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‘User-friendly technology’ new mantra to dominate aircraft sector

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Gone are the days when one used to think before stepping out for an air travel. Promising full comfort and ultra-modern facilities, airlines worldwide are welcoming passengers with open arms these days and have also won their trust magnanimously.
Today, everybody seems to be on the move and is connected
prominently with every nook
and corner of the earth.
Increased frequency of flights and momentous development in the aviation sector are making this transition a somewhat pleasant as well as easier experience. The world has become a global
village in true sense.
In the last few years, passenger numbers have grown rapidly and 2015 remained one of the busiest years in airline history. Passenger traffic is mounting speedily — it is estimated to be on the fast track to reach a whopping mark of 9 billion passengers by 2025.
While looking at a wider perspective, more passengers automatically translate into increased revenues, improved facilities both inside and outside the flight (airport), intense competition and above all additional responsibilities of carriers towards the passengers. Here exists the real catch — to keep passengers satisfied with the existing services and constantly treating them with one or the other marvel of novel
offerings.
In simple words, we can say to cope airlines and airports need to be prepared to adopt the latest self-service and collaborative
decision-making technologies.
Something that is surely away from the traditional approaches and impart a feeling of independence
and strengthening among the
passengers.
As we enter into 2016,
Emirates Business brings to you a quick guide of ultra-modern facilities or offerings that are going to dominate aviation sector in the forthcoming years.
While newer technology trends, such as cloud, have already moved center stage within air transport, others are still on the fringes and only just starting to make a lasting impact. It is anticipated that this year a lot of attention would be put up on the Internet of Things,
wearables and beacon
technology. They are going
to shape air travel of the
future.

Beacons: Charting a new course
Beacons, which use bluetooth as the underlying technology, are a recent addition to a list of proximity sensing solutions, including cellular, wi-fi, and Near Field Communication (NFC), which are being used within the airport to provide a connection to passenger’s mobile devices.
According to the SITA’s 2015 Airline IT Trends Survey, currently, around 9 percent of airlines have experimented with beacons, mostly in the check-in area, but also at places in the airport where passengers dwell and transfer between flights. The most common service provided by airlines is the delivery of flight and gate information.
Such is the potential of beacons that over the next three years, the number of airlines starting beacon projects is expected to soar nearly five-fold to 44 percent, with way finding from check-in to gate the most common service planned.
Let’s connect everything
The Internet of Things or famously known as IoT is still in its infancy within air travel, but is expected to mature fast over the coming years. As a result, an increasing number of physical items at the airport, as well as people through the devices they carry, will add to the amount of data for analytics.
As per the survey, nearly 86 percent of airlines expect the IoT to provide clear benefits over the next three years, while only 9 percent strongly agree that the IoT presents clear benefits at this moment.
Consequently, airlines are taking a cautious approach to investments in this area with only 16 percent planning a major project, while 41 percent are aiming to make some kind of research and development (R&D) investment.
Importantly, check-ins are predicted to be the early beneficiary of the IoT with 42 percent of airlines rating this as their top priority and 56 percent would put it in their top three areas to benefit. Two out of five airlines also put bag-drop within their top three areas of the customer journey that will benefit from IoT technology.

Wearables: Few takers in the
beginning
Another technology new to the industry is wearables, which a number of airlines are starting to trial. In fact, the SITA survey shows only 7 percent of airlines have so far looked at their potential to date and this cautious approach will continue over the next three years.
Uncertainty over the market and products makes it difficult for airlines to plan and so it is no surprise that the vast majority of airlines are taking their own time in contemplating to make a final opinion regarding this technology.
Largely, those that do have plans are mostly only going to evaluate wearables as an R&D project.
Another area that is drawing huge interest of the stakeholders is about how to make passengers more independent while it comes to customise the flight’s offerings. The survey says nearly 96 percent of airlines will provide flight status update to its passengers by 2018.

Excellent on-board services
By the end of 2018, the majority of airlines (around 66 percent) will offer wireless internet and multi-media services on passenger devices, giving passengers greater ability to choose their own in-flight relaxation and entertainment. Mobile applications giving passengers the opportunity to book destination services, such as onward travel from the airport, are also set to increase rapidly from only 6 percent currently to 44 percent in 2018, while in-flight duty free shopping applications will also increase sharply from 11 percent to 47 percent.

More informed passengers
Undoubtedly any air travel brings along a lot of stress. Therefore cutting on this is certainly the foremost priority of airlines globally. One easier way to cut stress levels among passengers is to keep them informed. Flight status notifications are already well established and will be offered by almost all airlines by 2018.
SITA survey indicates the next wave of information services will evolve rapidly towards a much more interactive approach for the majority of airlines.

Baggage location information
The focus of new services over the next three years will be to use location-based information to solve baggage issues.
For example, by 2018, around 70 percent of airlines plan to keep passengers up to date with the location of their baggage, up from just 10percent currently.
Airlines will also focus on
developing information services by using passenger location to ensure on-time boarding with timely
notifications based on their
location. At present, only one-tenth of airlines are providing these
notifications, and it is expected to rise to 65 percent over the next three-year time.
Self-sufficient kiosks
Kiosks are also developing from their traditional check-in role to offer a growing range of information and reporting services to assist passengers, in areas such as lost baggage, transfer and in times of disruption.
More number of airports are investing on establishing these autonomous kiosks on their
premises.

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