Sabre Corp. is developing travel services that work across the emerging spectrum of wearable technology including smart watches and Google Glass, preparing for the dramatic impact wearables will have on the way consumers shop for and experience travel.
Researchers expect a large proportion of the population to embrace wearable computing in the near future as evidenced by the adoption trajectory of other technology advances like the smart phone and tablets. Juniper Research forecasts that worldwide spending on wearable technology will hit $1.4 billion this year and will reach $19 billion by 2018. Further, wearable computing is already expanding beyond the early adopters and quickly becoming more mainstream, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). The research firm estimates that more than 19 million wearable computing devices will be sold in 2014, and forecasts the global market to reach 111.9 million units in 2018.
"As the adoption of wearable technology grows, we want to ensure that the travel industry is ready to leverage this technology and serve travelers on the device they prefer," said John Samuel, senior vice president of Sabre Travelers Solutions. "Wearable technology is fast becoming a prominent means of customer notification and communication. We're looking to take it even further – from a one-way means of communications to an interactive, on-the-go service experience.”
Sabre recently showcased its Google Glass prototype travel app at the World Travel Market in London. The app can find a flight based on a user's simple voice command, for example: "Ok Glass, Find a Flight from London Heathrow to Miami in June."
Sabre Labs, the technology incubator and research lab at Sabre, continues to explore the application of geo-location technologies and their application to wearable devices in the travel experience. Understanding a traveler's precise indoor location and developing services that use that context to share information and interactions on wearables will be a critical piece in creating a more intuitive experience for travelers.