FCM's Innovation Spotlight: November

Travel News 21 Nov 2017

Dream Hotel Group testing Alexa voice-service

Dream Hotel Group is testing Amazon’s Alexa voice service at one of their hotels in a pilot program that could lead to the introduction of the device across the groups hotel network. This testing phase will evaluate how useful the voice assistant which was primarily designed for domestic use is in a commercial hospitality setting. Guests can use Alexa as a kind of digital butler, ordering wake-up calls, extra towels or even room service. 


Germany Will Get World’s First Hydrogen-Powered Trains in 2021

The worlds first hydrogen-powered railway network will begin operations in Germany in the next four years according to a recent announcement. The trains built by French engineering conglomerate Alstom will operate in the north of the country, with a maximum speed of 87 Miles per hour and a range of more than 600 miles. Using hydrogen over more traditional means of propulsion has the advantage of producing only water vapor as a byproduct, making them one of the most eco-friendly options for mass transportation. There are even plans in the works to produce the hydrogen propellant using some of the regions many wind-turbines, further reducing the emissions footprint. 


‘Uber Air’: Flying Car network a step closer to reality with NASA deal

Ride-sharing giant Uber’s dream of a network of flying cars has moved a step closer to becoming reality after signing a recent deal with NASA regarding the safe management of the planned transport innovation. The San Francisco based startup has ambitious plans to roll out an on-demand network of vertical take-off and landing cars in Dubai, Dallas and Los Angeles by 2020. The NASA agreement will help the company develop new safety and traffic control procedures in the hopes of getting FAA approval for the concept. At the same time Uber is infrastructure and aircraft companies to develop technology to allow customers to push a button and have a high-speed aircraft pick them up on demand. The initiative comes amidst competition from other companies, notably Google parent Alphabet, funding their own similar network project.


Hilton’s ‘Connected Room’

Hilton CEO Christopher Nasetta has announced a new initiative from Hilton called Connected Room’. This is billed by Nasetta as ‘the first truly mobile-centric hotel room’, where guests will be able to use mobile devices to control their room’s air conditioning, entertainment, lighting and interact with other hotel features such as room service.  So called ‘Smart Rooms’ are becoming more and more common as hotel companies take advantage of new appliances and technologies. However, no other hotel chain has announced anything as ambitious as the program Hilton is describing, with their intention to roll-out the concept to their global network of locations. 


Siemens to modernize baggage handling systems at airports in Greece

Siemens has been granted a contract to modernize airport infrastructure in Greece to improve reliability and security for both incoming and outgoing travelers. All 13 airports in the Mediterranean nations will be improved with some of the latest innovations in baggage handling and tracking technology. These range from variable conveyor belts, automated sorting units, x-ray screening and ‘smart supervisory control and data acquisition’ which will allow airport staff to control and monitor all the technical processes going on. This is widely seen as part of an ongoing modernization program happening in the region, with Turkey leading the way with a new state of the art airport under construction.