How 5G can take the hassle out of travel
Traveling today—with congested airports and lost luggage—can be a pain. But 5G could help make travel more efficient and smarter.
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Travel can provide a lot of benefits, from reducing stress to increasing creativity. And while airline travel might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to reducing stress—airports are hectic places—future technologies based on the high speed, low latency and massive capacity that 5G can provide could ease a number of airport aggravations and improve your overall travel experience.
The starting points for some of these technologies already exist—think checkout-free shopping. But the high speed and low latency that 5G can provide could help develop them further, while also helping to tackle issues such as crowd control, baggage handling, ground operations and more.
In other words, 5G could help take the hassle out of travel. Here’s what it could look like.
Getting where you need to go—with no (or smaller) crowds
Imagine technology that could help manage crowds from curb to gate—not only helping direct foot traffic to less congested areas, but also helping individuals get to the gate when they’re running late.
The pedestrian analytics and insights company CrowdVision is already doing just this. CrowdVision deploys wireless sensors through venues and uses these to anonymously measure everything from wait times to the physical spacing of people moving through the venue.
After being collected, this data travels to compute and storage resources located on the edge of the Verizon network. The raw data is then processed and used to determine how to best keep people moving throughout the venue. This data can help venue operators with crowd control and flow – and it can also be shared with patrons via the venue's mobile app, which can help these patrons find the shortest lines and avoid congested areas. It’s a win for everyone.
CrowdVision’s technology depends on a constant stream of data, and 5G Ultra Wideband can provide the necessary bandwidth to support it.
Bring 5G’s ultra-low latency and higher speeds to this technology, and new applications become possible. For example, in the future, AI-assisted computer vision could analyze foot traffic in close to real time for even faster response, and may even be able to identify late passengers who opt in to the system so that they can be guided to their gate via in-the-moment mobile notifications.
Breezing through security
Today, 50 domestic airports offer CLEAR, a verification system that allows travelers who opt in to use biometrics—specifically, scans of passenger eyes and fingerprints—to confirm the identity of registered travelers and expedite their movement through security checkpoints.
5G could make security measures increasingly effective. Delta Air Lines recently launched Parallel Reality—a flight information display system (FIDS), or departure board, developed by Misapplied Sciences—at Detroit’s Metro Airport. Unlike the current departure boards found in airport concourses, passengers who opt in can view only information about their own flights, nothing else – even when up to 99 other passengers are looking at the same board.
These boards are based on a technology that directs specific light rays in specific directions. If a passenger opts in to the use of the technology, the departure board scans the passenger’s face, makes an identification, displays relevant information, and can even track movements of the passenger and adjust the direction in which information is being displayed. Not surprisingly, this technology requires a great amount of data, and it is made possible by 5G.
Theoretically, for those who opt in, 5G-powered recognition technology could be used to improve identification at security checkpoints and reduce lines and wait times while still providing a secure travel experience.
Boosting cleanliness…and tracking your bags
5G technology can also improve cleaning and disinfection at airports and on planes between flights. High-tech autonomous cleaning robots can already be found at some airports in China, connected to 5G networks that let them more quickly respond to data about occupancy and traffic flow. Self-navigating, disinfecting robots are also being used or tested by some U.S. airlines.
And lost luggage? One study revealed that more than half of travelers have dealt with that experience—but 5G could help to change that.
For example, layering 5G technology into airport baggage handling for fast and reliable transmission of data could enable AI and machine learning in the baggage-handling process to better recognize luggage and match bags to owners throughout their travel journey.
At your destination, 5G can make it easier to have stress-reducing experiences in multiple ways, from smarter public transportation to the way you might order takeout. By taking the hassle out of getting there, it can also help make the whole experience more rewarding.