In the 1987 comedy, Planes, Trains and Automobiles , a 1 hour and 45 minute New York-to-Chicago flight turns into a 3-day adventure. Although this comedy of errors is chock-full of heated arguments between Steve Martin's high-strung executive character and John Candy's clumsy and eternally optimistic character, a bond between this pair is indeed forms.
This movie reminds us of the various transportation modes available to us today and the impact that technology is making on them. Today, more than ever, travelers are able to stay connected whenever and where they are. The era of Smart Mobility is here! Connectivity is key; and the Internet has become more and more accessible regardless of the mode of transportation. Are you traveling this Labor Day? Here are some suggestions on how to stay connected while you're away from your home or office:
If you're traveling by plane …
Wi-Fi in the sky! The demand by travelers wanting in-flight Wi-Fi service has reached new heights. Back in 2008, American, Delta, and Virgin America were the first to begin adding Wi-Fi to their aircraft. While most airlines are working towards the goal of equipping all their aircraft with Wi-Fi, only AirTran and Virgin America can make this claim today. If you're flying overseas, Wi-Fi becomes even harder to get due to the need for satellite-enabled technology. Only 279 flights from the US have full-flight connectivity; however, more airlines are adding the service to their international fleets. Delta has the most total flights with Wi-Fi, representing about 65% of all its flights. Southwest and US Airways come in second and third, respectively. Some airlines, such as Southwest are also providing movies and live TV on some of their flights. Additionally, many airport gate areas are being redesigned as well to include power stations where travelers can recharge their devices prior to their flights so they can sit back, relax and stay connected to the world below.
If you're traveling by train …
Wi-Fi on the track! After years of criticism of the wireless service on its trains, Amtrak has upgraded its cellular-based Wi-Fi using broadband technologies to improve the speed and reliability of the Internet on its passenger cars. Amtrak continues to provide free Wi-Fi service, routinely supporting 30-50% of passengers on a given train. However, they will continue to limit some Internet activities and restrict data-heavy activities that could slow the service down (eg, streaming video and music sites) and will continue to restrict file downloads larger than 10 MB. While passengers will continue to have a better Internet experience aboard its trains, high-speed service is not available everywhere, and because the railroad uses different carriers along its routes (eg, Verizon and AT & T), service could still be interrupted or slowed as the Wi-Fi signals switch between carriers.
Does traveling from NYC to LA in less than an hour peak your interest? How would you like something that is self powering, immune to weather and can never crash? Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal, has an incredible vision-Hyperloop. Musk describes it as a “cross between a Concorde, a rail gun, and an air hockey table.” Theoretically, Hyperloop tube travel would use magnets to take passengers aboard an underground train from one destination to another at incredible speeds. The enclosed tube would allow the capsule to travel without air resistance and very little friction. Time will tell whether technology advances will allow us to see this in our lifetime.
If you're traveling by automobile …
MiFi on the road! MiFi stands for “My Wi-Fi” … a wireless router that acts as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. A MiFi device can be connected to a mobile phone and provide Internet access for up to 10 devices, working at a distance up to 30 feet. MiFi provides Internet access for any WiFi-enabled peripheral device. Most new laptops and notebooks equipped with built-in wireless broadband devices work in the same way.
Doc's souped-up DeLorean in Back to the Future has met its match! This era of connectivity is leading the automotive industry in its most significant innovative phase since the creation of the automobile itself! “Connected cars” are being designed today that access, consume, create, and share digital information between businesses, people and things like other cars themselves. As cars has become increasingly connected, the probability of self-driving cars is within our grasp. Does this seem far fetched to you? Well, it's not really when you consider today's leading technologies in sensors, displays, in-vehicle operating systems, wireless data communication, artificial intelligence (machine learning) and speech recognition. The benefits would include reduced accident rates, improved traffic flow, reduced emissions and a cool, new driving experience!
No matter your preferred mode of transportation, the staff at IT Radix is excited about staying connected as we enter this new era of Smart Mobility !