By Brian Young, director On Holiday Group and author of Travolution’s Techie Life of Brian gadget reviews
Last month I was very privileged to get a firsthand preview of the upcoming wearable technology from Google at the search giant’s London head office.
My aim was to quench my thirst for knowledge being a gadget fan and also to see how this technology could impact on travel in the future.
My first impressions were very positive; in fact I would buy a pair of these, not only because I am early adopter of tech, but also I can really see benefits on a day-to-day basis.
The glasses felt comfortable straight away, they are very light to wear and the fact that the data that is presented to the right eye is not constantly in view helps you adjust very quickly to using the glasses.
They basically only show content when you ask for it and the screen disappears thereafter so it’s not a distraction to the user. I was also shocked at how quickly they felt natural to wear.
I was also surprised at how accurate the glasses were with regard to voice commands, as they rely entirely on your voice to operate them. I have Siri on my iPhone and I find it frustrating as it can be hit and miss, whereas with Glass it was very quick and accurate.
Google explained THAT the idea behind Glass is to give personalised short-burst content to the user. Therefore, we tested all manner of things using commands from directions, to getting translations, asking for information on places, taking photos, the lot. It really is simple to use.
I would use these day to day as I could see them becoming a personal assistant to enable me to do stuff on the go, without the stigma of talking at my smartphone. It feels more natural, whereas talking at my phone makes me look like a plonker.
It also stops the constant distraction of people getting their phones out all the time as it provides content to you in a way that only you can see. The glasses do however show a light to tell others that it is in operation ensuring that people are not worrying with regards to security.
I also like the benefit that during a meeting, if you have another meeting to head to and Glass has the details, it can send a burst of information to the glasses to say you need to leave the meeting ten minutes early as traffic is heavy and you could be late for the next meeting.
I get it. The next job for me was to think about how Glass could influence my industry, and here I think they could change the way we communicate with our customers from pre departure information, to in-resort and post departure.
Examples of this would be:
- Content to wish people a good holiday
- Terminal information the day before the flight
- Flight information regarding delays etc.
- As you enter the airport the flight number and check-in desk number
- Content messages offering good CRM in resort
- Concierge service for restaurant details, excursions, car hire, directions, and translations – the list is endless
- Welcome home messages
- Start the inspiration for next year’s holiday
Now you might argue you could do this all via mobile, and you can, and companies should be thinking of this now. But there is a blended content / contact strategy to be had here where you use Glass for short-burst content and link to the phone for more detailed information.
Companies are going to have to think about the connected world. I see an real life example being played out like so:
- Tablet/smartphone to start inspiration search for a holiday because here you can watch videos and get content which is rich.
- You then book on a desktop, over the phone or face to face followed by mobile/wearable technology to communicate with the customer through the journey pre-, in resort, post- and then drive the customer back to the inspiration stage.
It is worth noting that this is not the first wearable technology.
Remember when Nokia launched the first WAP enabled phones with a screen and keyboard that you opened to type (I still have mine in the office as a reminder, see below)?
Compare this to my iPhone 5 and you see that this technology is going to move fast and will only improve in the future.
A question I was asked was with regards to overseas representatives, and where does this technology leave them.
I think it will have a future impact; you will need less reps overseas for day-to-day contact, thus leaving a team of reps that are there to handle issues arising in the resort, when face to face is the only way to deliver good customer service.
You won’t need a large team to do this in the future as the tech can enable the information required by the customers.
This is not far away for the tech savvy companies as smartphones are the first step in this direction, and a way for the OTAs that do not have staff overseas to really improve their service levels and customer relationship.