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.

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.

Apple TV App is now available in the UK

In other Apple news, the Apple TV app is now available for download in the UK.  The app allows to you watch purchases/rentals from iTunes and streaming services from Amazon, BBC, ITV and Channel 5 from one app and across all Apple devices.   Channel 4’s on demand service is conspicuously absent.

Virgin Media introduces Virgin TV Go

Virgin Media has replaced its “TV Anywhere” app with Virgin TV Control which will continue to control your set-top box remotely.  A new app, Virgin TV Go, takes over the functionality 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.

YouTube publishes its “rewind” of 2017

(A staggering 122m views at the time of posting.)

Google unveils three experimental photography apps

Google has just released three experimental mobile photography apps which are available on either (or both) Android and iOS.

Storyboard (Android) turns your videos into a single-page comic layout.

Selfissimo! (iOS, Android) is an automated selfie photographer that takes a black and white photo each time you stop moving and pose.

Scrubbies (iOS) lets you to manipulate the speed and direction of video playback of videos shot in the app to produce video loops that highlight actions and replay moments.

More details from Google.

Also of note this week:

Apple unveils the most popular apps, music, movies, TV shows, books and podcasts of 2017.  (Apple)

The BBC makes all its live radio services and podcasts available as a “skill” on Amazon Echo smart speakers, with more devices to follow.  (BBC)

A vast array of archive BBC TV programmes and series covering genres such as drama, comedy, natural history will be added to the BBC iPlayer from this Saturday 16 December 2017.  (BBC)

The Top 20 podcasts of 2017, based on US downloads. (Podtrac)

 

YouTube plans a new music subscription service for launch in 2018.  (Bloomberg)

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
Continue reading “Travel Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 14 November 2017”

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.

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.

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.

Continue reading “Travel Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 30 October 2017”