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2016 and beyond shaped by the past

Published: 04/01/2016 - Filed under: Home » News »

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The year often comes to a close with long lists of “best of’s.” Often these indulge in the nostalgic. However, I’m a big fan of looking at the innovations of “yesterday’s past” that will impact “today’s future.” In reviewing the idea with our Editorial Director, Dan Booth, he immediately drew the analogy to Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and transitions – he’s the two-faced character that looks both forward and back at the same time. The topic stuck and we decided to spin a list of some industry ideas that have cropped up this year which ultimately could change the way we behave, travel, and even live our lives. 

NY to London in 30 Minutes

Supersonic becomes hypersonic. The aircraft concept, dubbed the Skreemr, is the brainchild of Charles Bombardier, an engineer and inventor who writes about his futuristic prototype designs in the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail. 

Bombardier’s latest brainchild is a passenger aircraft that can travel at 10 times the speed of sound, or just under a stunning 8,000 miles per hour.


The Skreemr comes just months after Airbus patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in 1 hour. Clearly, the last ever Concorde passenger flight in 2003 has not been forgotten by those with a need for speed in the future of passenger travel.

The Internet of Things

According to Common Sense Media, tweens and teens in the US spend on average six to nine hours on media per day – that’s more screen time than they spend sleeping or in school. 

By 2020, Gartner predicts there will be over 30 billion devices connected to the Internet. Will companies be ready? What kind of society will we have tomorrow, shaped by today’s excessive, screen-addicted adolescents? 

Hail a … Jet

The sharing economy seems to be touching our lives everywhere. New markets are invented by individuals delivering new services – think car sharing giant Uber. Then car manufacturers get in the game with the likes of BMW Drive, and yet others follow with peer-to-peer car sharing like RelayRides. The same pattern has been repeated in food, bicycles, movies, even wedding dresses. 

Why not jets? JetSmarter, PrivateFly, and Blackjet, to name a few, have been leveraging empty legs, seats, and even regular routes between specific city pairs and opening it to the general public. We are talking about an inventory of thousands of jets and empty seats available through apps on our phones. This is not your traditional fractional share of jet usage; this is a new way to be that high-flyer. PrivateFly, which launched in 2010, provides access to more than 7,000 jets around the world and claims it can get passengers from the ground to the air in 45 minutes. Will the future further disrupt the private jet market?

Sharing Economy Comes Full Circle

I promise this whole article will not be about the sharing economy, but I have to point out Expedia, a disrupter of the past who has built a stable of powerhouse brands, now buys home sharing giant HomeAway. When you have traditional businesses like car manufacturers and rental companies getting in the game, might this indicate a cycle where these new business models will come back full circle? 

China Unveils New Commercial Airplane

In addition to paying attention to the airline I’m booking, the airplane geek in me frequently checks the type of airplane I’m on. There are many reasons why, and I will sum it all up with the simple fascination of flight. 

For years, the names Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Gulfstream and a few others have been recognized as the primary manufacturers of passenger aircraft. The youngest of these four companies is 46 years old while the oldest turns 100 this upcoming year. Now there’s an inordinate amount of engineering that goes into building an aircraft before the time comes to manufacture a single plane.

This year, we saw the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) roll out its first aircraft, the C919, which the company hopes will one day compete with those tenured brands in the industry. One is a start; only time will tell how successful it will be in commercial aviation. 

So Many More

Here are a few more to consider: Airlines selling directly on Google and everywhere else they can distribute their content; longest hauls today and even longer tomorrow with the new extended range aircraft; virtual currencies being accepted by hotels, online booking websites, and some airlines as well as new payment vehicles such as Apply Pay, Android Pay or Google Wallet; opening of borders with extended visa access, global entry requirements eased, and additional pre-clearance locations around the globe; BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is evolving into “BYOEverything.” 

Janus, the two-faced god had to have been very busy this year looking both at the past and future. 

The list of tomorrow’s possibilities is endless.   

By Ross Atkinson

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