4 ways IoT is transforming the way we travel

4 ways IoT is transforming the way we travel

In case you hadn't heard, the Internet of Things (IoT) is set to play an increasingly large part in all our lives, with 22.5 billion IoT devices estimated by 2021. What's more, Accenture predicts that IoT could add $14.2 trillion to the global economy by 2030.

So what will IoT be impacting? The answer - close to everything.

Cars, thermostats, refrigerators, wearables and even cows – yes, connected cows is actually a thing, allowing farmers to track when a cow is going into labour – are currently utilising IoT, and this is seemingly just the beginning.

One of the areas currently being transformed by IoT is the travel industry. Back in 2013, London City Airport became the first airport to test out the Internet of Things, where they measured passenger journeys using a sensor and camera network, along with monitoring the position and movement of airport equipment, helping reduce the turnaround time for flights.

Flash forward just a few years and IoT is now utilised in airports around the world, and the best is undoubtedly yet to come. Such as...

1. Tracking your baggage

Remember the name 'smart luggage', as it's something we're going to be hearing a lot more of. Smart luggage will see suitcases and travel bags equipped with GSP tracking, fingerprint locks, weight notifications and more. Misplaced your bag? You'll be able to track its exact location at all times, along with eliminating the worry of someone getting into the bag due to finger sensor locks.

It's estimated that close to half of all airports will be using IoT sensors within 2018, transmitting baggage location information to travellers at bag drop and baggage claim.

2. Less queuing and fewer delays

In a recent poll asking travellers about their biggest complaints for air travel, unsurprisingly, 67% went with flight delays and cancellations. Whether travelling for work or pleasure, we're nearly always running under certain time constraints, and extended queuing time or flight delays only expatiates the situation.

Last year, Birmingham Airport took the first step in combatting this by deploying a sensor-agnostic tracking and monitoring system called BlipTrack. Capturing data from Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connected sensors to detect mobile devices, it tracks information such as travel times, dwell times and passenger movement patterns, allowing the airport to calculate accurate wait times and avoid passenger congestion.

3. Getting from A to B, swiftly

A new airport in Beijing, set to open in 2019, will feature a 700,000 square-meter terminal and will be the world's largest airport. Getting from one side of that airport to the other would take a significant amount of time and it's easy to forget just how much distance we cover when simply walking through the airport – a distance that can be amplified considerably due to heading in the wrong direction or getting lost altogether.

Thankfully a number of airports are already utilising IoT solutions to provide passengers with a swifter journey through the airport. Miami airport, for instance, operates a network of 400 beacons which provide detailed information and personalised services to customers at its terminals and various shops. Through its mobile app, users can scan boarding passes, receive indoor navigation and peruse gate walk times and flight updates. And in Denmark, the Billund Airport has installed an IoT system to measure passenger flows, queues and dwell times from car park to departure.

4. Enhancing your in-flight experience

The fact that we're able to fly from one continent to another within a few hours, which a hundred or so years ago would have taken weeks or even months, is a testament to how much technology has evolved in such a narrow timeframe. And we haven't stopped yet. Far from it, IoT is set to enhance our in-flight experience substantially.

We'll soon see sensors embedded into cabin seats, analysing passengers' levels of temperature, hydration and anxiety, and adjusting the cabin environment to increase comfort levels. In addition, real-time and historical data will inform the cabin crew of your food and beverage preferences, along with analysing your previous journeys, resulting in a more personalised service for you and every passenger on the flight.

Accelerate your IoT connectivity

Almost 80% of airports globally said that leveraging digital technologies, beacons and other sensor technology would allow them to provide flight, gate, walk time or other important notifications to passengers. Within a few years, we'll wonder how we ever travelled without IoT and its technological enhancements.

Truphone, a Global IoT Innovation Provider of the Year, is a firm believer in the power and future of the Internet of Things. With Truphone's all-in-one IoT solution, you can easily connect and manage your assets anywhere, anytime, on one contract — all from our industry-leading platform. Head over to truphone.com to discover how Truphone can accelerate your IoT connectivity.

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