Find out how the internet of things impacts travel and how the travel industry benefits and is affected by the IoT.
The Internet of Things frequently referred to as IoT, is a way of referring to physical objects, most common, everyday items, that have had internet connectivity built into them so that their utility can be enhanced in some way.
Another way of thinking about such items is by describing them as ‘smart’. Their ‘smartness’ is dependent on the extent to which their functionality is affected by their network connectivity.
Smart items have seen a huge boom over the last 5 years. Obviously, the forefather to all later ‘smart’ advancement is the smartphone, a device which I can pretty much guarantee that you own. You may even be using it to read this article right now.
But, as time and technology roll on, the number of things under the smart bracket has massively increased. Technology in a whole range of fields has gotten more and more involved in the art of connecting physical items to a network in a way which, usually, enhances their capabilities and makes them more powerful and precise in their utility.
Most such devices can be operated remotely, many of them through smartphones or computer applications.
The phenomenon is increasingly adopted by all sorts of different objects from the most common and established areas, like smart TVs all the way to more obscuring things like smart toasters or smart lamps.
In an industry that is constantly evolving though, there’s really no limit to what we might see becoming smart and it’s an exciting prospect imagining what a smart world might look like. In this instance, we are looking at the ways in which the world of travel, both the destination and the journey, is affected by smart devices and the IoT.
I wouldn’t blame you if you’re sitting there thinking, ‘How could the IoT really have that much of an impact on the travel world?’ The smart thing about smart objects is that limitless sense that we keep coming back to. Anything can be smart-ified.
But, let’s look at how specifically travel and the travel industry benefits and is affected by the IoT. Let’s get started.
Most travel is an inconvenience. It’s an inconvenience we put ourselves through because we know that on the other side of the travel is a vacation or an important business trip or a loved one. Convenience is something of a keyword when it comes to all sorts of industries.
Technology has gone far beyond being an exciting element to necessary operations. It can now be looked at as a tool for convenience.
The IoT, similarly, is occasionally even a little bit silly with the sorts of ‘Things’ that they adopt. Smart curtains, smart showers, and smart cupboards are amongst the more explicitly unnecessary technological advancements. But, centrally, their appeal is convenience.
Travel, as an inconvenient process, is ripe for IoT development, or rather envelopment. The IoT is built around this idea that no object, none of the things we might otherwise take for granted, isn’t able to be improved on in terms of ease of operation or convenience of use.
This can be applied to all sorts of things, and already has, in the travel sphere.
An easy example of this is using your smartphone to check in for your flight, something which is almost now more common than going through a kiosk. It’s intuitive, it’s easy and it has the added benefit of giving you an electronic boarding pass which, for your convenience, eliminates the risk of losing your boarding pass in the airport.
This is just one of the many examples that exist. In fact, you can be sure that this trend will continue to develop over time as many wearable IoT devices such as Apple Glass, Oura Ring, Fitbit, and Apple Watch are already making a splash in this space. Something that, on the other hand, makes protecting them from security risks already a priority for many users.
One thing that also tends to be a potentially unhappy element to travel is the fact that everything feels so alien and strange. Now, some of this is a natural byproduct of traveling, and actually, it’s important to remember that seeing new places is all about experiencing new things. But, the IoT offers a unique opportunity for some really lovely personalization to help make the average trip that much less alienating for travelers.
The IoT is built on the ability to command an unnatural and unusually large amount of control over objects, customizing them to you, your needs, and your life.
An example of this is the smart thermostat, which can adjust automatically to weather conditions in combination with your pre-programmed preferences. It’s not necessary, it’s just highly customized and convenient, with an inherently ’cool’ factor to it.
Personalization, for the unfamiliar spaces involved in travel, is a great addition that can make your journey so much more pleasurable.
And there are many places where you can use this extra degree of personalization. For example, this is a really strong possibility in hotels and on flights. Smart heating, lighting, television, and anything else customizable about the experience can make it that much more enjoyable for travelers and provide hotels and airlines with the opportunity to really impress customers with a unique and tailored experience.
Unfamiliar hotels can become cozy home-like spaces and flights can shake the horrible unfamiliar elements and replace them with smart, tailored solutions. All of this makes the IoT a field that is worth companies investing in which will accelerate the amount of IoT options in the future.
Though it’s an incredibly gradual process, there is definitely a marked shift, particularly amongst businesses, that environmental issues need to be addressed. Part of this is manufactured, by business incentives and social pressure, some of it relates to innovation.
Whatever the reason, it has become much more important to create ways to cultivate green and sustainable solutions for all sorts of companies. In particular, travel, on a yearly basis, is an absolutely prime offender in the environmental field.
Planes, naturally, contribute a huge amount of pollution, whilst people tend to be far more liberal with their use of resources and their treatment of their home when it is only temporary. Waste, the expenditure of resources, and all the rest make it a leaky industry with much to improve on.
The IoT offers a really nice solution to this problem, with a particular emphasis on effectively and subtly reducing the amount that travelers impact the environment inadvertently, through travel lifestyle choices that they are not even really aware that they are making.
For example, someone who is traveling is far more likely to find that they expend energy, particularly in hotel rooms, in an unnecessary way.
Smart technology, using internet-enabled and sensor operated devices, can automatically adjust thermostat usage, lighting usage, power expenditure, adaptor inefficiencies, and more.
Similarly, allowing travelers to be fully invested in the nature of their travel experience is a good way to encourage people not to be too wasteful with resources and to subtly invest them in creating more sustainable behaviors.
The major advantage of going through this route is that it often won’t make the slightest difference to the traveler, who, it is quite likely, won’t even know what is going on. Similarly, it sells well.
IoT ideas that have proven results in environmental improvements give a great opportunity for companies to improve their standing in this regard. It’s in most travel companies’ interest to ensure that they are environmentally friendly since how much companies excel in this area makes a huge difference to the overall image and performance of the company itself.
This will, doubtless, lead to improved eco focus from IoT companies in response. Overall, it creates a potent combination and a guarantee of improvements in this area.
How the internet of things impacts travel – Conclusion
The Internet of Things is absolutely set to make a huge impact on a variety of areas.
Its attention to the details of human behavior, particularly convenience and ease, makes it a prime tool for travel companies.
Though it is in the early days at the moment, there is no sense in which this can’t change. And, when it does, people will look back on travel in the current era as a clunky and un-optimized thing that is evident of a lack of development.
Already it has become an integral part of our lives without us even really realizing it. If this continues, then you could see everything become enveloped, travel included most intensely.
The adoption of IoT will cost travel companies money, but, as we’ve explored, there’s a lot of incentives for this including improving services and contributing positively towards the efforts involved in improving eco-friendly practices.
For travelers, this is a very good thing with increases to efficiency, convenience, comfort all-inclusive benefits, and will turn travel – which has bloomed in the last century – into the sort of activity that science fiction novels might have dreamed of.
As noted, it is early days. But, tracking this sort of change is very easy and very calculable. Rest assured; you will quickly begin to see the signs in your own travel experiences.