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Six ways travel is about to get better

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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3D printed room-service? Visit the hotel of tomorrow

To mark its 100th birthday, Hilton predicts the trends that will change travel and hospitality in the next 100 years.

Intergalactic getaways, fast-food nutrient pills, 2-3 hour working days and adaptable, personalised rooms that can transport guests everywhere from jungles to mountain ranges. These are some of the predictions for the next 100 years that the Hilton hotel group has put together in celebration of its 100th anniversary.

In a report supported by expert insight from the fields of sustainability, innovation, design, human relations and nutrition, findings reveal the impact of the growing sophistication of technology and climate change on the hotel industry in the future.

Key predictions for the hotel of the future include:

Personalisation is King

  • Technology will allow every space, fitting and furnishing to continuously update to respond to an individual’s real-time needs – the Lobby will conjure up anything from a tranquil spa to a buzzy bar, giving every guest the perfect, personal welcome
  • From temperature and lighting, to entertainment and beyond, microchips under the skin will enable us to wirelessly control the setting around us based on what we need, whenever we need it

The Human Touch

  • In a world filled with Artificial Intelligence, human contact and the personal touch will be more critical and sought after than ever
  • Technology will free up time for hotel staff to focus on what matters most: helping guests to connect with one another and building memorable moments

‘Sustainable Everything’ – The Role of Responsibility

  • Only businesses that are inherently responsible will survive the next century
  • Sustainability will be baked into everything about a hotel’s design – from weather-proofed domes, to buildings made from ocean-dredged plastic
  • Hotels will act as the Town Hall of any community, managing local resources and contributing to the areas they serve with community-tended insect farms and vertical hydroponic crop gardens

Menu Surprises and Personalisation

  • Our diets will include more plant-based recipes and some surprising sources of protein – Beetle Bolognese, Plankton Pies and Seaweed Green Velvet Cake will be menu staples!
  • Decadent 3D-printed dinners and room service will provide unrivalled plate personalisation
  • Chefs will be provided with biometric data for each guest, automatically creating meals based on preferences and nutritional requirements

Futuristic Fitness and Digital Detoxes

  • Outswim a virtual sea turtle in the pool, or challenge yourself to climb the digital face of Mount Everest, your exercise routine will be as unique as you are. What’s more, exercise energy generated from workouts will be used to power the hotel, providing a zero-impact, circular system. Guests could even earn rewards based on reaching workout targets
  • Pick up where you left off with trackable workouts and holographic personal trainers
  • Offline will be the new luxury as we seek to find moments of tech-free time

“Since its inception in 1919, Hilton has pioneered the hospitality industry, introducing first-to-market concepts such as air-conditioning and in-room televisions. Last year, Hilton also became the first hospitality company to set science-based targets to reduce its environmental impact,” said Simon Vincent, EVP & President, EMEA, Hilton. “We enter our second century with the same commitment to innovation, harnessing the power of our people and technology to respond to guest demands. Our research paints an exciting future for the hospitality industry, highlighting the growing importance of human interaction in an increasingly tech-centric world.”

Futurologist Gerd Leonhard said: “In 2119 we will still be searching for unique experiences, but they will be more personalised than ever. As technology shapes our lives we will seek out moments of offline connection with others, including hotel team members who will help us truly get what we need from our stays. 100 years from now hotels will have to create opportunities to converse, collaborate and connect, delivering moments that matter, individually, to each and every guest.”

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Gadget ed to chair Digital Council

Specialist financial services provider Sasfin Bank has established a Digital Advisory Council to provide the market with industry-leading expertise and insights on trends shaping the use of technology in financial services.

Digitalisation is one of the most powerful forces for change shaping Finance today. This has turned Fintech into one of the most vibrant sectors in both information technology and among start-ups, generating billions of dollars in investment and development globally. The South African fintech space is dynamic, and Sasfin is playing a leading role in the transformation of local financial services and the resulting enhancement of customer experiences.

“We have been investing in fintech development in-house and acquiring or integrating fintech start-ups,” says Sasfin CEO Michael Sassoon. “Over the last year we have built further digital offerings, integrated via APIs into leading businesses and invested in fintechs. We built and launched B\\YOND, an innovative digital business banking platform and SWIP, a digital wealth and investing platform. We have invested in Payabill, an online SME lender and DMA, a digital trading platform. We recently announced our alliance banking relationship, leveraging open banking, with Hello Paisa to offer seamless banking to the unbanked. We feel that there is a huge opportunity to improve the experience of South African businesses and savers through using technology. We have therefore created an independent forum to assess how to even better improve financial services for South Africans by leveraging the digital economy.”

Arthur Goldstuck, founder of high-tech research consultancy World Wide Worx, editor-in-chief of Gadget, and a globally respected technology analyst has accepted Sasfin’s invitation to head up the Sasfin Digital Advisory Council, an independent think tank that will help Sasfin and its clients decipher the fintech present and future.

“The Sasfin Digital Advisory Council is broader than providing only the bank with a source of insight on how digital services are evolving and lessons from across the world,” said CEO Michael Sassoon. “Sasfin has been involved in fintech investing for many years and we are leveraging this experience as well as the experience of independent experts such as Arthur to provide insights and guidance to interested stakeholders in this space.”

The team appointed to the Digital Advisory Council is being selected for the breadth and range of knowledge they would bring to the table, with further appointments to the Council being announced soon.  There will also be room for the Council to co-opt specialist expertise as it is required.

Goldstuck, who has been covering the fintech sector as an analyst, commentator and columnist for many years, says he sees the role as a welcome challenge.

“There has been a long-standing need for a clear understanding of the impact being made by fintech today, and the exponential change it will cause tomorrow,” said Goldstuck. “My role will be, partly, to curate the wide spectrum of fintech and digitalisation knowledge and insights that the members will bring to the Digital Advisory Council, and help create scenarios that businesses and policymakers may use to navigate the future – both inside and outside Sasfin.”

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