Travel Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 14 November 2017

Our weekly bulletin on the latest developments in travel and technology around the world, as published every Tuesday morning at 07:00 GMT.

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Sonos One (Image Credit: Sonos)

Hello and welcome to the weekly bulletin featuring the latest developments on travel and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 07:00 GMT / 08:00 CET.

Sonos opens its London flagship

Sonos opens its first flagship shop in Europe this coming Thursday, at 21-23 Earlham Street, Seven Dials in Covent Garden.

The shop opens with a special event (sadly sold out) on Friday featuring personal stories about David Bowie songs from Nick Rhodes, Graham Coxon and Peaches. The two storey shop, like Sonos’ New York flagship, features “listening rooms” as well as an events space in the basement. Again, if its New York shop is anything go by, expect regular live sessions and listening events.

Microsoft and Samsung are also due to open flagship stores in London, at Oxford Circus and Kings Cross respectively.

There was not such good news for another American technology company in London. The Apple Store on Regent Street was raided in the early hours of Monday morning. A full report in the Evening Standard.
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Travel Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 7 November 2017

Our weekly bulletin on the latest developments in travel and technology around the world, as published every Tuesday morning at 07:00 GMT.

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International Airlines Group - Aer Lingus, BA, Iberia, Vueling
International Airlines Group – Aer Lingus, BA, Iberia, Vueling

Hello and welcome to the weekly bulletin featuring the latest developments on travel and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 07:00 GMT / 08:00 CET.

International Airlines Group held its annual Capital Markets Day last Friday.  

We’e already covered many of the BA announcements.  There was also a lot of detail in the IAG slide deck on digital initiatives across the group.   These include, from slide 91, the roll out of “New Distribution Capability” which is radical change in how airlines set and distribute their fares and sell ancillary services to customers and a number of measures to automate airport operations.

All of Europe’s “Big Three” airline groups, IAG, Air France KLM, and Lufthansa, are a great pains to emphasise their investments in digital so expect a lot more announcements in the coming months and years.

On a related note, what’s happening with BA and WiFi? 
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Travel Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 30 October 2017

Our weekly bulletin on the latest developments in travel and technology around the world, as published every Tuesday morning at 07:00 GMT.

London Air Travel » Travel Media & Technology Bulletin

Google Home Mini
Google Home Mini (Image Credit: Google)

Hello and welcome to the weekly bulletin featuring the latest developments on travel and technology around the world, published every Tuesday at 07:00 GMT / 08:00 CET.

Google Home Mini

First of all, some thoughts Google’s Home Mini smart speaker which is now on sale in the UK for £49.  And first impressions are quite positive.  Having personally thought the idea of talking to a voice-activated speaker as faintly ridiculous, you soon get used to issuing commands to it with the words “OK / Hey Google”.   And there are benefits of using a hands-free device when in the home over a handheld tablet / smartphone.

On the positive side, the voice recognition is very good and certainly better than the technology by many call centres.   Google Home can “tell me about my day” with a brisk update of the time, news headlines, weather and items in the diary for the day.   It can also deliver news headlines on demand from a variety of sources such as the BBC and CNN.  Though, at the weekend it had two day old bulletins from Bloomberg and the Financial Times.   Some sources such as NPR are absent.

Google Home can also play radio stations on demand.  But there are limitations.  A request to play a TV programme from the BBC iPlayer to the house Chromecast yielded a YouTube video instead.   So it does need greater interaction with apps that are popular in the UK.

But all in all, for a reasonable price point of £49 it’s worth a punt and this is certainly a technology we can foresee resulting in mass adoption.

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Travel Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 24 October 2017

Our weekly bulletin on the latest developments in travel and technology around the world featuring updates from Apple, Google and Samsung.

London Air Travel » Travel Media & Technology Bulletin

Hello and welcome to the first of our weekly bulletins featuring the latest developments on travel and technology around the world. This week’s edition features developments from Adobe, Apple, Google and Samsung.

Apple Michigan Avenue Chicago
Apple Michigan Avenue Chicago (Image Credit: Apple)

Apple has opened its latest “town hall” store at the Chicago River front on Michigan Avenue.

Designed by Foster & Partners who also designed the recently refurbished Apple Store on Regent Street in London, it adopts many features of the Regent Street store and Apple’s latest “town hall” format such as double-height ceilings, exceptionally high quality glazing and fittings and, of course, those interior trees.

Photographs of the opening weekend are available from Apple.

Staying in North America, Sidewalk Labs which is a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet, has announced a joint development with Waterfront Toronto called Sidewalk Toronto.

The plan is to create an entirely new district on Toronto’s Eastern Waterfront which will harness technology and design to improve mobility, sustainability and economic opportunities. Whilst there are naturally some reservations about the influence of Google and data protection, it will be interesting to see what emerges. The concept of smart cities has been talked about a lot but it is good to see concerted action.
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A reminder about frequent flyer account security

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British Airways Executive Club Cards
British Airways Executive Club Cards

In recent weeks we’ve received e-mails from two major frequent guest programmes (Hilton Honors and Starwood Preferred Guest) advising us to change our account passwords.

We’ve also seen anecdotal claims online regarding Avios frequent flyer miles having been stolen from British Airways Executive Club accounts, with BA also temporarily freezing accounts following suspected unauthorised access. The Mandarin Oriental hotel group was also recently the subject of a data theft.

This is a timely reminder that frequent flyer miles and hotel reward currencies do have a substantial monetary value (in redemption terms) and accounts should be treated as you would an account for any other financial instrument.

Given how big the frequent guest and flyer industry has become with many travellers having accounts across a range of hotels and airlines, it’s often difficult to keep track of every account and fraudulent activity can easily go un-noticed.

Some of the methods we have heard fraudsters adopt to access accounts have bordered on the ingenious and there can be no immunity against the risk of fraud – particularly when it is airlines and hotels that are compromised. However, there are some simple steps that can be followed to improve account security:
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