The internet of things (IoT) may be a relatively new term, but connecting devices over the internet, letting them talk to us, other applications and each other, is far more commonplace than we may realise. In fact, online ATMs date back to the 1970s, while more recent web-enabled devices (e.g. tablets, sensors and wearables) are increasingly prevalent in our day-to-day lives. For example, how many of you already wear a smartwatch to track your fitness or use a smart meter to monitor your home energy spend?
What part is Amadeus playing in removing the friction from travel?
There are two technologies working hand in hand with IOT: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data. Amadeus is an important facilitator in helping to deliver a total trip experience, combining our technological expertise and data content, to make travel frictionless and more enriching for customers. We are currently experimenting with Amadeus Ambient Services, a pioneering platform that enables ambient interactions throughout the traveller journey. This opt-in technology can sit between any third party smart touchpoint (e.g. car dashboard, smartphone) and Amadeus’ systems, proposing relevant and personalised services based on who you are, where you are and what makes sense for you. In fact, Amadeus Ambient Services won runner up in the 2016 Launch People’s Choice Award, at the Phocuswright Conference in November last year.
How will the IoT evolve over the next 5 years?
We are only just beginning to scratch the surface in terms of what internet-enabled devices will look like and be able to offer travellers in the future. At Amadeus for example, we presented our robotic experiment to travel agencies last year in the form of – 1ATA – a humanoid robot enriched with ‘deep learning’ capabilities, designed to interact with customers and build a preference-based profile.
What is certain is that the growth potential of IoT is huge, with forecasts estimating it will reach a value of USD 661.74 billion by 2021, and the number of connected IoT devices, sensors and actuators climbing to 46 billion, also by 2021.
However, we must be mindful of where the IoT currently has limitations. One key area which has yet to be resolved is that of standardisation – developing a common platform and operating system for IoT devices so they can work to compatible standards. Privacy and security are also important points to watch out for since hackers will find new ways to attack IoT devices and protocols. To address these challenges, ‘smart things’ will need updatable hardware and software to adapt during their life span.
On a personal front, I am convinced that the IoT has the potential to improve the quality our lives. If we look at travel for instance, already we can change a flight booking via SMS and check into a hotel from our phones, and it won’t be long before the nightmare of losing a suitcase belongs to bygone era. With daily tasks becoming more efficient and productive, there will be extra precious free time to spend with friends and family. And who knows, perhaps 10 years from now, we will all own a “1ATA” assistant and wonder what we ever did without one!