67% Of Airlines Turning To IoT; 61% For Smart Baggage, 47% Passenger Identification

Airlines are jumping aboard the Internet of Things train.

Even though challenged by upfront costs, the number of airlines now involved in major IoT initiative has almost doubled since last year.

Mobile activity also is high, with nearly 80% of airlines planning major investments in passenger services via smartphone over the next three years, according to a new airline industry report.

The study is based on a survey of executives at the top 200 passenger air carriers conducted by SITA, the airline industry organization.

Almost a third (29%) of airlines are involved in major IoT programs, up from 16% last year. Another 38% are planning research and pilot projects over the next three years. That means a total of 67% of airlines are moving into the Internet of Things, some at different levels than others.

Travelers can expect to see the results in several areas, such as tracking of luggage. At the least, passengers with lost luggage may have the comfort of knowing where their luggage is, even if not with them. Here’s where airlines are focusing resources:

  • 61% -- Smart baggage tagging
  • 50% -- Manage equipment condition
  • 47% -- Passenger identification (single travel token)
  • 42% -- Monitoring location

Interest in beacons and sensors also has grown considerably since last year with plans to add the technologies to provide ‘walk-to-gate’ times to passengers up significantly.

The airlines’ look to the future includes wearables, with 11% in trials now with another 28% expected over the next five years. Here’s what airlines are planning over the next five years:

  • 40% -- Wearables for staff (smartwatches, smart glasses)
  • 39% -- Specific wearable-enabled services for passengers
  • 30% -- Single biometric travel token for identification management
  • 23% -- Artificial intelligence
  • 20% -- Virtual reality services for passengers
  • 19% -- Virtual reality for staff

But for today, there’s still a ways to go. For example, only a third (33%) of airlines have Internet capability, though 74% expect to have it by 2019. And while 24% have multi-media in-flight streaming, 70% plan to by 2019.

Now if only the flights with all that new Iot technology could be on time.


Want more insights on wearables? Come hear Chuck Fletcher of Razorfish, Ben Gaddis of T3 and Marley Kaplan of Kinetic Worldwide at the MediaPost IoT Marketing Forum Aug. 3 in New York. Check it out the agenda here.

2 comments about "67% Of Airlines Turning To IoT; 61% For Smart Baggage, 47% Passenger Identification".
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  1. Mark Westlake from GearBrain, June 30, 2016 at 9:53 a.m.

    This is good news but as you can see connectivity is still an issue with the airlines.  They need to figure this out for better inflight experiences.  

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, June 30, 2016 at 9:56 a.m.

    Totally correct on that one, Mark. Wi-Fi at 30,000 ft is hardly steady...or fast.

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