With the new year upon us everyone is looking to the future and what 2016 may bring. For me this means more travel adventures and a chance to indulge in some of the new luxuries of travel. Technology is moving on a break-neck speed and the tech and travel worlds seem to be colliding, offering more choice than ever before. There’s some great innovations happening too which could change the way we travel forever. So I thought I’d take a look at a few of these and explore the possibilities for the future too!
I first experienced wifi on a plane back in 2006 but sadly the market wasn’t ready for internet-in-the-sky. Its really not that easy a technology to put in planes but 10 years later things have moved on a lot! Wifi is now commonplace on most big airlines and long haul flights. The technology has improved markedly too with prices dropping making it almost affordable for economy class passenger. I say almost because its definitely more than you’d be used to paying for wifi on the ground! Never-the-less its handy to help pass the time on long and boring flights. Chat with loved ones, check your email, play online bingo if you really want! The only thing its not very good for is streaming video, in fact some airlines actively block these sites to stop a few users hogging all the bandwidth. Some airlines have ditched in-flight entertainment systems completely, offering a wifi based system where you download an app to your tablet or smartphone and watch on-domand movies right on your own device.
In the future expect wifi to become cheaper and more widespread, in fact I can easily see in-flight wifi being crucial to selecting which flight you take. On-demand movies were once this deal-breaker, maybe wifi is set to be the next. I really hope one day free wifi becomes available on planes as this service becomes more popular and key to an airline’s business.
Who knew that a suitcase needed to become intelligent? Well judging by the numerous Kickstarter projects I’ve seen over the last 12 months it seems there’s going to be a whole host of smart luggage on the market in 2016. There’s some great features which I can really see being very useful especially for business travellers with no checked baggage. For a start they come with a phone and tablet charging battery to help keep your devices topped up when you travel. Other nifty features include bluetooth connectivity for security (know when your suitcase is out of range) and GPS so you can tell exactly where it is in the world. Couple this with a smartphone app that lets you lock and unlock your case remotely and you have a very smart suitcase for the modern traveller! Whether they will ever catch on remains to be seen but its an interesting evolution of the humble travel baggage.
Hotels have often looked for the latest gimmick to get themselves ahead of the game. This works especially well for new hotels who need the extra marketing push that embracing a new technology can bring. It used to be key cards to enter your room without the need for bulky keys, then it was entertainment services through advanced TV systems offering movies and internet connectivity. But hotels in 2016 will be embracing a new kind of technology as its definitely started popping up all over the world in 2015. Hotels of the future will let you control everything in your room from your smartphone, adjust your air conditioning ready for your return, dim the lights, control the TV, radio, even make room to room phone calls, right from a customised branded app. In the future you’ll also be able to unlock your room with your iPhone using touch ID fingerprint authentication to give you access. Room service can be requested via the app and you can even make changes to your booking, extending your stay or pampering yourself with a spa treatment.