The world of wearable technology is moving fast. The trend is no longer just a curious idea that caused gadget lovers to get hot under the collar, or for science fiction to imagine, it is now becoming more of a reality for all of us. But what exactly is wearable technology? Put simply, it is advanced technology incorporated into things worn on a daily basis. So think a watch or bracelet that doubles up as a smart phone, glasses that are also a camera or a ring that monitors your heart rate.
It is Google Glass, however, that is the most talked about example of this technology at the moment. The buzz has grown even more since Virgin Atlantic launched their wearable technology pilot scheme in February. Virgin Atlantic passengers arriving at the Upper Class Wing at Heathrow airport were greeted by staff wearing either Google Glass or a Sony SmartWatch 2. As soon as a passenger arrived, the technology delivered personalised information about the individual traveller directly to the member of staff's glasses or watch, providing a unique customer experience.
This cutting-edge technology has been developed in partnership with air transport IT specialist SITA, and hopes to enhance passengers' travel experiences, increase efficiency and exceed consumer expectations. Leading the charge and becoming early adopters of wearable technology has meant Virgin Atlantic are taking a risk – but it is the kind of risk that is worth it for a company who are clearly taking the needs of their customers very seriously and being proactive in their innovations.
Travel professionals across the industry need to respond to customers' demands in the most efficient way possible; they also need to be able to support consumers and give them a travel experience tailored to them and their needs. Customers constantly require relevant information to be at their fingertips and the travel industry needs to respond to that desire.
Some people have laughed at wearables, but the technology has been created with consumer convenience in mind – a pretty good starting point for any product. With sales having jumped from 3.1 million in 2011 to 8.3 million in 2012, it looks like customers are keen to adopt this technology, too.
The travel industry is right to move fast to embrace wearable technology. So while some may mock the technology, let's not forget that back in the day people made fun of PCs and the Internet. Technology has fared well, and the future of wearables looks set to follow suit.