Benelux blog
Let’s shape the future of travel
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Internet of Things travel industry services are coming, that much is true

“If I miss my flight, auto-rebooking could be done.”

“I open my hotel room with my smartphone, as I’ve downloaded an interactive key.”

“By putting a sensor in my luggage, I can track where it is via an application on my smartphone.”

“At airports, security lines are tracked and I’m notified of waiting times with a – ping – on my smartphone.”

Making your traveller’s life easier with Internet

While we are all dreaming of seamless travel, which is still in a galaxy far far away, we do get a glimpse of how easy life could be if travellers, travel service providers and all their devices would be connected: through the Internet, and through sensors.

It’s called Internet of Things (IoT): everyday physical objects would be connected to the internet and would be able to identify themselves to other devices, while gathering and sharing data.

With mobile internet usage rising in the Benelux, just like in the rest of Europe, this seems obvious. Even more so for travellers:

88% of travellers see Smartphones as must-have devices when travelling and for 75% of business travellers Smartphones is actually increasing productivity and is enabling them to more than 6 hours of sleep each night.

But. There’s a but. Lots of them.

The internet of things for travel industry is like going to Mars, by Amadeus Benelux

Internet of things travel industry services are like going to Mars

If seamless travel were indeed another galaxy, IoT is rather like Mars. We’re getting there. It’s already shaping our future. And if you think that the Internet has changed your life and your job, think again: IoT is about to change it all over again.

Just imagine the level of service you’d be able to provide for your travellers.
Let’s step into the future for a while.

But how real is IoT travel industry?

99% of physical objects that may one day join the network are still unconnected. Then again, according to Gartner, there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020. Cisco’s CEO John Chambers estimated the market value of the IoT could reach $19 trillion by 2020 – though he did concede that a more conservative estimate would put this figure nearer $9 trillion. Enough impact for you?

Enough with the estimates.
In travel industry, IoT currently impacts:

  1. automobiles with built-in sensors
    just open the door of your “connected car” with your smartphone when you’re close
  2. hotel room doors
    The Hilton Group will deploy worldwide “connected hotel room keys” in 2015
  3. suitcases
    Remember how Trunkster received more than 1 million dollars on Kickstarter?
  4. aeroplanes
    The Airbus A380 has components fitted with sensors to monitor wear and tear in real time. This continually generated data allows Airbus to maintain a dynamic maintenance process and optimise performance
  5. airports
    London City Airport would be the 1st airport to implement IoT

Would IoT help you as a travel professional?

Personalization is the key, just like convenience. With Internet of Things travel industry services, your travellers would feel more valued. Transportation, travel and tourism companies can:

  1. build cross-platform relationships
    with frequent travellers
  2. identify how consumers react to certain products
    and deliver them with the travel products that they truly need and desire
  3. enhance the traveller’s experience
    by pushing relevant content according to the stage of the traveller’s journey, on the way to the airport, halfway into the journey by car, upon arrival…

In general, IoT creates

  1. new marketing opportunities
    as consumer behaviour is tracked and analysed
  2. a personalized and more convenient travel experience
    and thus a better, richer and more fulfilling one
  3. improved service thanks to relevancy and automisation
    offering travellers relevant information at the right time, possibly driven and automated by artificial intelligence

But before the wave of IoT travel hits our Benelux shore

Just like with seamless travel and our first colony on Mars, we may be coming close, but we’re not there yet. We can think of a couple of a hurdles we have to get over first.

So here’s what to say when a customer asks why he or she can’t do everything with a smartphone yet when (s)he’s about to make another trip.

All that data we’d be gathering, massive amounts of data, would have to be stored, and stored safely. That may not be as easy and as inexpensive as we first thought. Secondly, privacy remains an issue. Who can guarantee that data won’t be used to identify individuals? And, last but not least, simple hardware: just like your family’s smartphone chargers, there is no standard platform or operating system for IoT, yet. How would those devices communicate seamlessly, then?

It’s good to see, though, what’s ahead of us, and what may come after the mobile wave has really reached our Benelux beaches.

Relevant enough to share? Go ahead.

What do you think?
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