Last year I was invited into the technology innovation centre of a major airline. I was presented with a key issue for the airline and asked for input. I came up with a number of ideas which focussed around iterative technology changes or what I believed to be breakthrough technologies that could deliver innovative solutions.
My suggestions for iterative changes revolved around the customer experience of media while on the plane. I had suggested that this experience could be extended to the lounge area, through simple changes, be that loaning devices to passengers or delivered through a mobile app. This was an easy solution to implement and something that would grow the customer experience.
The major idea I delivered focussed on the terminal. Airport terminals are vastly large spaces which can often be difficult to navigate. I suggested that a mobile app that aided with this problem would be of great benefit. Not only could it navigate customers through the terminal but also direct them to points of interest such as shops, restaurants, facilities and the required gate. The added nenefit of this would be navigation for the visually impaired, which supported my general message on accessibility. Develop a product that delivers value to the sighted while at the same time adding value to the none sighted.
The airline seemed incredibly keen and began a barrage of questions on this idea, mainly revolving around if the technology existed. The technology did indeed exist – the iBeacon. I detailed exactly how it could be implemented with current technology and the benefits it would deliver.
In passing I also mentioned how my recent experiences with a competitor airline, Virgin were exceptional. I felt Virgin seemed to really grasp the customer experience. So when I found this story a couple of days ago I was not surprised that Virgin had indeed dlivered the idea I had suggested to a competitor. It is great to see the technology being put to use in the terminal, I only hope it can offer some assistance to the visually impaired in this implementation.