Virgin GoogleTechnology Tuesday on Sport for Business

We have highlighted the advances of wearable technology within sport and the sporting community over the past year.

Our contention about its powerful future is that what is learned and shown off through sporting stories will follow through into serious commercial benefits for businesses across a wide range of sectors.

Virgin Atlantic has begun a pilot programme to discover how such benefits can be delivered in terms of passengers travel needs on board the airline.

The aim is an ambitious one. “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,” said Dave Bulman, director of IT, Virgin Atlantic.

“Our wearable technology experiment makes us the first in the industry to test how Google Glass and other wearable technology can improve the customer experience.”

“We are upholding Virgin Atlantic’s long tradition of shaking things up and putting innovation at the heart of the flying experience.”

Premium passengers at Heathrow Airport between now and April will be met at check in by staff wearing Google Glass and Sony Smartwatch technology.

They will be greeted by name and be given up to the second information on their flight and what they might like to do once they arrive at their destination.

It’s a simple step and some might argue that the same is already available via computers behind a check in desk but improvements in performance come through marginal gains and Virgin will determine what benefits might emerge before taking the experiment further.

It may be that Virgin ambassador Usain Bolt will be travelling during the trial and doubtless their will be photo opportunities to make the idea appealing to passengers. For him, shaving 100th of a second off his race times can make the difference between winning medals and attaining legendary status.

For passengers on transatlantic travel, feeling part of something that is cutting edge, and having a more pleasant experience while travelling can make the difference between one airline and the next.

When the Upper Class fare to fly to New York tomorrow and return comes to a little over €4,000 those marginal gains go straight to the bottom line.