Travel Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 19 December 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 » Technology

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.   This is our last bulletin of 2017.  Our next bulletin will be published on Tuesday 9 January 2018.

KLM’s automated bot is available on Google Home

KLM’s automated bot is now available on Google Home. At the moment it seems limited to dispensing packing advice, but the potential is obvious.

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Travel Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 12 December 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 » Technology

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.

Apple acquires Shazam

Following press reports over the weekend, first broken by TechCrunch, Apple has agreed to acquire Shazam – the app that identifies recorded music in a matter of seconds.

Although Shazam actually pre-dates the smartphone era, it is arguably one of its greatest innovations.   A genuinely innovative and practically useful product that marries mobile and the internet.   Needless to say, it is expected that Apple will integrate Shazam into Apple Music.
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Travel Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 5 December 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 » Technology

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.

BBC to stream Blue Planet II in UHD HDR

The BBC is to stream all seven episodes of Blue Planet II in Ultra High Defintion and High Dynamic Range (“UHD HDR”) through the BBC iPlayer on selected models of smart TVs this Sunday. This is the first time the BBC has made an entire TV series available in UHD HDR. A full technical brief is available from BBC Research & Development.

ba.com Have you clicked yet?

If you’ve visited ba.com recently then you couldn’t fail to notice that BA has been revamping its website. In essence, the website seems to be moving from a pure transactional facility to a more consultative/editorial guide to travel. ba.com has not been the most reliable of websites over the past 12 months, so hopefully an equivalent amount of work has been done to improve its back-end reliability. (BA Media Centre)

Virgin Media revamps its remote access / streaming apps

Virgin Media is to replace its “TV Anywhere” app later this month.

Currently the app has the functionality to both remotely control your set-top box and stream selected channels over WiFi on your smartphone and tablet. This will be replaced by two new apps. The Virgin TV Anywhere app will be replaced by Virgin TV Control which will continue to control your box remotely. A new app, Virgin TV Go, will allow you to stream selected TV channels on your smartphone and tablet, and, for the first time on a 3G and 4G network. More details from Virgin Media.

CNN Reliable Sources

The past seven days have seen very significant developments on the other side of the Atlantic in two stories that have been unfolding over many months: sexual harassment in media and entertainment industries; and Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 Presidential Election.

NBC fired Matt Lauer from The Today Show, which he has hosted for over 20 years, following allegations over his conduct.

Michael Flynn, former National Security Advisor to Presidnt Trump, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is co-operating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The sheer pace of developments is borderline exhausting. We strongly recommend following CNN Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter. In particular, Brian produces an excellent daily newsletter which provides an excellent precis of daily media coverage and developments.

Also of note this week:

Apple has updated its iOS operating system to iOS11.2. As ever it is recommended to download the software update as soon as it is available to take advantage of the latest security patches.

Airbus, Rolls Royce, and Siemens team up to develop electric powered aircraft. (Airbus)

ITV News launches three online only news programmes including “Now What?” by Robert Peston. (The Drum)

Spotify tots up your most played songs, artists and genres of the year in 2017 Wrapped.

Our weekly Travel Technology Bulletin is published every Tuesday morning at 07:00 GMT / 08:00 CET. If you have any comments or suggestions, please contact us. And if you think it would be of interest to any colleagues or contacts, please share using the buttons below!

Travel Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 28 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.

London Air Travel » Technology

MyFlights App Closure

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.

It’s a relatively short bulletin this week, in part due the Thanksgiving Holiday in the US last week.

MyFlights App to end on 31 December 2017

Over on this side of the pond, Chris Schofield the architect of the “MyFlights” app has announced that the app will be discontinued from Sunday 31 December 2017. MyFlights was an extremely useful third party app that periodically checked the status of your flight bookings on the Amadeus booking reservation system. It would often alert to you changes that airlines wouldn’t ordinarily tell you of such as seat and aircraft changes. The reason for the closure is that the app can no longer access passenger’s data without an agreement from the airline or travel agent. MyFlights was an extremely valuable tool that will be missed by many thousands.

Also of note this week:

ABC Australia has launched a new podcast The Urnbelievable Ashes featuring comedians Andy Zaltzman and Felicity Ward. Recorded in London, the podcast will take a humourous look at one of sport’s greatest rivalries.

This is a great marriage of landmark BBC TV series and the talents of BBC Radio 1 DJs. The BBC has released The Blue Planet II playlists featuring curated playlists of music to footage from Blue Planet II.

LBC has launched a new daily news podcast The Daily Debrief.

A great article from Bloomberg on why Apple’s delayed HomePod is three years behind Amazon Echo.

Our weekly Travel Technology Bulletin is published every Tuesday morning at 07:00 GMT / 08:00 CET. If you have any comments or suggestions, please contact us. And if you think it would be of interest to any colleagues or contacts, please share using the buttons below!

Travel Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 21 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.

London Air Travel » Technology

BA Smartphone App Upgrades

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. British Airways updates its latest smartphone app

BA has this week released an update to its smartphone app which introduces a new functionality to purchase a fixed price upgrade on your flights.

BA has long offered one-way fixed price upgrades to the next available cabin (the most advantageous being from World Traveller Plus to Club World for anything betwen £399 and £599) through both the app and the Manage My Booking tool.

The offers tend to come and go at any point between purchasing the flight and checking in. These are of course primarily done for BA’s benefit. They generate additional revenue and convert what would otherwise be free upgrades on oversold flights into paid upgrades.

Well now you can purchase an available upgrade even after you’ve checked in for your flight. The availability and pricing of upgrades will of course vary by route and are more likely on routes with lower business class demand.

A likely explanation for this is that if premium seats become available at the last minute through passengers cancelling flexible tickets or missing connections, BA can now offer these seats for sale. The one downside for passengers is that the closer to departure you upgrade the fewer seats available to choose from.
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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.

London Air Travel » Technology

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.

London Air Travel » Technology

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 » Technology

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 » Technology

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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BA upgrades its smartphone apps to include automatic rebooking during disruption

London Air Travel » Technology

British Airways iPad App
British Airways iPad App

One of the many perennial criticisms of British Airways is its handling of disruption at its hub at London Heathrow.  The airport is full, so when there is severe weather, the airline is forced to cancel flights, with short-haul flights always bearing the brunt.  What usually follows is long queues at ticketing desks to be rebooked.

BA announced at the annual Capital Markets Day of its parent company International Airlines Group last year that it was working on automatic rebooking tools during disruption.

BA has today released an update for its smartphone app which includes the option to rebook on to alternative flights during disruption. However, this will initially only be for selected customers. We presume this is for testing purposes.

In addition, most if not all customers should now have a “timeline” feature for each booking on the app which provides a countdown for future bookings and services that are available in connection with that booking.

If you haven’t already done so, we do recommend that all travelers (whether a frequent or once a year BA flyer) download the BA smartphone app. It is the easiest way to keep track of flights both before the day of travel and at the airport. From experience we find it is often ahead of other sources for learning of delays.

It is also an easy way to keep on track of fixed price upgrade offers for existing bookings and being able to book flights without tripping over adverts for hotels and car hire as you do on ba.com!

We also recommend that for security reasons software updates for apps are downloaded as soon as they become available.