The changing faces of travel technology — moving towards a virtual reality, By Ananth Narasimhan

Historically, travel has been at the forefront of technology. Starting from the first global network of interconnected computers to sell airline tickets, to enabling the first e-commerce transaction, travel technology has led the way for other industries to follow. In the last decade, travel has further utilised the socially connected world to provide real user-generated feedback through sites like TripAdvisor. Travel was the first industry to innovate and create commercially viable resource-sharing sites like Airbnb and Uber.

The world has become more interconnected and virtual. There are more social networks online than in the real world. From mere network and connections, technology is poised to move to virtual experiences. Google Cardboard and the Apple Watch are not mere exceptions, but indicate the direction in which technology is moving. Travel could be the first industry which uses these gadgets to provide virtual experiences a commercial reality.
The next generation of travel will first be driven by virtual experiences. For example, when a couple wants to decide on the best location for their honeymoon, they could use virtual experience gadgets to decide on the right location. Schools and colleges could use their gadgets to better teach their students about places. Families who always thought of travelling to distant lands for vacations they could not afford will be able to use gadgets and get the complete experience at a fraction of the cost. Companies could save a lot of the money they currently spend on travel by using these gadgets to conduct multi-location real-time meetings and get the same benefits as one-on-one interactions.

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