A case study for the future of travel: How the future of network and computing platforms will integrate into every step of the travel ecosystem.
The following is a view of the future from the traveler's perspective, including examples of how the various technologies discussed in this article could come into play:
- Brain-to-Computer Interface: Allows a human to communicate with a computer through thoughts.
- Natural Language Processing (NLP) /Natural Language Understanding (NLU): Allows a human to use voice or text to communicate directly with a computer.
- Decentralized Computing and Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI): A decentralized platform, often built as a blockchain, that shares a common ledger of transactions distributed across multiple nodes of machines which can serve as a customer-controlled source of identity credentials.
- Carbon Neutrality and Sustainability: The goal of creating a more sustainable world through achieving a state of net-zero carbon dioxide emissions.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI): The ability of a computer to perform tasks usually done by humans.
- Quantum Computing: A type of computation based on the principles of quantum theory (which explains the behavior of energy and material on the atomic and subatomic levels).
- Personalized Offers: Offers that are relevant or unique at the individual customer level.
- Augmented Reality (AR) / Virtual Reality (VR): AR is an enhanced version of reality in the real world. VR brings the user fully into a virtual world.
- Social Networking: Includes customer ratings and reviews; user recommendations and referrals; social shopping tools (sharing the act of shopping online); forums and communities; social media optimization; social applications; and social advertising.
- Predictive Analytics: Looks at current and historical data patterns to determine if those patterns are likely to emerge again.
- Biometrics: The use of AI technology to identify unique physical or behavioral characteristics (such as fingerprints or voice patterns) as a means of verifying personal identity.
- The Internet of Things (IoT): Refers to a system of interrelated, internet-connected devices that can collect and transfer data over a wireless network without human intervention.
- Robotics: Machines that resemble living creatures, capable of moving independently (as by walking or rolling on wheels) and performing complex actions (such as grasping and moving objects).
- 6G: Improved bandwidth beyond 5G which will facilitate a more digitally-intensive world, enabling innovations like flying cars to become reality.
Natural Language Processing (NLP)
Natural Language Understanding (NLU)
The year is 2030. Sam and his partner Claire are seniors who like to travel. They want to visit Europe in the summer.
Sam uses his smartphone's personal digital assistant to enter his preferred trip start date, end date and the cities to be visited. Sam suffered a minor stroke six months earlier, and as a result uses a combination of voice and brain interface [Brain-to-Computer Interfaces] to communicate his needs to the digital assistant [NLP/NLU].
Decentralized Computing & SSI
The intelligent agent within the digital assistant captures all the information and engages travel bots to search for potential itineraries.
The bot checks supplier sites, tour operators and OTAs for the best itinerary that meets their needs. Some of this content lives in decentralized open marketplaces, allowing Sam's bot to interact with suppliers directly [Decentralized Computing].
All of Sam's personal information and preferences are contained in his self-sovereign identity profile [SSI].
Carbon Neutrality and Sustainability
AI & Quantum Computing
As carbon footprint is a major concern for the couple, carbon neutral and green options are prioritized [Carbon Neutrality and Sustainability].
A bot goes to a variety of sites, evaluates the myriad of choices based on Sam's past experiences and preferences, and presents three itineraries to select the best one that meets their needs [AI & Quantum Computing]. These itineraries are dynamically created and include personalized offers from hotels, tour operators and airlines based on information Sam has agreed to share via his SSI [Personalized Offers].
The bot suggests a special airline ancillary package that meets his needs, including early boarding and discounted Wi-Fi. The bot also suggests using loyalty mileage and cryptocurrency for part of the payment of the tickets.
VR and AR
Decentralized Computing and SSI
Sam discusses the options with Claire, and they view photos and videos of the itinerary through VR headsets and holographic projections in their living room [VR and AR].
Sam tells his digital assistant to go ahead and book the third itinerary. The bot coordinates behind the scenes any deposits required, and a smart contract will pay these charges from Sam's cryptocurrency wallet upon usage [Decentralized Computing and SSI].
The bot identifies that Daniel, Sam's close friend, has posted on social media suggestions for activities in Paris, and the intelligent assistant presents the activity options to Sam.
Sam tells the intelligent assistant to book a river cruise on the River Seine and a restaurant in Paris based on Daniel's recommendations [Social Networking].
Two days before departure, the intelligent assistant predicts a major weather disruption in Paris [Predictive Analytics] which will be difficult to avoid, resulting in serious delays.
As part of the itinerary involves a trip to Southern France, the digital assistant suggests that Sam rebook the itinerary to land in Nice.
Sam agrees and the agent adjusts the hotels, transfers and activities booked in Paris accordingly, and books rail passage to Paris for later in the trip.
Biometrics and IoT
When Sam and Claire enter the airport, they walk through a security tunnel that verifies their identity and checks them into the flight [Biometrics and IoT].
They are given the option for directions to the gate and Sam uses his AR-enabled contact lenses to access the navigation to the gate. Sam's brain interface detects hunger and suggests a sandwich shop and adjusts the AR navigation accordingly [Brain-to-Computer Interfaces].
When Sam enters the sandwich shop, he is identified and simply takes a sandwich and leaves. The sandwich shop is paid instantly from an automatic transfer from Sam's cryptocurrency wallet.
Upon arriving at the airport in Nice, Sam and Claire are met by an autonomous vehicle that takes them to baggage.
A robot assistant [Robotics] takes their luggage and loads it on the automated vehicle [AI].
As the couple enters the customs area, they simply walk through as their SSI interacts with the customs systems, authorizing their entry.
Sam and Claire are greeted at the airport door by another autonomous vehicle. A robot at curbside takes their luggage and a flying autonomous vehicle [AI and 6G] takes them to the hotel.
The remainder of the trip proceeds without a hitch. Upon returning home, Sam shares his trip with his family using VR, so they are able to relive it vicariously with him.
Only time will tell whether this vision of the future of travel will become a reality. But enough evidence exists today to anticipate a more seamless, automated travel experience like this in the future, powered by the rapidly emerging technologies discussed in this article.
Phocuswright’s independent research and analysis gives your company a competitive advantage in the travel, tourism and hospitality marketplace. We offer subscriptions, individual reports, Curated Collections, custom research and multi-client special projects to keep you ahead of the curve and give you the confidence to make successful strategic decisions for your company.
The Phocuswright Open Access research subscription offers the world's most comprehensive library of global travel research and data visualization. You receive company-wide access to all of our syndicated material and interactive data, so your entire team can get the most up-to-date trends and information.