FCM's Innovation Spotlight: July

Travel News 19 Jul 2017

Our monthly insight into all things #TravelTech related. The latest on new technology launching and being talked about across the business travel industry.

1.      Houston Airport Authority announces their own In-House Wayfinding functionality

George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport are rolling-out an app this month that will allow users to navigate the internal corridors and spaces of the airports. Frequent travelers will be all too familiar of the limitations of general navigation apps in helping you find your way when actually inside airports, especially large and unfamiliar facilities. Not only will this new offering help serve this need, but it will not require any additional apps to be downloaded, operating directly from the airport website. It will also display users ETA and location information, as well as search for shops and particular destinations to save time and make your transfer as efficient as possible.  The app will be available at fly2houston.com.


2.      Hilton launches digital room keys

Members of Hilton’s loyalty scheme will be able to unlock their rooms as well as other amenities across a host of the company’s properties worldwide under a new program that starts rolling out this month. Activated the day before arrival, Hilton Honors members who book directly will be able to select their room on their mobile devices using digital check-in. From there they can also elect to have a digital key for their stay, as well as receive in-app notifications about the readiness of their room, unlocking it with the push of a button when approaching. Although a passport is currently required for international guests, the goal is to eventually enable all Hilton Honors members to completely bypass the check-in desk if they so choose. The program aims to expand to more than 2,500 properties globally by the end of 2017.


3.      EasyJet flight updates now available through Amazon Echo

Passengers on low-cost carrier EasyJet can now access updates to flight times through Amazon Echo, the virtual personal assistant. EasyJet hopes its offering, the first of any European airline in this space, will help it take advantage of the quickly growing popularity of Amazon’s series of Echo products to make travel even easier. By simply saying ‘Alexa, enable Easyjet’, users will then have access to timetable information, flight status and more.


4.      Fingerprint Scanning Technology trials at U.S Airports.

Hartsfield-Jackson and Denver International airports are implementing a trial fingerprint-scanning system. This new technical innovation would allow travelers enrolled in the TSA PreCheck program the option of confirming their identity with a biometric scan of their fingerprints. Participation would be voluntary, and TSA agents will continue to use other verifications methods to identify passengers who opt-in. Eventually it hopes to expand the system to act as both boarding-pass and identification, but for now you will still need your passport.


5.      Hyperloop Technology passes its first test

Hyperloop One, the Nevada-based prototype of the technology first proposed by Elon Musk, has now completed its first major test.  This is being hailed as a significant milestone in the development of this new mode of transport which aims to move passengers and cargo faster than the speed of sound by utilizing electromagnetic propulsion to push a 28-foot long pod through specially constructed track. While this initial test was only at a fraction of projected speeds and much work remains to be done the proof of concept is being hailed as one of the most exciting developments transportation infrastructure for decades.