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.

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.

On a related note Google’s Home Mini smart speaker is now on sale in the UK. A price point of £49 is clearly set to encourage mass adoption though based on initial reviews it is not a device you’d use as your main speaker for music.

Google has also announced two sets of measures to improve security for its users here and here.

To London, and Bloomberg reports that Samsung is due to open a new store in the forthcoming Coal Drops Yard development Kings Cross.

If Samsung’s store at 837 Washington Street in the Meatpacking District of New York is anything to go by, then expect virtual reality experiences, an amphitheatre and of course the latest Samsung products.

Adobe held its annual Max Creativity Conference in Las Vegas last week.

The key note addresses and sessions are available to view on demand. Adobe has an impressive portfolio of free creative tablet apps including Adobe Draw and Photoshop Express. Another app to join the line-up last week was Adobe Spark Video which allows you to create 30 video clips with added graphics.

Turning to airlines, BA parent company, International Airlines Group, has announced the latest start-ups to join its Hangar 51 start-up accelerator programme.

The selected start-ups are:

Airstripe – An airline crowdsourcing service that allows passengers to create flights and share them with other like-minded passengers.
Aplazame – A Fintech start-up with an instant credit risk-free solution for online payments.
Destygo – An Artificial Intelligence platform to build, deploy and train Chatbots for travel companies.
Inflight VR – Creating a virtual reality ecosystem for the in-flight entertainment industry.
Migacore – A data science start-up focusing on bringing predictive demand forecasting for travel.
SeatAssignMate – Transforms e-mail into an immersive experience enabling customers to select their seats and easily add other services to their bookings in real-time.
Volantio – Helps airlines to plan seat capacity more effectively through Machine Learning, while providing customers with better predictability and control over their trips.

The selected start-ups will receive mentoring and advice from IAG and its group airlines. They will demonstrate their products in Barcelona in January 2018.

In a development that will alarm OCD passengers, Delta has announced that it will introduce automatic check-in for users of the Fly Delta app on US domestic flights.

Also of note this week:

The New York Times reports that Metropolitan Transportation Authority is to finally introduce contactless payments.

How the BBC is responding to voice-activated devices by James Purnell.

A great article on how Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” playlist works.

The Financial Times on how US cities are battling to lure Amazon’s 2nd Headquarters. (Amazon has since announced it has received some 238 applications.)

Our weekly Travel Technology Bulletin is published every Tuesday morning at 7am UK time. 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!

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