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Google Glass: Virgin Atlantic Missed Opportunities

Feb 17 2014, 1:15pm CST | by

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Google Glass: Virgin Atlantic Missed Opportunities
 
 

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Google Glass: Virgin Atlantic Missed Opportunities

A lot of the consulting work I do behind the scenes is to organizations within traditional industries that enjoy massive revenues and scale, but are starting to see that disruptive forces impact upon what they do – perfect examples are banking (see here and here) and telecommunications where new technologies threaten the very core of their business. Other businesses have a massive barrier to entry, but their challenges are more about differentiating what they do from the competition and offering more value to their customers.

Airlines are a perfect example of this and I’ve written before about what “Airline Customer Service 2.0” could look like. As I said at the time, I’ve got a personal interest in the space – I fly a quarter of a million miles or so every year and spend altogether to much time on airplanes and in airports. Making that experience less painful (or, perhaps, even fun) is pretty exciting. I’ve had a number of experiences where an integrated approach towards airline customer services would be hugely beneficial:

  • I was flying from New York via LAX home to New Zealand with my wife on my 40th birthday. Wanting to surprise her I requested an upgrade to business class. When we boarded there was no record of our upgrade request (nor the fact that it was a special occasion). Imagine a system whereby flight staff had live access to a passenger’s upgrade requests, important biographical information and communications history. Sure they’d not be able to guarantee every request could be met, but they’d at least be aware of what was going on
  • Air New Zealand does an amazing job of making all their customers (and especially their most frequent ones) special. I’m generally specially greeted by the flight service manager which is a lovely touch. Almost without fail however, the FSM has to ask me how to pronounce my last name. While this isn’t a big deal, imagine if the FSM was toting a mobile device which gave them some info about me (like how to pronounce my last name or that while my passport says Benjamin, I far prefer Ben). it’s the little things right?
  • I’m something of a control freak and ring the premium contact center on a semi-regular basis to check on small details regarding my travel. Every time I do so, I have to enter my frequent traveller code to obtain priority service (and yes, I’m eternally grateful for the priority service). Imagine a situation where my mobile number (the phone I call from 90% of the time) was known by the contact center and hence I could bypass all the identification steps
  • In the past three years I’ve flown on the day of (or the day before depending on timezones) my birthday. That’s not a biggie and I don’t expect or want any attention, but a smart mobile device in the hands of flight staff would give them access to that sort of important information (even better, I’ve flown home from the US a few years running the day before my son’s birthday- imagine a cheery “Hope your kid has a great day” while in flight!)
  • Air New Zealand runs regular promotional campaigns giving customers the chance to win incredible and unique experiences. I always enter these competitions (you have to be in to win right?) Every time I do however I have to enter the same details (name, phone number, membership number) into yet another system of record. Imagine if I had one global login to Air New Zealand that crossed all of my needs (booking, support, marketing campaigns etc). Or, by extension, imagine allowing me to use my Facebook credentials to sign into these services

All of these examples are interesting when taken in light of the news that SITA, the airline industry infrastructure and software vendor, has developed some trial technology for Virgin Atlantic that allows its airline concierges to use Google Glasses to give travellers useful information (weather at destination, local events etc).

This is exciting from a “wow, Google Glass is cool, Virgin Atlantic has always been cooler and now it’s even more so” perspective, but leaves so much value on the table. The real benefit to customers would be accrued if the core operating systems that airlines use (passenger manifests, frequent flier applications, promotional campaigns etc) were exposed via API and therefore able to be integrated with interesting applications. In focusing on the deliver device (in this case Google Glass), SITA and Virgin forget that what is really important here is the data itself – without good exposure of the data, alongside embracing a developer community to create value from that data, any initiative is little more than a modern take on a one way publicity site.

Tellingly Virgin is only introducing this for first class passengers and sees it as a way of recreating the allure of air travel. Says Dave Bulman, director of IT for Virgin Atlantic:

While it’s fantastic that more people can now fly than ever before, the fact that air travel has become so accessible has led to some of the sheen being lost for many passengers

Sheen is one thing, but good customer service isn’t about sheen, it’s simply about delivering the very real expectations of customers. As it stands Google Glass is meaningless bling, soon every airline will have it and it’ll be old hat. But truly leveraging the data airlines hold about customers, and offering up personalized, contextual and proactive information… now that’s truly revolutionary.

There’s your challenge Virgin Atlantic and SITA, over to you now.

Source: Forbes

 

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Chinese sellers making clear profits on Google Glass

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As Google Inc's Android operating system enters China's smartphone market, its second-generation Google Glass device is attracting interest from Chinese consumers days after a brief one-day sale to the general public.Chinese online sellers are skating into the Glass market in a bid to sell more gadgets in a country where official purchase is not available.On Taobao, the Chinese version of eBay, nearly 70 sellers are offering authentic Google Gl ...
Source: Asia One   Full article at: Asia One 2 days ago, 7:12am CDT
 

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    Disappointed that you missed your chance to buy Google Glass during yesterday’s limited-time sale? Or just bummed out that the future of mobile photography might lie in a face computer that makes anyone look like a doofus? Good news: Google is already working on a way to stick a camera right on your eyeball. The US Patent and Trade Office recently published an application from Google, filed in 2012, concerning smart ...
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Google Glass ambassadors raising eyebrows and fish in Chile

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The Santiago Times‘Some children think we are robots’ — the first people to try out the groundbreaking Google eyepiece device in the country explain all. Adrian Goins and Lisa Mitrokhin-Goins explain what it is like to be the first Google Glass users in Chile. Photo by Celia Scruby / The Santiago Times Although Google’s mind-boggling wearable technology is yet to be developed for users outsider of the United States, one expat couple has brought the digital eyewear over and is laying claim to t ...
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Top 10 Reasons Not to Buy Google Glass

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Google Glass goes on sale for one day today, stoking fears among privacy hawks that the wearable tech is a menace to consumer privacy. The one day-limited sale is part of Google's Glass Explorer program launched in 2012 to test the device before it's offered to the general market. Since it was unveiled two years ago, Google Glass wearers have stirred controversy, both legally and culturally. Google says it's still working thin ...
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Anyone Can Buy Google Glass April 15

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An anonymous reader writes "Starting at 9 a.m. ET on April 15 anyone in the US will be able to buy Google Glass for one day. From the article: 'This is the first time the device has been available to the general public. So far, the face-mounted computers have been sold only to Google "Explorers," the company's name for early adopters. At first only developers could buy Glass, but Google slowly expanded the pr ...
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Get your credit card ready. On Tuesday, April 15, after the pain of filing your taxes has subsided, you'll be able to buy Google Glass — for a limited time.Google was hoping to keep it a secret for a wee bit longer, but documents leaked to The Verge caused the company to make the announcement early. ...
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Source: Pocket-lint.co.uk   Full article at: Pocket-lint.co.uk Apr 10 2014, 12:40pm CDT
 

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