The future is now: biometrics and travel
Tuesday 17 Jul 2018
The primary goal of technology in travel is always to create a more seamless experience and to give customers the best possible experience. Biometrics is the next big frontier and it could revolutionise the way we move.
Biometrics is the technical term for body measurements and calculations. In practical travel terms, it is the process by which organisations collect physical data – like facial recognition scans and fingerprints – as part of the identification process. Governments were the early adopters, incorporating the process into visa applications or immigration processes (like the automated booths at Sydney Airport). But the potential goes much, much further than that.
British Airways was the first airline to trial biometric boarding gates on international flights out of the USA. Essentially, your face would act as your boarding pass. Improved biometric technology could transform the airport experience, doing away with paper or mobile documents and frustrating queues, replacing them instead with a simple scan.
Hotel giant AccorHotels is taking biometrics a step further, exploring the possibilities of the technology beyond security. The group recently launched Seeker by Le Club AccorHotels, a series of biometric tests on mobile and desktop that can help travellers determine where they should go and what hotel they should stay at. The program is designed to read their emotions to ascertain not just what they are thinking but also what they are feeling. It uses the device’s inbuilt camera to measure heart rate and pulse, then decide which of six different travel types the user falls into.
It may seem like a gimmick for now, but the group has plans for its future. “We are working on potential ways to use these preferences to create better and more meaningful experiences for our guests,” says Mike Manh of The Mill creative content agency that worked with AccorHotels on the project.
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