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#3 – Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

Following the first two travel tech trends to watch in 2016 which are #1-Automatic Check-in and #2-Keyless Entry, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are the third trend which has the potential to change the way travel suppliers interact with consumers. “People are valuing experiences more than things,” says Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing officer of MasterCard. The credit-card company is discussing how it might use virtual-reality technology to give customers insights into places they would like to visit and hotels where they could stay. According to Amadeus’s report “From Chaos to Collaboration”, this could be the third generation of travel experience, in which you discover the familiar destinations in a new and non-traditional way.

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AR vs. VR

Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that superimposes computer graphics on the wearer’s view of reality. AR is based on Context Aware Computing. For an AR user, the real world and the virtual objects coexist on the same view. AR is a mixture of real life and virtual reality.

Virtual Reality (VR) is a technology that fills the user’s field of vision with an entirely artificial view. VR user will be fully immersed into an artificial (animated) environment.  User’s view in VR is different from the real environment. Game playing spaces are commonly VR space.

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What to watch

  • AR – In Jul 2014, Luxury tour operator Destinology spent two months working with Google to produce StreetView guides to 40 of the hotels it markets, and Best Western hotels announced it would be spending $2m on capturing 360-degree images of 2,200 of its properties for a similar project.
  • AR – The most successful and interesting example of AR is the stand-alone smartphone application Yelp, which added AR view to provide an augmented view to its users. Yelp mobile app published crowd-sourced reviews about local businesses from boutiques and mechanics to restaurants and salons.
  • VR – In Sep 2014, Marriott launched an immersive 4-D virtual reality travel experience in which guest wear a pair of Oculus Rift spectacles before being virtually transported to other destinations and other Marriott hotels such as Hawaii, London and San Francisco.

Watch this video – A Virtual Honeymoon to London and Hawaii #GetTeleported by Marriott Hotels here:

Watch the Behind the Scenes video here:

Technology Providers

  • Samsung started shipping a new version of its headset. The new $100 Oculus-powered Samsung Gear VR opens for preorders in the US. Its price tag of around $100 could give it broad appeal. (Nov 10, 2015)
  • Google already offered a $5 virtual-reality viewer, Cardboard, in which a user’s smartphone provides the screen. Google’s Cardboard camera app makes anyone a VR photographer. (Dec 3, 2015)
  • In early 2016 Sony and HTC will release more expensive offerings aimed at video gamers, as will virtual reality pioneer Oculus, which was bought by Facebook for $2 billion in 2014.
  • In Dec 2015, MIT also did an interesting research on Reality Editor App which lets you reprogram the world with Augmented Reality.

Watch the video by MIT here:

Concerns

  • A recent article by The Economist titled “Ready, Headset, Go” had the tagline: “New VR headsets are being launched, but the technology’s appeal is uncertain.” (Nov 21, 2015). The main concern is that the headset often makes users dizzy. The sound and pictures are pretty good, but the technology is not yet fully able to replicate the sense of touch, even though most equipment-makers offer some sort of touchpad that lets users grab and release objects. Users do not have a sense of their own presence, or their friends’, when they wear headsets.

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My thoughts

As a consumer, I welcome these technological innovations by travel suppliers. Technology will help to enrich our travel experience. Imagine how amazing it would be if the travel suppliers (hotels, airlines, car rentals, etc.) adopted “service anticipating” technology. Service anticipating means they are able to anticipate our problem in advance and eliminate all hassle before it surface or offer us a solution right away. It also means they are able anticipate our needs and offer us the right information and the right service at the right time when we need it the most. Technology will definitely enrich our travel experience.

Check out my posts on the other 2 trends:

#1-Automatic Check-in: Click here

#2-Keyless Entry: Click here

Published on my LinkedIn Profile

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