We used to drive to see a travel agent to book our family vacation. What if your house, watch or car knew you well enough to book your next trip? Can inanimate objects and devices from our daily lives leverage enough data to make our vacations more enjoyable? Sounds way off in the future but the Internet of Things is already here. Twice as many things are connected to the Internet as people.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is really cool as previously analog appliances, machines and tools get their chance to become digital and smarter. Your refrigerator might search recipes based on items already in your fridge. Supply chains improve as vending machines and grocery stores order more inventory on demand automatically as products fly off the shelves. Ten years ago, we were not thinking about sunglasses or watches being connected to the Internet. But wearable devices will also explode and accelerate IoT. Ninety million wearable devices are shipping this year, according to ABI. Of course, it is way too early to know which wearables will catch on faster but regardless they will help drive The Internet of Things.
How can the travel and tourism industry get involved? The tourism board representing the beaches of Ft. Myers and Sanibel became the first to incorporate Google Glass into a marketing program. They took a chance, and it paid off with tons of exposure for taking that leap. Disney just spent $1 billion on their new mobile wristbands to allow seamless movement through their parks, restaurants and hotels. They could also use IoT data to better monitor crowd movements and shorten the lines with new foot traffic patterns and flow. Festivals and events are starting to use similar concepts to better predict crowd sizes at certain times based on users entering and exiting various sections of the event.
Destinations can utilize various devices around town to better manage popular attractions and itineraries. Songdo, South Korea, is the first smart city where almost everything in town is on the grid and able to send and/or receive data. Tourists will be keen to experience creative uses of The Internet of Things throughout their destination. We talk often about letting visitors truly experience a destination by touching and feeling all it has to offer. The Internet of Things allows for limitless ways to incorporate technology into your surroundings to give visitors an enhanced or even augmented feel for your destination.
When I first heard the term, The Internet of Things, I thought about the many SciFi movies like “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Transformers.” The Things in these films come to life and/or take over the world a bit as machines challenge mankind in an ominous way. Artificial intelligence is very exciting but of course needs its own checks and balances or our society might get too high tech for its own good. If you want to try something way out of the box, then get creative and test something unique where you integrate your travel brand with The Internet of Things.
Clickz has a great article with more insights on IoT.