Connected technologies, like mobile devices, chatbots, smart appliances and autonomous vehicles are radically changing our daily lives.
One of the most common buzzwords in technology now is “Internet of Things” (IoT). The Internet of Things is the network of connected “smart” devices that communicate seamlessly over the Internet. The IoT is everywhere; on farms, wireless IoT sensors transmit information about soil nutrients to agricultural experts. At home, sensitive IoT alarm systems provide homeowners with long-term protection. The IoT is even part of our bodies, as wearable fitness devices monitor activity levels. Although these devices serve different purposes, they all share an important characteristic: dependence on strong connectivity.
Moreover, the Internet of Things is becoming increasingly integrated into how we travel. For example, these technologies can assist us with buying flights, arranging transfers, booking hotels, recommending restaurants, tracking weather and planning itineraries. Generally, customers are open to the advancements that connected technologies bring. Overall, they realize the value that they present and the convenience they offer. However, many customers have concerns about privacy, trust and how their data is managed.
Worldpay recently conducted a survey about how consumers feel about the developments in connected technologies. They asked how comfortable customers felt about the implications for security, privacy and foreign currency payments. Below, we expand on how IoT already affects daily life and provide our digest of Worldpay’s key findings.
Examples of the Internet of Things
1. Smart refrigerators
The Internet of Things is already transforming the simplest domestic functions. For example, the Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator integrates smart technology into refrigeration. The fridge works in conjunction with an app called Groceries, developed by MasterCard. With a touchscreen and interior cameras, the fridge allows owners to check well stocked the fridge is while they’re out and about. Furthermore, the app enables owners to order whatever they need and get it delivered to their door.
2. Fitness-focused belts
Fitness wearables have been around for a while, but several brands are continuing to innovate in the field. For instance, the Samsung WELT may look just like a normal belt, but it uses smart technology to measure your waist size, eating habits, steps, and time spent sitting down. Subsequently, this data is all fed into a smartphone app to make recommendations on how to improve health.
4. Contactless in-car controls
German automotive manufacturer BMW have developed the AirTouch platform for the newest model of the i8 Spyder Concept car. This system enables the driver to control entertainment, navigation and communication functions with the wave of hand. Instead of the the dials and switches found on a traditional car dashboard, BMW has built in a 53cm-wide, full-color display that operates like a touchscreen, except that users do not actually have to touch it. The technology operates via sensors that record movement in the space between the console and the rear-view mirror.
5. Biometric beds
Connected technologies can even assist in the sleep cycle. IT Bed from Sleep Number integrates biometric sensors to track heart rate, breathing and movement. From here, the bed analyzes this data to create recommendations for better sleep. For example, the bed can assess the temperature that produces the best quality sleep, so owners can set their thermostat accordingly. It can also adjust its own settings, such as those for firmness and support, and it can even connect with your other devices and factor planned activities, such as exercise regime or work schedule.
How consumers feel about IoT
1. Consumers are familiar with connected technologies
Worldpay found that 1 in 3 travellers globally are very familiar with the term Internet of Things (IoT) and how it might impact everyday life. Consumers were most familiar with connected domestic devices like Amazon Dot and virtual assistants such as Siri or Alexa.
2. They realize the convenience that these technologies offer
Many of those surveyed agree that allowing chatbots or virtual assistants to plan travel is beneficial. For instance, 3 out of 4 respondents said that they would consider allowing Siri, Alexa or Google Now to purchase a flight, whilst 41% said that would consider the option.
3. Enthusiasm for connected technologies varies from country to country
According to the study, consumers in emerging economies are more likely to allow virtual assistants to control their itinerary. To illustrate, 94% of respondents in China and 89% in Brazil said they would use a virtual assistant to book entertainment whilst on vacation. Contrastingly, only 65% of respondents in the UK said they would do the same. In addition, respondents in China were also more likely than those in the US and UK to allow a virtual assistant to change their travel itinerary based on the weather or personal preferences.
4. There are concerns around privacy and fraud
Some of the most significant concerns consumers have are around privacy and security. Given the high cost of international transactions and associations with fraud and foreign account activity, consumers can be reluctant to adopt connected technologies when travelling. The survey reported that three quarters of respondents voiced concerns that smart device manufacturers might share their personal data, whilst over half felt uncomfortable sharing financial information with a chatbot or virtual assistant. Meanwhile, three quarters of respondents were also worried about smart devices being hacked.
5. Consumers demand a high level of control over their devices
Most consumers are not ready to grant complete autonomy to connected devices. Worldpay found that 70% of those surveyed wanted to the final say on any payments made via connected technologies, whilst only 29% would share their financial details with a virtual assistant to use on their behalf.
The future is now
Clearly, connected technologies will enable many innovations in the travel industry, improving ease of purchase and customer experience. Furthermore, consumers seem ready for these new developments. However, the industry needs to continually strive to address privacy concerns to create the ideal customer experience, now and in the future.