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Six ways travel is about to get better

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Technology makes traveling easier and according to VIVIAN LO, Cathay Pacific Airports General Manager, it is a about to get a lot better as she outlines six trends that will influence traveling in the future.

Cathay Pacific has a vision of ‘Fast Travel’ that will automate premium self-service technology for passengers. ‘Fast Travel’ includes functional airport areas such as check-ins, document scanning, flight re-booking, self-boarding, self-service bag drops and luggage recovery.

“We are determined to make Fast Travel a reality soon, and are rolling out a strategy to introduce more tech-enabled enhancements in airport operations at Hong Kong International Airport and other airports by 2020,” says Vivian Lo, Cathay Pacific Airports General Manager.

“We are planning self-service offerings at other airports from the fourth quarter of 2015, including self-service bag drops at various outports.”

Lo shares six trends influencing the airline’s implementation of tech-enabled enhancements at airports:

1.       Time has become an expensive commodity

Consumers are hungry for fast, convenient service and companies that want to remain competitive need to look at ways in which their business allows its customers to help themselves to the service they offer. Regardless of the industry you operate in, self-service devices that reduce waiting time, are fast becoming synonymous with service excellence and preferential service providers.

2.       The Next-generation Kiosk is here:

Consumers already experience touch-point automation with common-use self-service (CUSS) kiosks at the airports, however these only eliminate a single time-consuming aspect of a journey. Automated point of sale kiosks at movie theatres and primed computer cubicles at most banks across South Africa are other examples of a global trends in quick purchase or regular transactions. Self-service technology has evolved, with a shift away from single function self-service kiosks to a check-in podium that will be more user-friendly, and offer a fuller suite of functions. This technology will allow for passengers to travel efficiently, and for check-in staff to roam and dedicate assistance where it is most needed.

3.       Consumer IQ has evolved into EQ

Consumers are savvy, they intuitively know how to assist themselves through their daily use of technology interfacing. Human interaction will only become necessary for trouble shooting and premium service seekers who prefer a tailored service approach.  Cathay Pacific plans to further implement fully automated processes above and beyond a single touch point.

4.         Traveller independence is on the rise:

‘Fast Travel’ allows for simplified check-in procedures that are intuitive and that alleviate bottle-neck queues, helping to shorten check-in time. Travellers will be able print their own boarding pass, tag their own bags, drop them off and enjoy a premium lounge experience before travelling, without a single human interface.

5.       Pilot studies are the future – Project Ribbon

Project Ribbon explores the usage of permanent bag tags with magic ink displays, as well as home-printed bag tags to implement the ‘bags ready-to-go’ concept. Developments like Project Ribbon will shape the DIY nature of travel procedures and passenger control.

6.       Smartphone applications

Cathay Pacific is working on creating applications that will help passengers find their way through airports and lounges via iBeacon, a smartphone transmitting system. Airline check-in staff will be completely mobile, and will be able to find passengers in need using the applications, allowing immediate service and a qualitative approach to guiding passengers.

“Our vision is to offer more personalised service through the smart use of technology,” says Lo. “Ultimately, we aim to offer our customers much more than a faceless online transaction – we want them to remember their travels with us as seamless, effortless and luxurious.”

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CES: And thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for making and enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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