On demand | Elevate 2022

Industry collaboration: Design teams forge the path to offers and orders

Session details


ATPCO design teams of airlines, channels, and system providers chart the course for the future of airline retailing. Join this session to see an example!

Hear from active design team members who are defining how we, as an industry, will evolve to the new world of offers and orders.


David: Yes, I know that we're the panel between you and lunch, so we will make it engaging and certainly Elevate before lunch. So, our industry experts. We are a unique community, of course. One that I've had the pleasure of working in for the last 29 years now. From revenue accounting to taxation commercial data fees to pricing and now to standards. 

So, I'm David Smith. I'm an accountant, I'm business economist by trade, and I look after ATPCO standards and governance program. And that incorporates our councils and our design teams that you've heard so much about that move the industry forward one standard at a time. 

And you've heard yesterday from Alex and Tom about ATPCO’s commitment to industry outcomes and that's about putting our success in lockstep with the industry as we move towards dynamic offers, new distribution capability, modern attribute shopping presentation, and seamless order servicing, and settlement, of course. 

And today you'll hear about how our effort is moving ahead now and how you can get more involved and we really hope you will by the end of this session. Today, we'll talk about a pragmatic approach to airline offers and orders, and we all know the vision is a really exciting one, as we navigate new and more dynamic ways of creating offers, new methods of distribution such as servicing all within the context of emerging from a pandemic, and the economic and regulatory constraints of the last couple of years that we've all felt. 

We'll talk about practical steps that the industry is taking right now through ATPCO’s modern agile collaboration framework to move that vision forward in an interoperable and in a tangible way. I like to frame it in two ways to give context before introducing our panel. 

So, firstly, we've articulated very clearly the steps in the supply chain, and that's the life cycle of the offer and the order if you like, into meaningful and understandable disciplines. 

These are our councils—offer content, distribution infrastructure, offer presentation, customer care, and settlement. 

And we asked our councils to guide us on top priority themes in each of those five areas and we've sparked up design teams—that’s what this panel is about—under each of those priority themes. 

It's a really interesting data point to me that the top priority by council every year that we ask in the survey is “drive forward existing pricing initiatives, do the things that are on a product development plan, so that we can make that transition, we can evolve, and, as Alex said earlier today, try something now.” 

Secondly, we're facilitating these open design teams. They are open to the ATPCO community. You'll have heard of one that Alex announced yesterday that will be open beyond the ATPCO customer community, which that is an exciting evolution as well. And that brings new items rapidly and transparently into our intake. 

It's a very transparent intake so everyone can see what's happening, and these are these are testing ideas that resonate with the industry, and it essentially makes sure we're acting fast, accurately, and on the things that will scale to an industry level. And that's to evolve our proprietary standards and data that create those outcomes that take us towards that future vision and make that vital transition towards offers and orders. 

So, joining me on stage today, I'd like to introduce our panel of experts for some real talk about what these design teams doing and how they're moving the needle. All three of them are friends and they are long-time colleagues, and they are well-versed in working as an industry community towards impactful outcomes. 

So, thank you so much to all three of you for joining me on stage. Can you just give a quick introduction to who you are, your company, and where you fit into ATPCO Design Teams? And, Josephine, we’ll start with you. 

Josephine: Thank you so much, David. I'm very happy to be here. I'm Josephine Husson. I'm senior expert in a medium specialized in pricing area. I'm participating to a lot of different ATPCO design team, with a special attention to everything that will help our customer, airline, and distribution to better serve their passenger, but as well to solve issues there are right now. 

David: Excellent, thank you, Josephine and over to you Sebastien. 

Sebastien: So thank you very much, David. My name is Sebastien Nicola from Lufthansa group. I have new management and pricing. I'm working, currently, in the pricing solution team, where I'm responsible for Lufthansa group’s continuous pricing, meaning the enhancement and the implementation of the current and future solution for the group. 

I'm very active as well in the future of offer more from a conceptual perspective, and as we're working in the airline integration into the Lufthansa group revenue management landscape. 

David: Excellent thank you, Sebastien, and to you Angelique. 

Angelique: Thank you, David. Good afternoon, everyone, my name is Angelique Numiejer. I'm employed by Air France KLM and I currently work as NDC aggregator support manager, which is part of the distribution department within our company. I recently started that job. Before that, I was part of revenue management for a long, long time working on, especially, the fair filing subjects and everything related to that. 

Working a lot with ATPCO, working in in several working groups, which were the old design teams of the day, and I'm happy to be here with you and share some of the insights on the design teams. 

David: Excellent. Thanks to the three of you. You might sense a bit of a European theme here as well so entirely unapologetic for that. So, thank you.  

Let's get to the real talk. So, you're all aware we have the long-established working group structure, you mentioned that Angelique, and our transition over these last couple of years… it's a very clear, emit design teams, and that was deliberately a more agile approach with more meaningful framework to address those Council priorities. Of course, dynamic offers, NDC, pricing, modern airline retailing attributes, 100% automation of change, and 100% automation of taxes.  

So, I'd like to ask each of you to just briefly talk about what this type of industry collaboration, the evolution of data and standards, means to you. And I'll start with you, Josephine. 

Josephine: Thank you, David. So, collaboration is key for the industry, is key as well for Amadeus. We appreciate the more agile approach that we take today for working groups or setting up a new design team almost on demand each time we have a hot topic or new requirements. The new intake process that you put in place as well, it resonates. It helps to see if we have new ideas that resonate or not for the industry, and so we can implement tactical evolution, leveraging on the existing assets. 

David: Excellent thank you. Sebastien, same question for you. 

Sebastien: Actually, for me, I'm pretty new in the ATPCO working group, and especially in the design team, but what I can share is what I observed up until now. The participants actually are looking at concrete use cases and searching solutions for clear requirements. And I think this is here the key because if you want this working group to be successful, you need to answer actually the need from the industry and this needs to be really clear. And, of course, solutions that are looking at are from a mid and long-term perspective with a clear offer and order, a target picture in mind, but as well as short-term solutions. Meaning, what's really happening now. And here for Lufthansa group, I can say that we believe that there is already an opportunity today to benefit from this offer and order concept. 

David: Excellent, thank you, and the same to you Angelique. 

Angelique: Thanks, David. As mentioned earlier, I was part of working groups in the past, and I think at the time, the setup was quite different. We had a long-term vision combined with short-term implementation, but sometimes, losing track of immediate needs of the airlines. In the current setup, with what you explained just before councils and below that the design team. The council is really defining priorities and goals, and within the design team, we're able to target those subjects, those items that will really help us work on the immediate need that is out there, to facilitate airlines in direct implementation of the subject we're talking about. 

David: That's excellent. Thanks for those positive words, all three of you, and I'm hearing great words like agile, collaboration, real use cases, transition, clear priorities and goals, and they're great watch words for us use within our design teams. 

So, now, let's talk about the first of those councils, Offer Content Council, and one of their biggest priorities dealing with dynamic offer creation. And there are aspects of offer creation, of course, that touch every bit of the life cycle of the offer and the order… how to distribute it, how to present it, how to service, and how to settle. 

We've heard a lot about that this last couple of days and many angles and implementations, of course, of dynamic offers, which our Dynamic Offers Design Team—you've also heard about today—is working through with very tangible use cases. 

So, Sebastien, I'd like to turn to you first on this topic and knowing that Swiss and the Lufthansa group has, within more of your reliance structure, been such a thought leader in dynamic and continuous pricing. And I was really interested in the fact that you recently completed an end-to-end proof of concept, and that was offer creation all the way through to order settlement with Edelweiss and you've shared that kindly with the industry. 

So, can you give us your take on use cases for dynamic offer creation new, distribution capability, and one order, in line with that conceptual vision for offers and orders? Is it an evolution or is it a transformation? 

Sebastien: Yes, and I think to answer that question, maybe let's try to make it very clear for everyone here. The proof of concept that we did between Edelweiss and Swiss… the idea was to validate the concept of a retailer supplier for ticket and ticketless carriers, and to really look at actually from “what does it bring” from a customer perspective, very relevant, but, as well from an airline perspective. I have to say that the proof of concept is very basic cases where we wanted to learn from. 

What I can say, it’s very important. We discussed a bit, or I heard a bit earlier, about Lufthansa committed, actually, to the long term of another strategy, but the reason why we want to share with you the information about what we are doing is because we believe we can work… I mean to your question, it’s more like an evolution because we want to learn actually from this proof of concept and see what needs to be done. How we want to define our products, and as well the standards part, I think this is a bit I would take away from this proof of concept. And we believe it's more like an evolution, rather than a big bang, actually that will happen in a certain amount of years. 

And, as well, we want to really highlight as well that from what we found out… it's clear for us because we are using it now for other purposes. We are benefiting already from the offer and order concept, or retailer supplier concept, and we don't need to wait one order and NDC here is not relevant. I mean, if we are using sometimes legacy processes, it's fine as well. But the concept or the idea of the proof, so we need to focus on the on the offer part. 

David: Thank you, Sebastien. I love that reminder of the vision that it is about offers and orders, but it's one step at a time and evolution. So, thank you for that. 

Angelique, I'd like to turn to you for the distribution, offer distribution side of things, and you're someone that's moved more recently, as you said, to distribution from a revenue management background. And how do you see this approach to evolve ATPCO data to meet that immediate need for NDC and, particularly, how it benefits Air France KLM? 

Angelique: Thank you, David. Yeah, it's very key for me to build that bridge between revenue management and distribution because I think it's quite linked. And what I see happening is that, of course, we rely on ATPCO for our distribution. So, it has our fares out there, our products, our rules, everything related to that… we rely on ATPCO. At the same time, we also need to think ahead towards our future. 

What will we need in the future in order to be able to still target different players in the market? We have aggregators coming into play, which is a nice concept, but in the ATPCO environment, we were not able to target those aggregators. So, what we did in the design teams, and I think that's a very nice example, we really talked about it. How do we make sure we're able to target those aggregators in a security setting? 

So, we created the possibility in the security table and brainstormed about it, came up with a plan, with an idea, and put it out there for the community to look at, to vote. I think that's one of the very concrete examples of design team efforts. 

David: Thanks, excellent. I think it actually speaks to Marshall's point earlier in the day about bending existing functionality to meet the needs so that we can try things now, and that's a great concrete example. Aggregator didn't exist as such, as a price differentiator, so thanks for that Angelique. 

So, Sebastien, I know now on our off-meeting chats that you're a big advocate as well of cross-departmental collaboration for the move towards offers and orders. So, really making sure everyone's collaborating well from revenue management to distribution to revenue accounting. So, what's the biggest takeaway for you on evolution building on that foundational data and standards to better enable NDC in the indirect channel? 

Sebastien: Yeah, I think if you want to push NDC in what the airlines have, they have to deliver actually what we promised to the trade. Otherwise, what really could be the reason for the most for everyone, and if you want that, we believe that we need the necessary standards, the minimum viable standards, I would even say. 

We all have to work on that it's an industry topic. I would say it's not necessarily only an ATPCO topic. I wouldn't say it's an IATA topic. It's, really, we all have together to work on that. Yeah, I think this is where we really have to concentrate. We know that ATPCO always supported, actually, the industry when it comes to data evolution. And I think we believe actually that it's really now up to the industry, meaning as well the airlines, to find their way or its way to build something and to find a way. 

David: Absolutely, thank you for that. And I love that term “minimum viable standard” because it ties standards into the practice of agile basically and it says that standards don't stifle innovation, they globalize it, and it's actually the only way to get to true innovation at a global scale. So, thank you for that we'll be using that term certainly. 

So, Josephine… over to you. We've done offer creation, distribution, and you well know the work of the modern airline retailing attributes design team and a very, very quick standard. We went for a simple standard that articulated 16 attributes Next Generation Storefront to basically say available free or for a fee within each brand and product, and a very quick standard, of one that we're continuing to revise. 

Can you talk a bit about why Amadeus was so supportive of taking that approach to retailing? Really, for you, it was all about evolving existing data and standards to meet modern needs of offer presentation. 

Josephine: Sure, David. Well, we heard yesterday that we are in the middle of the transformation, where the price is no more the only criteria for choice of the passenger. We have a move from a more price-driven approach to more product-driven approach, and decision of the passenger now is more based on value and content of the different products than rather only based on the price. So, this is why retailing is more and more important and our customers came to us with the three main requirements. 

First, they wanted to really compare the different flight shopping reasons to and ensure they keep and acknowledge the diversity of airline products. They wanted to provide more information about what is beyond this price, and they wanted a taxonomy as well, to really better have this multi-aligned shopping by attributes and also a fair comparison of the different bundles and other card services provided by airlines. 

So, this is why all those common attributes was natural solutions and, along with the IATA initiative, the new, this design team, the former NGS design team, was another natural place to discuss it. And for Amedeus, we were especially interested to understand how we should determine all those attributes if the price of tickets or itineraries and services are based on ATPCO data. 

David: Excellent, thank you for that. And just for the consideration of the audience, I think this is a particularly interesting one that is starting to bring to light. The value of high content attributes, where airlines have a lot of file data, and I particularly refer to the U.S Department of Transportation's recent notice of proposed rulemaking, the transparency of ancillaries, and this topic… consistent data standards powering innovative display, and especially when we talk about fundamental things like change refund and baggage is a really worthy topic for discussion in a design team. So, thank you for that and thank you for your support that standard. 

So, now we're going to move to an order view. Now the product is in the hands of the consumer and that word “servicing” has come up so much this last couple of days, as well. So, important to be able to service and to deliver into service. 

So, the design team for 100% automation of changes is really pushing for the enablement of 100% automation. That council, customer care, has declared a date for 100% enablement of the end of 2025, which is a really exciting milestone that we've we now have in the plan because, of course, the automation existed for 20 years and we are not at full automation of change and refunds in the indirect market yet. 

So, Sebastien, I know as well, you and I have talked a lot about the importance of content coverage for change and refund. So, what's your take on this renewed look at change and refund automation, and how do you think it can best impact the industry? 

Sebastien: Actually, I would split the topic into two parts. The first one is the customer perspective and the customer experience. 

Today, I mean, we all know that after covid, our customers have a really strong expectation towards us airlines to deliver servicing and here servicing I'm really talking about change and refund because they want it fast. They want it digitalized and they want it self-service, and on top of that, we do have more and more the authorities which are requiring us to deliver. And I think it's fair to say that legacy airlines are not really so good in general at delivering it. 

And the second part is actually the align perspective because like for the customer we are emerging for the pandemic. We need to make money. We want to generate revenue and, now, we are coming as well with new offers. And as it has been said in a previous panel, from what I remember, airlines we are very good at selling products, but when it comes to servicing, it lacks a bit. It's not so optimal. 

Let's put it this way. So, for us it's how to really answer these two points, and I would say the 100% automation initiative from ATPCO is right short-term solution But, to be really successful, we really need to ensure that this group actually is really considered the entire the entire end-to-end process, because it's not only… or it's a lot of thanks to ATPCO initiative. Let's put it this way. 

For the calculation, but it goes even further, to that we need airlines to implement and to use actually what ATPCO is providing. We need as well system providers to support us in order to offer solutions. So, we think it's a good short-term solution. 

When it comes to long term, and especially now offer and order, here, if you don't want to fall into the same I wouldn't say “trial,” but same scenario that what we are facing today in offer and order… there is no such things like manual ratio, manual refund calculation. I mean, nobody would expect that, right? 

So, if you want to be sure that we will be able, we need to, again, work on the standards and a bit especially NDC standards and test standards in order to be successful and you should not forget the requirements as well for the servicing. 

The requirement in an NDC for offer and order might not be the same like today in term of price calculation. We are calculating a certain way, but tomorrow, I know that I want to do more. I want to be more flexible. And this is where some work has to be done. 

David: Excellent, thanks Sebastien. So, the right move for the industry and more airlines basically using that functionality and as an industry moving towards the obvious 100% automation and seamless servicing. 

So, Josephine, Amadeus, of course, is making great strides towards that touchless self-service environment. You have a long history as a company in enabling automated servicing through Amadeus ticket changer. So, how do you think this standards-driven approach through ATPCCO design teams will best prepare us for that world of customer-centric self-service? 

Josephine: Well, I think I will recall it a bit what Sebastien just said. For the last two years, or the last two years really, two important things. First, we need a more resilient ecosystem. We don't have a nightmare like we faced during covid for issues and refunds. By the way, keep in mind, that we're still in some troubles… especially on distribution side with the massive consolation we see for the staff shortage. So, there are clear improvements we can do here. 

Then, the second point is with the move toward the more digitalized world, we want to give more autonomy to the passengers. So, we want that they are able to search, to book, but as well to change and cancel their journey without any manual intervention. So, the need for automation is now and the good news is we already have some solutions. So, all the data airlines file for the ratio and refund and condition—the famous CAT3133—they are there, and there are strong assets for the automations. 

So, all the standard we defined, all the work that has been done so far, must be used by airlines and must be used, as well, by the distribution channel so we can really unlock this automation capabilities. And we know, as Sebastien mentioned, that there is much work to do and we need to really identify what is missing, for example, in the filing of airlines so they can fully enter the policy. 

We need to define a new assumption for this data driven processes. Maybe you have a simplified text so everything is more clear for everyone and especially all those stuff will benefit everyone at the end. 

David: Excellent and thank you. Great fulfillment of that that Customer Care Council priority and nice to have that data as well. Angelique, now getting to a settlement. Of course, as a revenue accountant formally, this is very dear to my heart… taxation. Can you tell us a little bit about the transition that's happened from individual tax solutions?  

Of course, ATPCO rolled out the solution in 2010. We're now at 100% coverage of major pricing systems, shopping systems. Can you talk about the move from individual to that centralized view and some of the benefits you've seen from that? 

Angelique: Yeah, of course David. And it's nice to see that taxes is really part of your heart, you really talk about it with passion, sort of. But anyway, you're right you know as airlines, we can be very creative in getting our product out there and it will be even more creative, I think, in the future. But one steady factor will be taxes. They're never going away. They'll always be there and even more, I think. 

So what, and I was wondering about the year but 2010 was the year, so I think getting to this single source of taxes was a great achievement. I think a good example also of ATPCO and IATA working together in setting this… this standard and this source for everybody out there to use and to process in the same way. I think that was really the big achievements. 

Looping this back now to the design team, because we're talking about design team, I think over the past months we've been talking about also standardizing sub codes or using sub codes for airlines to use in their ever-increasing need to do surcharges. 

If we come to a situation where we really define standardized tax codes, it will help us in the coming months, years to come, to work with them and have them processed in the same way, because our world is complex and will become even more complex. So, we can take this step back and at least use the standards, I think it will benefit all of us. 

David: Excellent, thank you and great reference there to carrier-imposed fees, which, of course, are different from a regulatory perspective to taxes, but as we move to offers and orders that are closer, of course, that kind of adds to the complexity and we need to make sure that that settlement works. 

So, Josephine, same question to you. You've again been an advocate of the central tax solution. Where do you think that date and standards approach for taxes will go in the future? 

Josephine: Well, tax regulations are relevant in every world. The traditional system, the future ones, and, obviously, the transitions. Tax data, they are neutral. They are independent from the airline project definition. 

In Amadeus, we strongly believe, that all the work we’ve done to define all the standards stay relevant. We'll need to keep it centralized and to make it evolve, of course, to follow the values and creative government and industry regulation, but will be for the benefit of everyone. 

David: Excellent, thank you. Good mention of our and ATPCO collaboration there from you, Angelique, and I think this thing about taxes being fundamental, regardless of the method of creation, of the offer, distribution of the offer, of servicing method… they'll always be there. That's a very certain thing. It's a famous American once said, “It's very certain that we will always have taxes.” So, let's move to close now.  

So, two or three of you, we've run through that entire journey, now, the life cycle of the offer and the order and the importance of them. I think that really underlines the messages from this morning as well and that through all of our design teams and our council priorities, what's one thing that you'd like the audience to take away on the importance of engaging in these design teams that will make them engage when they leave this room? And, first, to you Josephine. 

Josephine: Right, and to be short, I would say industry design team is a true collaboration place where you can solve problems you have right now. 

David: Excellent, thank you. Sebastien? 

Sebastien: Well, to me, the design team is really a place where there is some very… I mean the team has to, or the work which has been done, has really to deliver a true value to the industry. And as well, I was saying it a bit in the beginning, really answer the requirements from the industry to go forward. 

David: Excellent, thank you, and lastly to you, Angelique. 

Angelique: I think, in my opinion, the design teams are a very efficient way to tackle needs that we are confronted with, and sometimes very urgently, in a dynamic, very changing landscape that we live in. 

David: Excellent, thank you. So, from our three expert panelists, you've heard it here first. True collaboration to answer industry needs in the current landscape, current ecosystem, tackling current and future needs, and it's a really unique industry opportunity to all of us collaborate as a community now as we evolve and transition to that world of modern airline retailing. 

So, we've heard that vision for offers and orders, we've heard about industry outcomes for 2026 as critical measures for success, not only of the industry but of ATPCO success in making that happen and facilitating that journey. So, you've heard from three experts in in their fields, committed to that evolutionary approach that came up again and again—transition, evolution, one step at a time. These are real use cases, real design teams, they're going on now as we speak. And ATPCO’s governance, we've worked very hard to make sure it's articulated in a simpler way, understandable. You'll have heard of another design team sparking up this week and I've already had some interest. Thanks to those of you who have seen me about the new NDC design team. So, love to talk to you about that.  

Now, as we move into 2023, look out for not only that design team, but I did mention a priority that keeps coming up again and again and again is work on existing pricing initiatives. Make sure that airlines can do now the things that will bridge them across to to that world of offers and orders. Of course, it does take all of us. 

By working together, we can make progress now. I keep using that word “now,” a very important one, and pave the way for the future. I'd like to thank all three of our panelists, true friends and colleagues, I really thank you for your time in answering this both here and in our design teams for their companies, as well. I'd like to leave you then, our audience, by just asking you to think about these three things from this session. 

Firstly, how can you and your company engage more in the industry agenda as it's facilitated by ATPCO? 

Secondly, what use cases and pain points are you experiencing in your journey? Can you articulate it as a simple problem statement to the industry community? It's only through those problem statements that we can transparently get that into intake, get it discussed, and get into entire design teams, and all of you can influence that agenda. 

Thirdly and lastly, is there a design team that takes your interest or somebody in your company that you think should attend, and, if so, why not join one today?  

Just come see us outside. Two of the standards team are waiting outside and you can get involved right here and now, as well. Register for it. You don't need to know everything about the topic, but you may want to learn more. The virtual world gives us that. It doesn't matter how many people from your company you send. So, in closing, I'd like to say let's collaborate together now. It is a unique community of experts and forge that path to offers and orders. Let's keep that vision in mind… one industry outcome at a time. Thank you Josephine, Sebastien, Angelique. 

Panel • Standards

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david smith headshot

David Smith

Head of Standards & Industry Governance  , ATPCO

David Smith, Head of Industry Standards, has 28 years of experience working in the airline industry in the travel distribution ecosystem. Within 10 years at a major European airline, and 18 years at ATPCO, he has experience in finance, business process re-engineering, program management, commercial negotiation, data distribution, and standards creation and management. He is also a board member of the US-based Society for Standards Professionals.  

sebastien nicolas headshot

Sébastien Nicolas

Manager, Revenue Management and Pricing, Lufthansa Group

Sébastien has been working in the airline industry for over 20 years, for Spanair, Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines, and Lufthansa Group. He currently is responsible for continuous pricing and dynamic offer conceptual development and implementation, and he is active in integrating airlines into the LHG’s revenue management ecosystem. Sébastien has in-depth expertise in airline pricing and revenue management, distribution, revenue accounting, reservation, ticketing, and ground operations. He’s a long-term participant in ATPCO and IATA working groups and sees industry standards activities as crucial to enabling airline Future of Offer and Automation improvement. Sébastien enjoys driving industry change and chairs several industry working groups such as IATA’s NDC Integration Group and Offer & Order Group. 

josephine husson headshot

Josephine Husson

Functional Analyst – Expert, Amadeus

Josephine represents Amadeus at ATPCO Subscriber forums and ATPCO working groups on a variety of topics including fares, rules, branded fares, ancillary services, rich content, and dynamic pricing. She also represents Amadeus at IATA Pricing Automation Group (PAG) events. With 10 years of experience in this field, Josephine is currently designing the pricing solutions for the current environment and also contributing to the shift toward an Offer Management System solution. 

angelique numeijer headshot

Angelique Numeijer

NDC Aggregator Support Manager, Air France-KLM

Can the old and new world co-exist or even integrate? Angelique truly believes so. During her almost 25 years of experience in the airline industry, she has seen examples of new and revolutionary ideas being introduced, always with the challenge of integrating them into the existing way of working. Together with ATPCO, systems, and airlines, Angelique works on automating new or existing concepts and building standards to keep pace with fast-changing technology.