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The Future of Technology Disruption in the Travel and Transportation Industry

Posted on: June 25th, 2014 by MTC Limousine

Few industries have been disrupted as much by technology as the travel and transportation industry–and technology isn’t going away. Companies that are not agile enough to pivot in this new market will not be able to succeed. From air travel to ground transportation, the digital disruption of the industry has to be both understood and anticipated. MTC Limousine has not only embraced the emerging technology, but is ahead of the trends in ground transportation and travel technology.

First Generation Disruption: The Internet

For a brief amount of time, World Wide Web threw the travel and tourism industry into a state of confusion; for the first time, consumers were able to cut out the middle man entirely and go directly to service providers. But this didn’t have to be harmful to the industry; after a few years, companies figured out that providing a larger volume of services through the web at at lower cost could still allow them to make a significant amount of money. They simply needed to cut their overhead and reposition themselves. Only the companies that were able to do this quickly were able to capitalize on this disruption.

Second Generation Disruption: The Mobile Device

Once many of the travel agencies and transportation industry stragglers had moved to the Internet, they found that the Internet was no longer applicable. After a few brief years of being able to regain footing, mobile devices became more popular. The amount of people solely using mobile devices for browsing the Internet is steadily increasing. Mobile applications have become more effective than websites.

Many companies are calling this the major industry disruption of the travel and transportation industry, but this may not be so. It’s important to note that industry disruption occurs based on new technology and the gaps between new technologies have never been as close as they are now. Companies are innovating like never before and it’s very likely that the mobile disruption will not be here for long. Companies who truly want to be innovative will need to think one step ahead.

Third Generation Disruption: The Future

Industry disruption will not end with the mobile device. There are three major technologies that are poised to further disrupt the travel and transportation industry: augmented reality, the Internet of Things and peer-to-peer Internet.

  • Augmented reality is a new technology that overlays digital information on the real world. The most popularly known augmented reality device today is Google Glass, but many other companies are also working on this technology. Augmented reality would essentially replace the need to check a mobile phone. Users of Google Glass, as an example, could simply say “OK Glass, book me a flight from Genoa, Italy to New York City, New York.” An overlay of flight information will be projected in front of the viewer’s vision.Consider the major mobile disrupter of the transportation industry, Uber. Should devices like Google Glass become as popular as mobile phones, the company that is first-to-market with an Uber-like application for the platform could potentially be able to supplant Uber without much effort.
  • The Internet of Things does not describe a technology as much as an idea. The idea is that everything in our world is becoming Internet capable, from dishwashers to refrigerators. Through the Internet of Things customers and their behaviors can be tracked unlike ever before.Cross marketing opportunities are tremendous; transportation, travel and tourism companies can build cross platform relationships with frequent travelers. The Internet of Things can also be used to improve user experience by identifying how consumers react to certain products and by delivering them the travel products that they truly need and desire.
  • FireChat is a new chat protocol that operates without Internet and without cell phone service. It operates by peering from one user to another, leaping through unconnected mobile devices. While this technology is in its infancy–and is currently only a chat protocol–the ramifications of this type of innovation is significant.The ability to connect users through a peer-to-peer Internet service means that a new internet could be formed without reliance on service providers; an entirely new connectivity protocol. As with augmented reality, those who are first-to-market in this technology will be the ones who succeed.

No one can completely anticipate industry disruption, but there are ways to make an educated guess. Companies that want to future-proof themselves would do well to consider the possible scenarios for future disruption. Being able to anticipate future disruption will be an incredible boon in this fast-paced, technologically-oriented world.

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Also published on Medium.

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