KLM - Tech & Data

Uncovering the Mysteries of BlueLabs

Technology develops at lightning speed. We want to investigate which technologies add value to accelerate the KLM processes and improve products for our customers. That’s why we have BlueLabs. To act as a ‘radar’ for technological developments that are known in the outside world but are not yet used or are used to a limited extent at KLM.

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What is BlueLabs?

At BlueLabs, we experiment with new technologies to accelerate KLM and improve our customer products, thus empowering our colleagues and enabling more intelligent solutions. We aim to inspire and innovate with the latest technologies and work in co-creation towards new services and processes for KLM operational and commercial departments. These innovations can be anything from augmented reality to improvements in hybrid working environments. After a successful match, we focus to embed these technologies with the business in their domain.

What kind of opportunities can you find here?

KLM needs to accelerate its technological innovation engine to run a great airline for our customers and to transform to a net positive sustainable airline for the 21st century. Creating technological advancement is a critical pillar in KLM’s vision for the future. The BlueLabs team always works in close collaboration with the operational and commercial teams, we experiment with new technologies and when successful, we embed them in the business domains. Our multidisciplinary team enables optimised knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer in an environment that is focused on co-creation.

BlueLabs works together with the Regional Jet Center. The team experimented with the latest technology provided by Apple on AR, Machine Learning and Voice. This has been successful and resulted in a product, that is now transferred to a product team. The combination of these techniques offers the engineers of the Regional Jet Center an easier and faster work process. They could access relevant information faster and with more ease.

We focus on creating impactful technological solutions with a high value for KLM
- Giordana Mendola

What impact does BlueLabs have on the organisation?

We focus on creating impactful technological solutions with a high value for KLM. BlueLabs aims to be an integral part of the organisation with its experiments, instead of a self-contained laboratory. We prioritize our technological experiments based on the joint commitment and the KLM-related departmental strategy. We bring in outside expertise through collaborations with external partners and universities.

Digital Twin is one of the technological solutions we currently investigate with our key partners. This is a virtual model designed to reflect a physical object accurately. We outfit the physical object with sensors related to vital areas of functionality. These sensors produce data about different aspects of the physical object’s performance. We relay this data to a processing system and apply it to the digital copy.

With this data, we can run simulations on the virtual model. We can study performance issues and generate possible improvements. All these valuable insights can then be applied back to the original physical object.

BlueLabs mission is to become the bird's-eye view of the company. We can start experiments in one department that can also be used in other departments. We try to optimise these experiments and raise cross-departmental awareness. This way, multiple departments can benefit from the results and take ownership of the new technology.

What are the challenges BlueLabs face?

It’s essential to focus not only on the technology, but also on its adaption. So, you need an outside technology scouting antenna. But just as important; you require organisational sensitivity, a drive for innovation and know who the internal customers are. The technologies you scout need to solve business problems.

You have the drive and energy to go through the various stages of gathering insights and running ideation sessions. You can experiment with several minimal viable solutions (MVS) and when successful, scale them within the business domain.

What’s the best thing about working at BlueLabs?

BlueLabs is a new department at KLM, and we are still exploring how we can shape ourselves. Our goal is to support all departments in their acceleration of technological innovation. BlueLabs is a multidisciplinary team, and we work close together with partners to see what is out there in the world.

We need a multidisciplinary team of scouts, matchmakers, explorers, co-creators, stimulators, and facilitators. BlueLabs is a department where you can adapt how we move forward as you see fit. We allow to fail fast and learn faster. Failure is part of your work. You need to fail to learn for new experiments. We always celebrate our successes. Because in the end, these successes benefit the entire company.

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