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Airlines across the journey – a future snapshot

Published on  21 September by Nigel Pickford , Director of Market Insight , SITA
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Robots, wearables, biometrics and virtual reality are sure to feature in everyday life by the year 2100.  Most of us won’t be around to see it but this article in The Economist  gives a thought-provoking insight into the world nearly 90 years from now.

The United Nations predicts 84% of the Earth’s growing population will live in cities by 2100. By then it will be standard for tech to be completely connected with human life through urbanization, machine intelligence and automation technologies.

Today we are starting to see how such a future landscape might develop as pace-setters across numerous industries take the first tentative steps along the Internet of Things and automation pathway. Indeed, even by 2020 Cisco expects 50 billion machines to be connected to the internet, vastly outnumbering the 5 billion humans who will be.

For the first time this year our research team here at SITA got a snapshot of what airlines around the world are planning to do with these emerging technologies. We don’t look as far in advance as 2100, but the level of activity planned over the next five to ten years for some of these new technologies, which we have highlighted in this infographic, may surprise you.

Robots, wearables, biometrics and virtual reality are all starting to feature in airline plans and will become established examples of the driving force as described in the article:

“Whatever a technology is designed for, the people who use it, and the environment it’s used in, will adapt it to suit other needs.”

The success of such tech in the air transport industry depends largely on how it can be adapted or applied to improve the passenger experience, either directly or indirectly via airline/airport systems and their staff. Accelerated adoption across the industry will depend on human factor considerations and breaking down the barriers for those people who do not naturally embrace technology and remain sceptical about the increasingly connected nature of modern life.

In SITA’s upcoming 2016 Passenger IT Trends Survey Webinar, we are going to examine the evidence and discuss the different types of passengers, how they relate to technology and how their expectations could shape airline and airport IT strategy. Some passengers simply don’t trust technology to replace human contact at key stages of their journey such as check-in and security. How can airlines and airports manage the myriad of passenger expectations?

Whether the necessity remains for any human to human contact during the passenger journey by 2100 poses many questions for debate…

Join us on 29 September.

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