I teach a lot of SMAC strategies workshops (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) around the world. Conducting these involves a lot of travel. I have been pondering these last few days just how much my travel experience has changed over the past decade. Today, mobile smartphones can provide the following:
- Push to buy the Heathrow Express train ticket from an app on my iPhone
- Translate foreign languages live on screen
- Get real-time transportation advice
- Locate myself anywhere in the world on a map
- Use my iPhone compass app to know where North is located
- Use my smartphone screen as a boarding pass
- Find a Thai restaurant and read the social reviews
- Book my dinner reservation
- Help find a last-minute hotel room or book a Marriott property
- Book, change or review my airline reservation (change my seats to be as comfortable as possible)
- Help me understand how long it will take to travel from point A in London, to point B
- Read about any location, building, historical event, city or neighborhood instantly
- Download an eBook I saw in a bookstore and read on my iPad mini
- Download an audio book to listen to when my eyes grow heavy
- Mask the sounds of revelry in the streets with the sounds of waterfalls cascading from my iPhone
- Look up available short-term apartment rentals within a specific distance of a given point on AirBnB mobile, see photos and read reviews
- Help me stay in real-time contact with my family and friends while traveli
- Create a private, invitation only, Photo Stream to share my trip photos with my family
- Check my email
- Listen to voicemail
- Jump on Google+, open a Hangout and instantly set-up video conferencing with my team, share any Google apps including presentations live (the death of distance)
- Write and publish newsletters and articles while traveling around the world
- Record video interviews with my iPhone, edit and publish from any corner of the world
I could continue. I research and write about technologies that cause digital disruptions. All of the above mobile app capabilities are in some manner disrupting the way the travel and hospitality industry operate.
There are digital disruptions happening in every industry today - some are small, but others are massive. I make decisions on the hotels I book based upon their quality and comfort, and their high speed internet connections. I don't care how nice a hotel is, if it can't get me on the Internet at a decent speed I will not stay there. That kind of behavior is a digital disruptor for hotels.
Digital disruptions are not to be feared, but rather recognized, understood, embraced and exploited. Digital disruptions are most often ridiculed by an industry when they first appear. However, they eventually may grow to be a tsunami of change that overturns those unprepared. It is my opinion that all companies should have a team that meets regularly to identify digital disruptors on the horizon to debate and ponder their potential impact without ridicule or denial.
The marketplace is littered with the remnants of companies unwilling and unable to change in the face
of digital disruptions. Will your company deny or embrace digital disruption?
, Head Analyst for Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) Cognizant
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Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and SMAC analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.
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