Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Travel: What will travel look like in 2024?

Global travel website Skyscanner just launched an exciting three part report on the future of travel…involving virtual reality, wearable google glass contact lenses, a digital travel buddy and facial coding algorithms.

I attended an event high up in the London skies at Altitude 360, where they described what role they think the trends and tech will play in the travel industry by 2024, including how easy it will become to plan and book your holiday.

The report was produced in association with The Future Laboratory and 56 trend experts and futurologists in travel and tech industries…so you know they are not messing about.

Google Glasses actually look quite stylish...look, no glass! Wah!!

In the first of the three part future-gazing report, which focuses on planning and booking, Skyscanner has identified three key emerging trends which will make the process seamless, immersive and stress-free with a trip being researched, sampled and booked in less than an hour.

The future, according to Skyscanner, will see wearable technology evolve from the recently launched Google Glass to a mobile device so small that it will fit onto a contact lens and can provide immediate translations, breaking down language barriers and the need to learn the holiday lingo.

The freaky thing is, Washington Uni have already developed a wearable Google Glass eye lens that has facial recognition...can you believe it?!

At the event, we were shown the incredible tech of Google Glasses, demonstrating to us how easy it will be to have a guide book at your fingertips (or eyelids?) at all times…even whilst hiking, cycling, running. For example, as you are cycling through the forest, your lens will be showing you snippets of information about the area, significant points of interest and facts about the flora and fauna. The possibilities are limitless.

Wearing the Oculus Rift, falling through space...not for people with fear of heights

We were also shown the Oculus Rift, which is a pretty cool head device that enables you to enter a virtual reality. I got to experience what it would be like to jump off of a space station whilst gazing down on planet earth…and then visited a Tuscan villa. It felt really odd, actually ‘walking’ through the house and gazing out of the window…feeling like I was really there, to the point where I stumbled as I attempted to take a step (the virtual reality reacts to where you gaze, so no need to ACTUALLY move!).

This is all part of the predicted ‘try before you buy’ trend…where Skyscanner claim that travellers will be able to 'test drive' their trips and dream destinations, before deciding quicker and easier where they really want to go.

Lovely views of London town from Altitude 360

They also predict that in 2024, voice and gesture controlled online tools will further help travellers book a bespoke trip based on their responses or even through facial coding algorithms that will enable search engines to read and react to human expressions and adjust results based on the user’s response. Sounds pretty epic, and scary at the same time! All those 80’s Schwarzenegger movies seem to be coming true…

The Skyscanner report can be downloaded at www.skyscanner2024.com , where you can also sign up to get sections two and three will launch this summer and autumn respectively. Looking forward to seeing what’s next!


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