Tough situations often bring tough solutions. This pandemic is no exception as it pushes us to be flexible, think outside the box, and innovate solutions to help lessen the spread of the novel coronavirus. As you may have noticed, we are now doing much of our usual activities online. This contactless concept not only helps to prevent the spread of the virus but most of all, it offers convenience and safety to its users.
Below are eight of the best travel innovations you’re going to see and experience in the future.
1. Smart Airports
Though strict social distancing protocols are widely implemented, this is not a guarantee to avoid cross-contamination of the virus. Because even at this moment, the physical exchange of travel documents and touching of surfaces through check-in are still present. And as we all know, this still poses a significant risk both for travelers and airport employees.
This issue forces the travel and aviation industries to shift their services to a fully digital system. Physical fingerprint and hand scanners will be phased out. Instead, a contactless biometric system will become a new norm. A good example of this is the VeriEye SDK, a noncontact iris scanner that identifies the person through the eye iris. We will also see touchless document scanning and remote voice commands in the future.
2. Enhanced Online Platforms
Online travel platforms like online travel booking and online airport parking system ideas aren’t really that new. They have long existed even before the pandemic happened. But now is the best time to enhance these platforms for much better customer experience.
For instance, having a customer service team that could attend to the queries of their customers instantly would not only give convenience but also provide overall good experience but will also help the online airport parking platforms retain their customers. Perhaps they could also think to discount airport parking fees to their loyal customers. Or maybe offer cheap airport parking deals from time to time.
3. Digital Health Assessment
Right now, there is no clear health standard of the allowed individuals to travel. Aside from thermal scanners and other technologies that help detect the temperature of a person, there are no added layers of verification that assess the health condition of a certain individual. As we all know, an asymptomatic coronavirus carrier may not exhibit any symptoms so verifying an asymptomatic’s health through his body temperature would be useless.
To address this issue, we are already seeing efforts to develop health protocols and standards with the use of digital technology. One example would be assessing the personal data of the traveler such as his age, underlying health conditions, and travel history through a digital system. Symptoms tracking apps like the one in South Korea also helped in mitigating the spread of the virus. Aside from that, Apple and Google are also finalizing contact tracing apps which are extremely useful to directly spot probable virus carriers.
4. Digital Traveler
The digital traveler idea is kind of similar to the digital health assessment concept we discussed above. Being a digital traveler means you agree to disclose your identity including your personal health records and credibility. One good platform for this is the Known Traveller Digital Identity (KDTI).
KDTI is a joint force of individuals, government, authorities, and travel industry to enhance the security of both the travelers and employees. Basically, the very aim of this platform is to verify a person’s identity and health profile to assess whether he’s a great fit to travel or not. Since this requires sharing sensitive info, KDTI allows individuals to manage their data, of which information they choose to share and when. In return, this will help travelers pass through smoothly and safely.
5. Blockchain Integration
In the future, we’ll see more platforms being integrated with the blockchain technology and the travel industry is no exception to it. For example, KrisPay, a blockchain-based digital wallet, was launched by Singapore Airlines and is known for its loyalty program. The KrisFlyer program allows its members to convert their loyalty coins called KrisFlyer miles to pay for purchases at KrisPay’s partner merchants.
In the future, we’ll see more online airport platforms to integrate blockchain technology for a much safer and private online transaction. If you’re asking, one of the advantages of blockchain technology is to protect the privacy of its users. If you’re looking to book an online airport parking platform for instance, you can choose to preserve the personal and sensitive info about your vehicle while still enjoying the service of a usual online airport parking system.
6. Onboard Connectivity
Right now, there are a number of airlines that offer inflight WiFi, which was hardly accessible a few years ago. But right now, since digital connectivity and online streaming are becoming a new norm than before, perhaps airlines can partner with huge online streaming platforms like Netflix or Amazon Prime for a much better and specialized onboard streaming.
7. Smart Ground Transportation
One of the biggest challenges when traveling is getting to your end destination. Sure, you can ride on taxis, public transportation, or local ride-hailing apps but there are smart ground transportation technologies that offer smart transportation solutions that will help you get to your destination on time and conveniently. They are also tailored to impose trust and safety, which is especially good for people who are traveling to new places.
The things we mentioned above are just a few of the things that are already happening or are about to happen in the near future. But of course, these post-pandemic travel innovations are not a hundred percent foolproof. We may still be able to experience some glitches, issues, or even have our identity compromised as our personal data are heavily exposed online. But this is just the start and these innovations can be refined through time.
Do you know any other post-pandemic travel innovations that awestruck you? If so, don’t hesitate to discuss it in the comment box and let’s have a conversation about it.