AWS for Industries

AWS Travel and Hospitality Partner Conversations: Elenium

Ilya Gutlin, Chief Commercial Officer of Elenium joins David Solomito, Head of Global Marketing for AWS Travel and Hospitality, for a broad-ranging discussion around how AWS Partners are helping customers build resilience and prepare for what’s next in travel and hospitality.

During this unprecedented time for the industry, we have been inspired by the innovations that have been born out of disruption and will impact and improve the way we fly, eat, stay, and experience our world for years to come. Now more than ever, AWS wants to help customers succeed by connecting them to AWS Partners with deep AWS technical expertise and proven customer success to help travel and hospitality organizations build a resilient business and accelerate innovation. That’s why we’re honored to have Elenium as a launch member of the brand-new AWS Travel and Hospitality Partner Competency. You can also read a full case study on Elenium.

David Solomito: Describe your company, the types of travel and hospitality work you do, and key travel and hospitality clients.

Ilya Gutlin: Elenium was founded with the purpose of making the passenger journey seamless. Today, we serve some of the world’s busiest airports and national carriers delivering innovative solutions into an industry that is often burdened by legacy technologies.  As a 5-year-old company, we are young enough to innovate without legacy handcuffs while still boasting a team with decades of experience within the Air Transport Industry. Our solutions work seamlessly with existing infrastructure, for example our CUSS platform enables the integration of biometrics enrolment and recognition without needing any modification to the airline applications.  We combine a wealth of experience, working with airlines, airports and service providers, with people that live and breathe the latest available technologies resulting in solutions that unravel the issues of passenger flow management in airports. In a testament to our approach and abilities, in just 5 short years Elenium has been able to supply over 700 kiosks to some of the most demanding airports in Asia Pacific, including Hong Kong, Sydney and Auckland.

DS: Many companies across travel and hospitality have been managing through a period of unprecedented disruption. What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced during this recent period and how have you helped clients manage through them?

IG: Early on we had concerns about COVID’s impact on the Aviation industry and made a conscious decision to build on the investments that we made in touchless technology (making self-service more intuitive for differently abled individuals) and quickly moving into Vital Sign Detection.  This meant understanding the nuances of health screening, the fear businesses and people felt and creating a new product line with the best possible components and technology.  We also needed  a different way to distribute – certifying value added partners around the world. The Elenium team came together to make this a success.

DS: It’s been an incredibly difficult time for travel and hospitality companies, but we’ve seen many companies investing for the long run. With all the uncertainty, why has your company chosen to invest in travel and hospitality at this time?

IG: Aviation is a safety-first industry and because of this culture, there are very few major changes that occur in the industry – it is more of an evolutionary, rather than a revolutionary process.  Until a major disruption happens and then change occurs much quicker, favoring companies that are nimble.  Reviewing the passenger self-service process, we have invested into two directions, both leveraging AWS – that the future of self-service is touchless, and that health of passengers and staff will be a lot more important.

1. Touchless – Making the airport self-service process end-to-end multi-channel touchless became our focus. Our patent pending innovations like voice interaction, movement detection and remote passport recognition added value to the passenger experience.

2. Vital Sign Detection –a brand-new product and direction for the company due to the pandemic. It allows our clients to keep all the stakeholders reassured and safe with no intrusion to their privacy.  We have filed for Government certifications in several jurisdictions, on our way to becoming a medical device company.

DS: In the face of the current disruption to the travel and hospitality industry, we’ve observed incredible innovations coming from across the industry. How has your company innovated through these challenging times on behalf of your customers and what are you most proud of?

IG: The effort done by the team during these few months has been nothing short of incredible.  We started with a PowerPoint concept in late March, manufactured and shipped our first units in the first half of May, were shipping dozens of them by June.  In September we started to undergo certification processes in 3 different jurisdictions and in October finished our 2nd generation product, at the same time as we were setting up a value added reseller program around the world and as Victoria was shut in the world’s longest lockdown. “Proud” seems like an understatement for what the team achieved.

DS: The travel and hospitality industry is incredibly resilient. As you look toward recovery, what role does technology play for your company moving forward? How do you see technology enhancing the customer experience and improving operational efficiency?

IG: Aviation is riddled with processes that were designed and implemented decades ago and can be highly inefficient.  For the time being and until the industry bodies have the audacity to change these processes, technology is a good way to remove the complexity for passengers and staff. Technology will also give us confidence to travel again, knowing that future illnesses can be screened for rather than allowed to spread in an uncontrolled manner as we have just experienced.

DS: How does building on AWS allow you to prepare for whatever the “new normal” in travel and hospitality will look like? How does the new AWS Travel and Hospitality Partner Competency help companies do the same?

IG: AWS gives us the technical foundation to build our solutions for airports, airlines and health entry screening in hospitality.  They are also a partner who we can debate with, bounce our ideas off and help us continue to globalise our business through their trusted relationships.

DS: What makes you excited for the future of travel and hospitality? As a traveler or guest, where are you looking forward to visiting next?

IG: I have been traveling for more than 30 years, first alone, then with my wife and now with our four kids.  Travel has changed during that time.  The current pandemic allows the industry to re-think the travel model, making it both accessible and sustainable so that we can pass on the pleasure of adventure and discovery to the new generation while maintaining the beauty of the world for them.

Ilya brings with him over 25 years of experience in creating, energising and leading multi-disciplinary teams, implementing change and digital transformation. He is a strong advocate that a combination of people leadership and technology remain the keys to success and thrives on driving positive change in customer experience. He brings a different frame of reference to his clients and challenges their thinking and status quo for great results.
Ilya is based in Singapore.

Learn more and team up with AWS Travel and Hospitality Competency Partners.

Learn more about how Elenium is using AWS.

See more Partner Conversations and industry insights on the AWS Travel and Hospitality Blog.

David Solomito

David Solomito

David Solomito leads marketing as part of the global AWS Travel and Hospitality team. Prior to AWS, he’s overseen various initiatives for diverse brands including American Express, BMW, KAYAK, The National Basketball Association, and OpenTable. He enjoys supporting the travel and hospitality industry in his spare time as well — mostly through exploring new cities and restaurants.