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Travel for so many of us is to experience new destinations, open our mind and get inspired. Travel is a time to relax, refresh, and rejuvenate; or to get business done. Either for leisure or for business, travel should be seamless.

However, in reality, there are many pain points confronting the travelers such as the pain of delay, lost luggage, or the unwelcome, time-consuming queues. Technology is changing the way people travel. Technology can be deployed to overcome these challenges and improve the experience of travel.

travel around the world

The following 3 technologies will be hot topics in travel in 2016:

#1 – Automatic Check-in

What to watch

Two days ago there was an interesting article about “The first man to board a plane just by waving his hand” (published by Max Plenke on Mic on Jan 8, 2016). Andreas Sjöström, a Stockholm-based technology consultant, recently boarded a SAS flight by waving his hand at the electronic gate. He did that by using an NFC chip implanted in his hand as his boarding pass. Sjöström is certainly not the first person to have an NFC implant, but he is probably one of the first travelers to pass through Stockholm Arlanda airport, through security, at the lounge, and finally through the gate to the aircraft, using only the chip in his hand.

Watch Andreas Sjöström‘s Youtube video here: Board a flight with an NFC implant

How it works

  • His NFC chip contains his Scandinavian Airlines EuroBonus member ID, and since the airport has NFC readers all the way from security to the gate, he was able to gain access just by pressing his hand to a scanner instead of using a boarding pass or passport.
  • A near-field communication chip can communicate with an NFC-reading device to transmit information. In this case, a scanner was able to pick up the information stored in the chip, which is usually a little capsule about the size of a grain of rice.
  • The chip Sjöström uses is an xNT implant from an American company called Dangerous Things, which produces bio-hacking and citizen science equipment.

Benefits

  • According to Sjöström, this could be huge for the future of air travel, or anything else that would normally need personal information. “The biggest surprise was the feeling of being able to identify myself without anything other than my body. I didn’t have to pull out anything. It gave me a new sensation, sort of a pre-notion of what it will be like in the future when we don’t have to reach out with physical objects to accomplish things.”
  • Sjöström’s experiment was part of Scandinavian Airlines’ attempt to further innovate its customer experience, beyond its current program that uses NFC-capable stickers to hold a flyer’s vital information.

Concern

  • Regulators and Operators – According to a report by Amadeus “From chaos to collaboration”, fears for national security, increased in recent years by new terrorist threats, are likely to make governments and regulators cautious about any interference with border controls. Amadeus believes that automated identity management systems are more likely to be adopted to confirm and manage boarding of vehicles (trains, planes and buses) than for cross-border transfers.

My thought

Sjöström had the implant injected into his hand through a large needle and he was bleeding! This would be scary for some of us, including myself. And my question would be that after the implant, if I don’t want the chip anymore, how easy to take it out?

I would be more comfortable with my travel identification documents (passports, tickets, and boarding pass) to be stored in an external device (for example, my phone) rather than to be implanted directly into my body. In case of the phone running out of juice, “attaching” my ID to the “cloud” would be the most flexible and easy-to-use method, provided that security is in place to address the safety of personal data.

An NFC implant would be more popular if it was a painless process. I hope with the development of technology, this can be achieved and more people will be more willing to experiment it.

Automatic check in gates at the airport terminal

Automatic check in gates at the airport terminal

Check out the next 2 trends:

#2 – Keyless Entry: Click here

#3 – Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR): Click here

Published on my LinkedIn profile

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