Science fiction is invariably based on real theory, and usually becomes reality at some point in the future. This is the case with technology such as voice, face and even emotional recognition. No longer will films be able to awe us with these features because they already exist in real life!
Human-centred technology like this is especially relevant to travel, something raised in Euromonitor International’s annual Top 100 Cities report. The research company proposes that both face and voice recognition, in conjunction with artificial intelligence, are set to see a huge rise in prominence. Beyond that, Euromonitor believes even emotional recognition may play a part in targeting travellers to help them make booking decisions.
Let’s take a look at the key advancements and potential uses for each piece of technology…
Facial Recognition: The promise of streamlined airport and hotel experiences
The global facial recognition market is expected to grow from $4 billion (USD) in 2017 to almost $7.8 billion (USD) by 2022.
Facial recognition has the potential to significantly improve security and efficiency at both airports and hotels. If the technology can be implemented on a global scale it will forgo a lot of unnecessary paperwork and time spent waiting in line or checking-in.
Travellers will be able to move more smoothly through the various sections of an airport and then not only skip the check-in line at their hotel, but also enter their room without need of a key. On the security side of the coin, this technology will be extremely effective in picking up people who aren’t who they say they are or don’t have the authority to be in a particular place.
In many airports facial recognition is already being used and/or tested, such as in Aruba, Boston Logan, Singapore, and Dublin. Most of these cases involve passengers having their photo taken, their face checked against the image held in the biometric chip of their e-passport, or against an airline passenger manifest, and they move through the airport without the need for a manual identity check.
On a global scale the technology will forgo a lot of unnecessary paperwork and processes.
Voice Recognition: The promise of an efficient online search aid for travellers
With Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa making such a splash in the home device market, voice is seen as one of the next big frontiers of travel in delivering greater convenience for travellers and hopefully more revenue for travel providers.
Without the amount of data in the world, voice search has the potential to really narrow things down. Instead of a whole screen of information overload, a voice-based search will be designed to deliver a much more personal and helpful result.
By only delivering the most relevant and specific information to a traveller much time and confusion can be saved. This is where AI will play a large role, with the ability to analyse what data is useful in milliseconds.
Over time it’s hoped a traveller may only have to utter “I want to holiday in Sydney” and their mobile or other device will present them with a range of immediately helpful options.
Physical locations such as airports and hotels will also utilise voice in the way of concierges. An AI voice app will be able to guide prospective guests through their journey or hotel stay right from the palm of their hand. This presents a smarter and cheaper solution than a physical AI bot and Dallas/Fort Worth airport is already working in this space.
Emotional Recognition: The promise of a helping travellers experience the perfect trip
While still rudimentary at this stage, the potential for emotional recognition technology is very real.
Travelsify, an online hotel booking platform, is taking baby steps by allowing users to pick a hotel based on their mood or emotional state, rather than simply selecting from a list of amenities.
Expedia is another company that used sensors to assess the emotional state of its users, to develop strategies for better online conversion and customer booking experience.
Eventually hotel and travel brands will move towards using technology to accurately read the emotions of customers and tailor offerings accordingly, further improving the ability to deliver a true personal guest experience.