i-Travel is all about trying to realise seamless travel.
Everyday we are faced with travel choices and journeys that require us to seek out many pieces of information from different sources to book our travel.
Lets take a look at a normal trip, in fact a trip that I do every few weeks or so, based on real life events. I need to go to London from Brussels on a Friday evening a family birthday party is the ultimate destination on Saturday. Thursday night I pack and go to bed, Friday loaded with luggage I’m on the train to work when I find out that there has been a fire in the channel tunnel.
I then use my mobile to surf to the Eurostar website to check the details finding out that there has been major disruption.
Getting into work I use the internet to check flights while also having Eurostar on the phone waiting for an operator to pick up, checking flights I find most are booked and the ones that aren’t are over 600 Euros, I already have my Eurostar return booked in little under a weeks time so I only need a single ticket.
I’m checking ferries as well, but all get me there either too late to get to the birthday party and while waiting for Eurostar to answer to see if there is any hope of getting to the UK by Saturday lunch time.
In this internet age we are often the masters of our travel arrangement, and thus when something unexpected happens the onus falls on us to sort out and work around solution or we are left at the mercy of an organisation that is trying to deal with 1000 of people all with exactly the same issue as you and all wanting their issues to take priority.
i-Travel aims to remove this by providing a travel assistant that is notified about the travel delay and then looks for options for rebooking your journey, and in fact is able to receive the refund from cancelled trips automatically.
An assistant that can also notify you when the next bus is arriving at the bus stop 100 metres away enabling you to keep the car in the garage that day.
Connecting all traffic services and information with travel booking and aggregators is not an easy task, like other technologies the easiest and mst obvious method is to provide a standard API or wrapper that communicates between the intelligent agent on your mobile device and a range of travel service providers.
The companies offering this service would operate under a travel eMarketplace offering services through standardised architecture to millions of uses owning a mobile device, accessing them all the time to give travel information.
There are a lot of roadblocks to overcome to achieve this vision, getting companies to sign up to a scandalised interface and use it, designing an intelligent context aware agent, handling the multitude of exceptions that will result in the i-Travel universe.
The i-Travel project is just the first step in trying to solve these issues.