Time Travel & Queue Jumping …what we’ve been reading this holiday season at Brand Genetics
It’s holiday season here at BG Towers, and as such, we decided to make a voyage of discovery in the world of travel innovation…
You know how it is. You’ve spent most of the year looking forward to your “two weeks in the sun” only to return to work absolutely exhausted and in dire need of another holiday.
Let’s face it, travelling can be tiring and stressful, but fortunately there are companies out there striving to revolutionise the end-to-end experience. Here are four of the most cutting-edge innovations designed to make travel (and ultimately life) easier for the consumer.
Breaking the Barrier
For most Brits on holiday, communicating with the local generally involves speaking English loudly, slowly and using the vocabulary of a five-year-old. Luckily, help is at hand, courtesy of The Pilot.
Invented by the folks at Waverly Labs, The Pilot is a real-life Universal Translator — that useful bit of tech that explains why all the aliens in Star Trek conveniently speak English! Comprised of a pair of small cordless earbuds, The Pilot translates real-time conversations in real time from a foreign language into your native tongue.
Unfortunately, the other person also needs one of these devices for two-way communication to work. But how much easier would it be to travel a world without language barriers? It might even assign the universal signal for “can I have the bill please?” to the rubbish bin.
Lots of people choose their holiday destination for its rich history or archaeological significance — think about the Great Pyramid at Giza or the Colosseum in Rome. As impressive as these sites still are today, imagine if you could see how they looked “back in the day”. Well, with Timelooper, you can — or at least pretend to.
Timelooper is a virtual reality app that, in partnership with several famous landmarks, brings to life that location as it was hundreds of years ago. Using your smartphone and a cardboard headset, you can relive Angkor Wat in all its glory or the make your way around the Tower of London in 1255. It’s currently only available in a handful of locations, but check out their website and if you’re travelling to any of those destinations, head over to the app store and give it a whirl.
Try as you might to avoid it, sometimes you have check-in luggage before you take your seat on the plane. And you know what that means — queuing. And what’s worse than queuing, queuing when you don’t need to! If ever there was a game-changer in travel this is it. Electronic luggage tags that allow you to check a bag in from your phone.
In addition to BagTag, which was tested by British Airlines back in 2013, German luggage company Rimowa has developed a similar technology with their electronic tag suitcase and partnering app that allow you to check your bags in from your phone.
Rimowa’s technology currently only works on Lufthansa, Eva, Swiss & Austrian, but if there is enough adoption, expect to see this list grow rapidly. Given how much of a timesaver electronic and mobile boarding passes have been, we can only imagine (and hope) that Rimowa and BagTag could do the same for baggage checks.
Over the past 10 years, using phones overseas cheaply has become increasingly easy. The most you ever have to do is swap out a SIM and you’re good to go.
However, it may be about to get even easier thanks to the folks at GlobeTouch, who have been developing an app that will allow users to have a local phone number anywhere in the world without needing to switch SIM cards. Users simply download the app, launch it on once they’ve arrived in their travel destination, and top up phone credit direct to the app.
By eliminating the need for a SIM card switch, travellers will be able to have instant access to a full-service local phone without even having to visit a kiosk at the arrivals gate.
The HX (Human Experience) Learning?
Travel has the potential to enrich the soul and help us see and appreciate other countries, while also giving us the opportunity to top up our tans. Regardless of motivation, any innovation that helps people learn more about each other by reducing the barriers and making it more accessible should be celebrated.
We applaud the efforts of everyone working in this exciting space and can’t wait to see where they will help us go next.
Marc Edwards is a director at Brand Genetics, an insight and innovation agency specialising in human-centred insight and innovation. With nearly 20 years of agency and client-side experience, Marc is an insight and innovation specialist, with and a track record of driving value in brand and products through strategic planning and creative ideation.