Potential of an IoT in the Future of Travel

The blurring of lines between the physical and virtual worlds, especially with the IoT, (Internet of Things) has created a seamless connection between organizations and their audiences. The remarkable speed at which it’s infiltrated each and every aspect of Travel industry from beacons to keyless entry, social to security and communications to collective intelligence has brought new-age challenges and opportunities. Today, one billion people in the world are using four billion connected things (IoT 2016). What’s the potential of an IoT solution in the Internet-of-Everything in Travel?  (DOWNLOAD FREE E-BOOK on IoT in TRAVEL)

While all types of industries are benefiting from IoT in varying degrees, Travel is recognizing a crucial impact on both the enterprise operations side and the front end as well. IoT’s rapid digitization of physical things or machines as connected smart devices is rapidly impacting Travel’s business models, service offerings and traveller expectations. On the enterprise side, C-suite is marking up investments for Mobility and IoT systems directly impacting cost efficiencies and streamlining operations. For eg: Hotels utilize IoT to collate real-time guest data and drive personalized messaging via beacons. Airlines and Cargo deploy sensors to track real-time information from aircraft parts and systems to analyze data, get temperature alerts, and anticipate issues lowering inefficiencies arising from misinformation and delays.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Mobility, IoT and cognitive computing – these are the technology must-haves in Travel for smooth handling of processes, optimal efficiency and flexibility to accommodate market changes. According to McKinsey the impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) industry could equal about 11 percent of the world’s economy in 2020. Let’s look at some recent numbers:

  • The global spending on the Internet of Things (IoT) security will reach USD $348 million in 2016 a 23.7 percent increase from last year (Gartner report).
  • Spending on the IoT security is expected to reach USD $547 million in 2018

Dubbed the key driver of ‘The fourth revolution- The internet technology revolution’ – IoT is here to stay.  USA Today columnist Bob O’Donnell said “It’s no longer simply about what a device can do; it’s also about how that device can make your other devices work together better.” To meet IoT’s challenges and seize the opportunities in Travel require distinct strategies, concentrated investments and focused governance.  IoT solutions are simply connecting intelligence gathering assets (cars, smartphones, machines, etc.) your business services, all managed from a single source infrastructure seamlessly.

Therefore planned IoT applications can be extremely potent in Travel. Data needs to be transferred from a mix of interconnected tools, across systems, in a timely and synchronized manner, to get products and services to where the people are. A fitting example is the IGT’s Active Cargo Temperature and Humidity Monitoring solution for a leading global Cargo provider. IGT designed the IoT device to have provisions that attach external sensors for monitoring various environmental parameters. Easily configured to interact with backend systems, it relied on external power source and wireless internet connection for its operations.  Cargo stakeholders would be able to remotely check the current temperature and humidity using a mobile application. By tapping into mobility, information sharing and tracking, it helped prevent damage to perishable goods, get real-time updates and minimize time taken to resolve issues.

IGT's Mobility services

Similarly, airports too have been gearing up on airport technology solutions. Here’s a look at IoT in Airports in 2015 (Indoor Navigation)

  • In 2015’s 2nd quarter, 54 beacons were placed at JFK terminals but in the 3rd quarter, 104 beacon and wi-fi services were implemented in the airport reaching approx. 19.5 million travellers annually
  • In August 2015, New York’s JFK Airport planned to operate a proximity program “so air travelers could access signals via the airport’s Bluetooth and wi-fi network while in “discovery mode”
  • Beacons were further employed to notify travelers of wait lines at TSA checkpoints and taxi queues.
  • Travellers were sent “push notifications” on offers from across airport shops in JFK to drive ancillary sales

Key airline mobile apps services to manage traveller journey stages:

1) Check-in & IoT :

  • 42% of airlines say it is the top priority
  • 58% are planning to invest resources into IoT, with the emphasis on pilot projects, although 16% are preparing for major programmes

2) Baggage handling:

  •  Two-fifths of airlines plan to use beacons at bag drop, baggage claim and check-in by 2018
  • 40% of airlines have earmarked bag drop in their top three priorities and 30% say bag reclaim

The IoT offers a wealth of opportunities from communications to data management and intelligence. IoT applications could improve managing overall fuel cost based on optimal flight paths, cheaper fuelling zones and energy costs. But most importantly it helps leverage a new age of customer service that is bound to propel Travel as an industry further and forward competitively and strategically.

  • Improve communications with indoor navigation technology
  • Increase operational and cost efficiency
  • Improved irops management and increase airline efficiency
  • Facilitate intuitive and experiential vacations for tourists
  • Build ancillary sales with personalized push notifications

Internet of Travelling Hurdles: To capture IoT’s potential; Travel providers need to put together an IoT infrastructure that seamlessly connects the customers, and their services from a single unified backend. For starters in IoT, initiatives should be small-scale and tightly focused on deliverables. More importantly, the security will be critical spanning IT operations, applications, and infrastructure. Companies need to be ready and technically armed as new vulnerabilities and zero-day attacks get attempted every day. Network defenses must constantly adapt and negate the attacks.

IoT builds on the intelligent automation of services, technology and people by shrinking data footprints, optimizing your existing technology, and aligning experiences with people. With consumers a step ahead, unleashing the full impact before the peak travel season is imperative.

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  1. SITA: Airline IT Trends Survey 2015
  2. http://www.geomarketing.com/iott-internet-of-travel-things-is-taking-consumer-data-farther-than-ever
  3. SITA ‘The Future is connected’
  4. Gartner Special Report “The Internet of Things,” 2016

About the Author:
Renee Kishore is digital marketing specialist, and a published author. A researcher and writer of change tactics and technologies in travel and other verticals, she frequently posts across the digital ecosystem. With 8-yrs of experience in communications and marketing, Renee has a passion for discussions and can be reached at: renee.kishore@www.igtsolutions.com