Whether you’re boarding a plane for business or pleasure in the new year, expect airlines and travel services companies to leverage mobile technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) to make traveling a more enjoyable experience.
While the benefits of consumer-facing mobile apps are obvious — users can find and book flights through their smartphones, for example — other improvements for travelers are coming through mobile apps used by airline employees, writes Chris Hazelton in Aviation Pros.
“Like many field services-dominated industries, most workers in travel or transportation don’t have a desk,” Hazelton argues. “Flight attendants, pilots, mechanics, ticket and baggage agents and maintenance personnel are all tapping into mobile applications. According to the 2015 Airline IT Trends Survey by SITA, 55 percent of airline personnel use smartphones for work tasks, and this will grow to 73 percent by 2018.”
By allowing travel employees to get information, communicate and collaborate with colleagues without having to scurry back to a desktop, airlines can increase their levels of efficiency in an industry where instant decisions can make or break customer travel plans.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is enabling airlines to track equipment performance on a micro level, Hazelton says, by attaching sensors “to nearly everything that moves.”
“Instead of tracking airplanes and engines as is done today, airlines will track an increasing number of individual aircraft parts, service vehicles, and people,” he writes. “Tracking ground crew can improve response times, but also alert workers to impending dangers based on their location.”
Travelers value accurate and timely information, prompt service, and no surprises. Airlines that are best able to harness mobile apps and IoT data for their employees will be rewarded with greater customer loyalty and an enhanced brand. Those that can’t (or won’t) eventually will end up being grounded.