Planning our vacations and trips is already networked. We book flights, cars and hotels online. We find our way with GPS, and we share the daily highlights of our trips through social media. So what else is around the corner that can simplify our travel plans?
As more and more of us become smartphone owners, I think local tour companies could send short promotional videos about their offerings to visitors upon arrival at our hotel, so we don’t have to flip through paper brochures in the hotel lobby and maybe miss theirs.
When you book a tour, each tourist’s mobile number could be registered in the host’s mobile computer, so they can send us details about pickup and drop-off times, delays and other additional information via text.
Social-media tools have the potential to be used to check in for excursions, replacing the handling of paper vouchers and booking receipts. Enhanced driving directions through GPS could allow drivers to drive in less developed places, and perhaps even translate foreign road signs as we pass them. And while the printed guidebook will still be with us for a while longer, I expect most of them will be distributed online, optimized for smartphone rather than PC access.
In addition to all of the above possibilities, wouldn’t it be wonderful if taxis all around the world accepted payment by card or smartphone. I think this is one of the main reasons why people still need to change money into local currencies. Taxi drivers in many countries still do not accept credit cards, even in London, and most travelers don’t like to carry cash. Perhaps new smartphone-based payment applications such as the taxi app in New York will allow us to meet halfway.
What would make your next trip run a little more smoothly?
The first 10 years of mass-market digital photography have gone well thanks to innovations in mobile phones, single-lens reflex (SLR) and point-and-shoot cameras. The classic Kodachrome film has been discontinued. What can we expect from networked photography going forward?
Camera innovations have been phenomenal. Smartphones have made integrated photography and networking capabilities a great way of taking and sharing pictures –think Instagram. SLRs have managed the transition from film to memory with maintained or increased picture quality. Integrated HDTV (High-Definition TV) recording capabilities have turned SLRs into multi-purpose photography and filming devices. Point-and-shoot cameras have very high picture resolutions in combination with advanced optics at affordable prices.
The almost real-time publishing of our magic moments is a reality. It is an integrated part of the tools we use for sharing our lives. The darkroom and dark rooms are no longer required for viewing high-quality photos. Neither is the long wait for a roll of film to be processed. Our ability to share pictures, and share them instantly, is here to stay.
Post-production capabilities and their superior results are light-years ahead of the darkroom days. This is also the case for memory-storage innovations; the past decade has resulted in a 1,000-fold price-performance improvement and support for very high writing speeds. The revolution from 24 or 36 frame film rolls and the first 8-16MB memory cards feel very remote.
In the future, I expect to see the following trends:
- High-resolution photographs and moving pictures will become key to the next wave of social-media innovations
- Networking and camera capabilities will become more unified, and integrated WiFi and mobile access will become standard in SLRs and high-end point-and-shoot cameras
- The camcorder will have a hard time surviving as a mass-market device, as cameras and smartphones come with integrated HDTV recording capabilities