News | Distribution | TechnologyKDS opts for the red pill, opens up Neo with major upgradeThis article was originally published onBy Linda Fox | June 12, 2015 Remember Neo? Not of The Matrix fame, but the door-to-door travel and expense system from KDS first unveiled about two years ago.Well, it has grown up, according to the company after unveiling latest developments to the technology in Paris this week.At the time of its launch, Neo was considered quite ground-breaking, with its door-to-door approach to the trip, consumer-like features and expense integration.The latest guise, Neo Reloaded, focuses on the user experience and making search more personalised.It also aims to learn as it goes along and suggest options based on previous choices as well as peer preferences, with hotels for example.KDS examined how it is being used to find gaps according to technology boss Fred Stark. The company learned, for example, that users were carrying out the same search several times but only changing the meeting time.To get around this without making the user experience more complicated, the company lets travellers decide what's important to them by setting the trip according to when they want to leave home, when their train or plane departs or when they need to arrive at a meeting.A claim from KDS vice president Oliver Quayle that it's the "only corporate tool that cares what time you get home" might be a bit of a stretch but it's a step in the right direction in terms of the user experience.Important to note that the trips compiled by Neo are policy-compliant as well as mindful of supplier agreements and user preferences.The company also looked at what happened when travellers didn't book the trip and it was usually down to the hotel so it enhanced the system to offer options based on behaviour in the past 12 months or that of colleagues.Other companies in travel management have also been developing similar more personalised features such as Egencia which unveiled its predictive search tool about a year ago.Enhancements to Neo was one of the announcements during KDSNow which was generally themed around faster, easier and smarter travel.Another was centred on Neo Move, a mobile and Apple Watch application, to help travellers during the trip. The app will be available later this year and aims to provide users with information on gate, security queues, location of fellow travellers, boarding card, transfer details and help with changes.Further developments are coming to Neo including a prototype, dubbed Neo Solo, which enables travellers to book just the flight or hotel.Speaking during the KDSNow event chief executive Dean Forbes describes the developments as: "...extending (Neo) to address other popular use cases."Share this quote Depending on the success of Neo Solo in beta testing next month, the functionality will be released in the first quarter of next year.KDS also unveiled a content hub for developers enabling third party suppliers to access documentation, APIs and code to link into Neo and work with KDS customers.Talking of suppliers and the rapid growth of companies such as Airbnb and Uber, Forbes says: "We know supplier choice and content is absolutely key. One of the biggest reasons travellers stray outside of the programme is content. "There's a solid and growing business community using their services so we need to find a way (to integrate them) so we are not left behind."Share this quote Developers can also test their content using the newly created Neo Play service. Neo Play, powered by Sabre, allows anyone to sign-up and trial the Neo technology.The thinking behind opening up Neo to anyone is clever in that it allows potential users and their employers to "roadtest" the technology.NB: Reporter's travel to KDSNow was supported by KDS.