As fun and important as travel is, it’s also tough for the human body to weather. Research has shown that travel has the potential to impair coordination, gastrointestinal health, hydration, and more.
Comfort optimization has the potential to be travel’s next CX wave. Thanks to the proliferation of new technology in the form of artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT) sensors, and connected smart buildings, there’s an innovation opportunity to take better care of people while traveling.
Here are 3 technologies to watch in this space.
Anyone who travels moderately to frequently has likely experienced unforeseen delays due to unpredictable maintenance. It’s understandable: airlines need to be performing at their best. But unplanned maintenance has the potential to cause longer-than-necessary delays, which could create ripple effects. One trend that has been quietly emerging has been the use of machine learning technology to establish decision-making protocols.
“We want to integrate some of the more advanced technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, natural language processing and deep learning into our predictive maintenance process. With the increased digitalization of data, we want to have our technical airplane specialists focusing more on validation rather than the aggregation and analysis of maintenance data,” explains James Jackson, Delta Air Lines manager of predictive technology engineering in an interview with Aviation Today.
Machine learning makes it possible to optimize airline maintenance and execute on prescriptive strategies through IoT sensors. Sophisticated detection models have the potential to decrease unnecessary layover delays—helping travels arrive at their destinations healthier and more reliably.
Travelers with connecting flights are at high risk of missing them. Extreme weather, for instance, can easily derail an itinerary. That’s why, in 2014, JetBlue created an automated check-in process as a pilot program, using IoT sensors.
While the JetBlue pilot program has been discontinued, the experimental findings leave room for other airlines to build upon and continue innovating. Picking up where JetBlue left off, Lufthansa is piloting its own automated check-in service as of 2018.
Smart device integration
Travel can be disorienting, especially for those who are crossing time zones or have their hands full with on-board necessities. One simple solution that United Airlines has implemented for the multi-tasking traveler involves voice-based assistants. In 2017, for instance, the airline introduced the capability for travelers to answer questions and check into flights using Amazon Alexa.
This simple capability has the potential to evolve into a larger strategy to build smart airports with various interconnected devices.
New CX capabilities have the potential to give airlines a competitive advantage. Technology combined with streamlined processes are a must for companies looking to align profit motives with human comfort.