If you’ve been traveling internationally for a decade or more, the vast amount of innovation has been amazing. Most of it has been driven by technological advancement and come to the fore just in the past few years. From the planning and booking stages to the actual arrival at your destination, here are a few of the innovations currently reshaping international travel by leveraging state-of-the-art technology.
Security has always been a crucial part of traveling, and the focus placed by countries on identifying and ensuring the safety of people who want to travel has been increasing, along with technology available to the authorities. One of the ways that this is being done is by employing a combination of biometric technology and AI to identify and match passengers to manifests. These systems typically employ fingerprint and iris scans, as well as facial recognition, and are currently being used in the U.S., China, Australia and UK. And the technology is certain to spread out even wider as more countries take the chance to improve security and increase efficiency at the same time.
Before, the process of applying for passports or visas was a complicated one that involved a lot of waiting time and anxiousness. Now, the advanced integration and communication features of the internet are being leveraged to ensure that you can essentially skip the red tape and have all the documents you need for smooth travel between countries delivered within a short period of time.
This represents a significant advance from the days of paper-based documentation to a position of full synchronization with the digital-first world. As a business traveler, it’ll make your activities so much easier and more efficient. From the perspective of businesses and other organizations, the savings in terms of time and cost could also be very significant, especially at scale.
From boarding passes to the check-in process, mobile phones are rapidly taking the place of the usual paper documents that facilitate travel. Mobile boarding passes have many factors going for them, including the increased security they offer both to the airlines and passengers. They help to ensure that the boarding process is streamlined by cutting out the wait times of printing the passes and even the hassle of dealing with lost passes.
The ability to check in online, while not new per se, is constantly being improved and has also sped things up significantly, since it’s now possible to go straight to security without having to stand in line or interact with any staff unless you have luggage. Another interesting way airports are leveraging mobile technology is by allowing passengers to synchronize their smartphones with the departure displays, thus helping them to keep a close eye on their flights and even get direct notifications wherever they are.
Data science and its cousin, machine learning, have been facilitating disruptions in a variety of industries, and the travel industry is one of those that are ripe for attendant innovations. The travel and tourism industry, being as dispersed as it is geographically and otherwise, is poised to benefit from the increased efficiency that comes with being able to analyze big data in order to understand trends and predict the market effectively.
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