Changes

Zat LLC has some changes to announce. Wm Leler has been recruited by Google to work on some very exciting products and is moving to California to start work there in June.

This means that we will not be developing additional new products for Zat, but if you want to purchase one of Zat’s existing products, they are still available. All products come with full source code.

If you are an existing customer and need support, Wm will be available to answer questions (in his spare time). If you have a problem with the flight data feed from FlightStats, you should contact them directly at helpdesk@flightstats.com.

It has been very exciting to work on visualizing real-time travel data, and we believe that this field will only continue to grow. More exciting things to come!

We’ve made a lot of friends (like you) in the travel industry, and hope to stay in touch.

Sarena Regazzoni and Wm Leler
Co-founders Zat LLC

Are low expectations from airline passengers an opportunity for differentiation?

According Embery-Riddle Aeronautical University and Wichita State University, researchers who presented the 24th annual Airline Quality Rating (AQR), US airline performance in 2013 was the highest since 1991. There are four elements to the evaluation:

  • Involuntary denied boardings (getting bumped from flights)
  • Customer complaints (dropped a whopping 15%)
  • On-time performance
  • Baggage handling

The industry improved in two of the four elements: involuntary denied boardings and customer complaints. However, performance declined in 2013 for on-time performance, which was less than 80 percent for the group, and baggage handling. Despite an overall improvement on quality rating, it does not mean that customers are happy.

According to Dr. Brent Bowen, Dean of College Aviation and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, “Becaues airlines are solving operational issues and advancing in AQR elements, it is time to begin a new focus on serving travelers and expanding customer service. These results show that airlines that intend to do better, are doing better and improving. Those losing focus have declined.”

NPR calls this report a paradox with airlines running late more often and losing more suitcases, yet passengers are complaining less. They postulate low customer expectations as the reason for the paradoxical results.

Zat Thought: This paradox offers airlines who want to differentiate themselves from the competition the perfect environment to get noticed for the investment. Focus on service and make flying fun again.

Listen to the NPR story:

What is so cool about HTML5?

HTML5_Logo_256HTML5 is a term that you hear bandied about a lot lately but what is it, and why should you care? In short, customers expect to be able to experience advanced digital content such as video, audio, interactive multimedia, 3D, etc., regardless of the device they are using: mobile phone, tablet, desktop, or smart tv. HTML5 is the technology standard, supported for the first time by all major modern browsers, which means that users/customers can view and interact with content and the experience is consistent on all platforms.

What is HTML5?
Although it is a preferred standard by developers today, HTML5 is not new. It began in 2006 via cooperation between the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG).

They established some goals for HTML5 such as:

  • New features should be based on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • The need for external plugins (like Flash) should be reduced
  • Error handling should be easier than in previous versions
  • Scripting has to be replaced by more markup
  • HTML5 should be device-independent
  • The development process should be visible to the public

This collaboration gave rise to a technology standard that is preferred by web and application developers world wide. Here is what makes HTML5 so cool:

1) Development time is faster and less expensive
HTML5 is an evolutionary technology which gives developers the power to focus on designing applications and websites designed for the the latest browsers. This is revolutionary stuff because, developers can dig in and focus on developing the applications’ function and esthetics and not worry about the platform. By leveraging new tools development time is shortened and more cost-effective.

2) It’s the new standard
Developers want to use HTML5 to take advantage of the new features and flexibility. As a result of the modern browser support for HTML5 and the developer popularity, HTML5 has become the new standard in web development. Not only do developers support it, but it also has industry support from Internet browsers, and mobile vendors who look to deliver content/products to the mobile viewing device.

3) HTML5 unleashes new possibilities
HTML5 makes it possbile to wow your customers with visually appealing content regardless of the viewing device. With HTML5 developers can do animations and create amazing yet lightweight dynamic visual effects through CSS3 that were previously only possible via the proprietary and expensive solution Adobe Flash plugin. More importantly, previously you were not able to have your content viewable with devices that did not support Flash, such as iPhones. Now developers can leverage modern JavaScript API support for things like application storage, or geolocation, to create complete web-based applications through native HTML and CSS.

4) HTML5 lets brands communicate more effectively with customers
Let’s face it. Customers today expect to be able to use any device and have a good experience. As a brand, there is limited opportunity to make an impression. Anytime your customer has to figure out how to get your content, you’ve missed a chance to create a positive impression, get a like/share, or make a sale.

HTML5 helps companies get their content in the hands of all customers and that is why HTML5 is changing the web.

Carpets for airports?

Meeting the unmet need of bored travelers.

Meeting the unmet need of bored travelers.


Ever been bored out of your mind at an airport? Ever had a delay that kept you looking for something to do? Well, here is a suggestion: take a picture of the carpet and submit it to Carpets for Airports. The team there are helping the weary traveler notice and appreciate the art and psychological aspects of airport carpets complete with catchy, and (sometimes hilarious) descriptions.

The Carpet Photography Process:

1: Photograph the carpet from directly above.
2: Take a photo no matter how drab the carpet seems.
3: E-mail the photo to carpetsforairports@gmail.com

Odd as it sounds, there actually is something for everyone on the internet.

Snow and Ice storms make for another bad travel day

Winter weather going up the East Coast is continuing to hamper travelers. According to FlightStats, a provider of real-time flight information, over 6,000 flights have been cancelled today. It’s a tough travel day indeed.

Here is a visualization using Zat’s technology of what airline traffic looked like from this morning:

East coast storm responsible for cancelling thousands of flights.

East coast storm responsible for cancelling thousands of flights.


Here is a snapshot from Zat’s delay grid demonstrating delays affecting US airports.

Snapshot of delays affecting US Airports today.

Snapshot of delays affecting US Airports today.

Zat to share real-time data visualization capability at #DSE2014

Zat, a portland-based data visualization start up, will be on the road to the annual Digital Signage Expo (DSE) on February 11-13 in Las Vegas. Zat is excited to share its travel-oriented visualization products that use real-time dynamic data to enable better communication with travelers through imagery.

“We believe that companies that serve travelers need to make the traveling process more fun, interactive and memorable,” said, Zat President and Founder, Wm Leler. “Our products allow companies that serve travelers to inform, entertain, and create a better experience for them.”

Zat builds advanced customized web and mobile applications for visualizing dynamic, real-time data for a variety of markets. The company is leveraging new technologies designed for the web such as HTML 5, WebGL, d3.js, location, maps and real-time data APIs and libraries to build next generation digital content.

“For mobile applications, the small screen makes it a challenge to share lots of information in a usable, light-weight package, ” said David White, FlightStats Chief Customer Officer. “Zat’s visualizations help us deliver real-time flight data to mobile travelers in a fast, informative and interactive way. Our customer love to see flight locations on a map.”

For more information about Zat applications, or if you would like to meet Wm Leler at the Digital Signage Expo, please contact us.

Zat featured on Silicon Florist

Gotta love Portland’s Silicon Florist that features news about startup companies in Portland. As a former Oregon Entrepreneurs Network staffer, I get giddy at the thought of companies getting their start toward creating something new. I am also eternally impressed by the supportive community Portland, has to offer entrepreneurs. Cheers to entrepreneurship!

Here is an exerpt and link to the article.

Former FlightStats folks launch new Portland startup focused on data visualization, Zat.

Yes, yes. That company that provides all of the awesome data on where planes are at any given moment—FlightStats—is a Portland company. And while that’s interesting and all, what’s more interesting to me right now is that a couple folks from that company have carved off a new startup.

Read more

For a little more info about what we are about, view our video.

Zat technology used to create animation of airport delays during Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy clearly caused serious havoc on air travel in the US. According to FlightStats data, the hurricane caused the cancellation of 20,254 flights originating and arriving in North America between October 27th and November 1st.

The heat map is an animation of Hurricane Sandy’s impact on airports in the US looks like. This map shows — in red — flight delays and cancellations at US airports due to Hurricane Sandy. The delay data is provided by Flightstats.com and the weather is from NASA satellite data.

Providing real-time visualizations of flight cancellation and delays information is just one example of a service that Zat can offer companies who are looking for engaging solutions to provide their traveling customers.

Good article about maps in the NY Times

The New York Times has an interesting article about how maps are becoming more dynamic and interactive:

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/06/a-makeover-for-maps/

According to the head of Stamen Design (we use one of their maps in our products), “It doesn’t work if it’s not moving. It doesn’t work if you can’t touch it.”

We heartily agree, and look forward to being a major player in this revolution.

Snow storm on the east coast causes delays

Here’s an image showing massive flight delays on the east coast from a big storm there today:

Delay 2014-01-21 precip

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Red shows delays, both on airports and on routes. The rainbow colors show precipitation (rain and snow), with dark red being the worst.

Zat Celebrates First Client

Portland, OR – Zat LLC is pleased to announce their first customer World Travel Service who is using Zat’s Airport Tracker Map to keep their finger on the pulse of delays at some of the nation’s busiest airports.

World Travel Service is a privately-owned travel management travel company based in Knoxville, Tennessee. They are an agency dedicated to business travel. They seek to give their associates the latest tools and technologies they need to transform data into insight, and better manage travel outcomes for their clients.

Zat’s Airport Tracker enables World Travel Service to quickly monitor trouble spots during a travel day and shows World Travel Service’s commitment to outstanding customer service.