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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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As selfie cameras rise, so must selfie etiquette

Selfies were once a sign of narcissism or self-obsession. Now they are the new normal, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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You can blame Oxford Dictionaries for making the “selfie” respectable. After all, being named Word of the Year, as it was in 2013, does tend to soften some of the self-consciousness in this most self-conscious of actions.

Once seen as a symbol of narcissism and self-obsession, it is now the new normal, to the extent that most smartphones are sold on the basis of the front camera. Or, as that feature is now almost universally named by manufacturers, the “selfie camera”.

I was one of the hold-outs, having a near-allergy to the selfie. I still resist, but succumb more often than I would like. The reason for continued resistance is that it remains a big leap from the word becoming respectable to the action itself shedding its narcissistic image. 

For most, it’s already happened, and for that you can blame Ellen DeGeneres. She  choreographed the most famous group selfie yet at the 2014 Oscars, when she roped a bunch of actors into a group selfie, using the then-new Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone. Her tweet of the photo became what was then the most retweeted posting ever on Twitter, and was estimated to have been worth a million dollars in marketing value to Samsung.

Ironically, it was Samsung’s up-and-coming challenger, Huawei, that came up with a new word for this type of selfie: the “groufie”. Thanks to an 8 Megapixel front camera on the new Huawei Ascend P7 camera that year which took the highest quality selfies – and groufies – possible on a smartphone at the time.

It didn’t end there, and selfies and groufies have morphed into variations like selfscapes (selfie in a landscape), skyfies (selfies from the air, using remote controlled devices) and jerkies (selfies to make an idiot out of yourself). I invented all of those on the fly, so it’s easy to imagine a new word emerging for every type of selfie.

Continue reading about selfie improvements through the years.

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Mickey’s 90th for SA

Disney Africa announced the local launch of the Mickey the True Original campaign, joining the global festivities honouring 9 decades of Mickey Mouse, his heritage, personality and status as a pop-culture icon.

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As 18 November 2018 marks 90 years since his first appearance in Steamboat Willie in November 1928, a series of world-wide celebrations will be taking place this year and South Africa is no different.

The campaign will come to life with engaging content and events that embrace Mickey’s impact on the past, present and future. The local festivities kick off in earnest this month, leading up to Mickey’s 90th anniversary on 18 November 2018 and beyond:

  • An exclusive local design project where ten highly talented South African artists will apply their own inspiration and artistic interpretation on 6-foot Mickey Mouse statues.
  • Once revealed to the public, the statues will form part of the Mickey the True Original South African Exhibition, inspired by Mickey’s status as a ‘true original’ and his global impact on popular culture. The exhibition will travel to 3 cities and delight fans and families alike as they journey with Mickey over the years. Featuring 4 sections highlighting Mickey’s innovation, his evolution, influence on fashion and also pop culture, the exhibition is in collaboration with Samsung and Edgars, and will visit:

o   Sandton City, Centre Court: 28 September – 14 October

o   Gateway Theatre of Shopping, Expo Explore Court: 19 October – 11 November

o   Canal Walk Shopping Centre. Centre Court: 16 November – 26 November

  • Samsung continues their collaboration with Disney as they honour Mickey’s 90th anniversary nationally at all Samsung and Edgars Stores. Entitled Unlocking the Imagination, fans are encouraged to visit these stores, take a selfie with a giant Mickey plush toy using their Samsung Galaxy Note9 and stand a chance to win not only a giant Mickey plush, but also an international family trip. Visit www.Samsung.com for more information
  • Mickey’s 90th Spectacular, a two-hour prime-time special, will be screened on M-Net 101 later this year. The elegant affair will feature star-studded musical performances, moving tributes and never-before-seen short films. Superstars from music, film and television will join the birthday fun for the internationally beloved character.
  • In addition, look out for special programming on Mickey’s birthday (18 November) across Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303), Disney XD (DStv, Channel 304) and Disney Junior (DStv, Channel 309).
  • In retailers, Edgars will be stocking a complete collection of trendy fashion, accessories and footwear for the whole family, inspired entirely by Mickey Mouse.
  • Mickey will be the central theme of an in-store campaign nationwide this November and December, with brand new products, apparel, toys, as well as titles from Disney Publishing Worldwide, including books, arts & crafts and comics
  • Discovery Vitality and Disney are celebrating healthy, happy families this festive season by offering helpful and exciting tips and tricks on how to eat nutritious, yet delicious, foods, all inspired by Mickey. There’s also a trip to Disneyland Paris up for grabs. Log on to www.discovery.co.za/vitality for information.
  • And much more – check the press for updates

“Binding generations together more than any other animated character, Mickey Mouse is the “True Original” who reminds people of all ages of the benefits of laughter, optimism and hope,” says Christine Service, Senior Vice President and Country Manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa. “With his universal appeal and ability to emotionally connect with generations all over the world, no other character quite occupies a similar space in the hearts and minds of a global fan base and we are thrilled to be sharing these local festivities.”

Mickey’s birthday is celebrated in honour of the release of his first theatrical film, Steamboat Willie, on 18th November 1928, at the Colony Theatre in New York City. Since then, he has starred in more than 100 cartoons and can currently be seen on Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303) in the Mickey Mouse cartoon series and on Disney Junior (DStv, Channel 309) in Mickey and the Roadster Racers.

South African fans are encouraged to share their Mickey Mouse moments on social media using the hashtag#Mickey90Africa.

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