Andy Freeth, managing director B2B, dnata UK
Until the beginning of the year, the only ‘steps’ I’d ever known people be fixated by were the 1990s pop band. And even then, I didn’t really understand why.
However, since jumping on the Fitbit bandwagon after an inspiring summer of Olympics and Paralympics sport, I’m often found pacing around the room staring at my new wrist-based screen, silently praying that I have achieved my recommended number of steps for the day.
While I’ve never been more motivated to get moving, on those occasions when I ‘cheat’ and opt to take the lift (our Glasgow office is based in a very tall building), I can’t help feeling judged by my mini-gym gizmo.
And if you’ve ever found yourself muttering “just 1,000 more steps” as you pace the office in your quest to reach the holy 10,000 grail, or competitively monitoring (which sounds a lot better than spying) how your mates have done that day, you’ll know exactly where I’m coming from.
Given how quickly these fitness trackers and smartwatches have grown in popularity, it made me think about whether predictions on how wearable technologies could revolutionise the traveller experience could come true sooner than we think.
A quick scan around the office and I bet half of the team have one of the little coloured bands on their wrists.
What my new fitness buddy has taught me is that digital innovations are no longer just the preserve of gadget lovers and technology geeks. If anything, they’re becoming the new reality.
And, like them or loathe them, they’re further demonstration of the innovative solutions and high levels of personalised service that customers have come to expect at every stage of their journey.
Wearable technology is being designed with consumer convenience in mind.
For us in the travel industry, the simple goal of enhancing and improving the overall experience of the traveller is incredibly powerful. I’ve lost count of the number of times that having a gate update, city directions or the ability to translate multiple languages at the flick of my wrist would have got me out of a close call on my travels.
It was only a couple of years ago when we would dutifully print off a boarding pass at home before heading to the airport to catch a flight. Most of us now expect to store our boarding passes in our iPhone Passbook. Surely it is only a short jump to when we expect to have everything available on our wrist?
We are constantly looking for solutions that give us the correct information, right now.
Advances in wearable technologies give the travel industry another powerful medium through which to communicate with customers in real time, providing the information they want at that moment – and even closer than at their fingertips.
For some, this might be the current exchange rate or details regarding an upcoming flight. For me, right now, it’s simply painful instructions to haul myself up another flight of stairs from a robot on my wrist!
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