email protected]

Published: 26 Jun 2012

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http://www.a-star.edu.sg. Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
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