Budget US airline JetBlue’s new VC subsidiary, JetBlue Technology Ventures, will look into the use of technologies like IoT, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Virtual Reality.
In a press release published earlier this week, Jet Blue announced that the subsidiary will “invest in, incubate and partner with early stage start-ups at the intersection of technology, travel and hospitality”. This will play an important role in the airline’s efforts to “shape the future travel experience”.
To help them do this, the subsidiary will partner with incubators, VC firms, universities and other organisations inside and outside the Silicon Valley, and will work closely with start-ups in the travel and hospitality sector.
There were predictably few details on the the inner workings of the group although, as travel magazine Future Travel Experience notes, the JetBlue Technology Ventures website mentions the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, predictive analytics, virtual reality (VR) and machine-learning under its “what we care about” page.
The website states: “JetBlue is a company known for award winning customer service, delivered by helpful and friendly crewmembers. Future technologies to power seamless customer and crewmember interactions across the entire digital and physical travel experience include personalisation, geolocation, customisation, messaging, virtual reality, improved tools for our crewmembers to deliver magnificent service or enhanced ways to extend the JetBlue brand and culture.”
It also envisages a “travel experience free of bag tags, tickets, lines and instead a connected world that anticipates customer needs”.
Since its first flight some 16 years ago, New York-based Jet Blue has slowly won a reputation for low prices and early adoption of certain technologies, including the use of free satellite television at every seat.
Despite this, it clearly won’t be the first to look into the use of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the aviation world.
Airbus has been working with IBM to incorporate Watson IoT technologies into both its planes and operations, easyJet is rolling out new uniform with embedded sensors, and British Airways is speeding up boarding with the Apple Watch. Air New Zealand has been using wearable devices to track unaccompanied children on short and long-distance flights.