Travel Wearables... The Future?

Apple’s iWatch, Google Glass and the Google Android Wear – a smart watch announced this year in March. There has been much excitement about these gadgets over the past year among individuals and corporations alike. The future of Augment Reality (AR) products being adopted and sold on the markets is here. 

Available for sale during its trial phase at US$1,500, and officially to the public in May this year at the same price, many businesses have already announced adopting the use of the Google Glass. Especially businesses in the Tourism and Hospitality industry.

What can the Google Glass do? It’s a device in the form of a spectacle/glasses that brings rich text and notifications as well as information right before your eyes. It also has a 5MP camera and records pictures at 720p. The various functions can be activated by a touchpad and voice command e.g. “Ok Glass” activates the glass, “Take a picture” does what is commanded.

The reported hospitality and travel companies incorporating the use of Google Glass include Destina, which claims to have launch first hotel booking app for Glass and TripIt, which allows users to review their reservations and Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

Starwood developed an app knows as SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest) for Glass - which will enable guests signed to their loyalty program (SPG) to search among its 1,200 hotels via current location, destination, airport code and hotel name. Once a hotel is chosen, the app will offer directions to get there, photos of the property and booking method – via phone or email. SPG for Glass will push relevant info regarding guests’ upcoming stay 48 hours before arrival.

If in the near future Glass adoption is widespread, it has been predicted by industry bystanders to change the face of hotel concierge. iTESSO, a cloud-native hospitality tech provider is in the midst of creating a Google-Glass assisted check-in solution. It is said to be able to recognize guests before even finding their names. Seems like checking-in at an airport or hotel will soon be a seamless process.

However iTESSO’s upcoming product may be contested upon launch as it poses a threat to an individual’s privacy.

In general due to its image capturing and audio-visual recording functions, the Glass is a product that cannot be allowed in ‘sensitive’ environments. Currently, apps cannot “immediately present personal information identifying anyone other than Glass user including instances of facial recognition and voice print.” The lack of regulations with context to Glass usage is an uncharted territory that still requires fine-tuning as more consumers and businesses embrace Glass technology.