Wearables Bring Back the Golden Age of Travel

Major innovations in air travel used to be left up to people like the Wright brothers and Amelia Earhart. Today, technology is ushering in a faster and more efficient travel experience. From full-body scanners to biometric chips in passports—and now wearables—technology defines the travel experience.
By Charlie Isaacs

While you await your flight, the experts will be preparing for takeoff. Your pilot will check the weather on her Apple Watch before boarding, to start preparing for the flight before stepping on the plane. Armed with smart glasses, your flight attendants will scan the plane's food and drink inventory as their glasses capture images of the stock, automatically sending an order for more Ginger Ale.

After the crew has prepared the plane and it's time to board, a flight attendant will scan your boarding pass, which you'll have pulled up on your watch. As you enter the plane, the watch will show a seat map and guide you to your seat.

When takeoff is under way, you will use the onboard Wi-Fi to track the plane's progress on a map on your watch. You'll see how much longer the flight is expected to be airborne. The watch will also provide real-time updates regarding other flights, letting you know if a connection is running late and providing gate updates as they happen. On long flights, you'll be able to order and pay for food and drinks on the watch as well. Your meal will be delivered directly to your seat, and you will never have to reach for a phone or wallet.

As the airplane begins its descent, you will pull up information on your watch about baggage location. Once the plane is on the ground, the watch will identify exactly where your luggage is located, thereby ensuring that no items are lost.

Passengers will travel safely and successfully, with all of the information right on their wrist.

Get on Board!
As consumers, airlines and airports continue to embrace wearable devices, we will see an increase in the technology being used to create a more personalized journey and overall customer experience during travel, while also cutting down the amount of time between when you book your travel and when you board your flight.

Most passengers on flights during the 1950s could not have predicted all of the changes that have occurred up to now, with such large changes in the ways we fly. With wearables gaining popularity and companies realizing their potential in the travel space, it is likely that the next fifty years will be just as unpredictable.

Charlie Isaacs is the CTO for customer connections at CRM software provider Salesforce. Isaacs has a track record of R&D leadership at Verizon, Answer Systems (acquired by Computer Associates), Broad Daylight (sold to Primus Knowledge, then ATG and then Oracle) and Kana (Verint). After working at Kana, he joined Alcatel-Lucent/Genesys as its VP of innovation. Isaacs now incubates customers worldwide onto the Salesforce IoT platform—which he calls "the best job at Salesforce."

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