Friday, 31 August 2012

Technology is a Game Changer for Frequent Fliers

Technology as leverage is a great example of the potential good it can do in society. It is one of the yardsticks by which we measure progress and productivity. The explosion of the web, social media and digital technology are area which have benefitted from this onward march of technology. There is no denying that this is a good thing, however in the world of the healthy frequent business flier it also has its limitations which often go unnoticed or disregarded. This article will delve a little into the issue which needs highlighting if frequent business fliers are to make the best of business travel and remain healthy while flying.

In a previous article I referenced a telling Infographic from PC Housing - Mobile Dependency A Growing Trend In Business Travel. In many respects the Infographic is an identikit of today's business person and frequent flier. In simple terms today's business travellers are always current, kitted out with gadgets and never far from an Internet connection.

On the flip side technology surrounding flying has also grown and changed with the times. Technology led innovation has been responsible for airport information avatars, electronic boarding passes, airport security theatre and the roll out of Wifi in the sky. The positive aspects of these innovations is undeniable. The concern is the effect these innovations have on frequent fliers constantly exposed to some of these measures in the course of flying. Security theatre and Wifi in the sky are of particular interest in this respect.

Information technology innovations continue to move towards the Cloud. As I write more gadgets and apps align themselves with systems which either rely on or make use of wireless technology in some way shape or form. Wireless technology is fast becoming indispensable in all areas of life and thus unavoidable.

The medium wireless technology depends on is the Electromagnetic Frequency and more specifically radio waves. Our creative use of more of the electromagnetic frequency is inversely linked to the decline in autoimmunity in society as a whole say some experts. The electromagnetic frequency is a contributor to the phenomena of Electro-pollution and has spawned the terms Electro-sensitivity and Electro-smog. Recognition and awareness of Electro- sensitivity is growing as evidenced by the Stockholm County Council (SLL) presentation of the 8th of May 2006 titled Electro Hypersensitive People's Right To An Accessible Society. This talk included a segment titled Electro-sanitising Modifications in Houses & Healthcare Facilities.

While there is plenty to celebrate in our creative use of the electromagnetic frequency there is reason for a cautious approach in it's use. Scientists of many disciplines have observed worrying changes in their fields of expertise, attributed to the presence and effects of the use of the electromagnetic frequency. The much maligned Bio-Initiative Report still has elements of truth in it. There are other reports besides this that come to similar conclusions. It must be said that there are many reports funded by special interest groups that say the opposite, the truth is neither argument is conclusive. As a flier you have to ask yourself if you are willing to wait until the argument is settled while exposing yourself to potential risk.

The link between fliers, autoimmunity, stress and the electromagnetic frequency is a theme that crops up repeatedly in the argument for healthy frequent flying. The PC Housing Infographic sheds light on some of the puzzle. Fliers are gadget friendly, they are constantly connected and therefore always having their immune system interact with these radio waves. They fly often which is stressful enough so their immune systems receive more stress. Passing through the airport "security theatre" and the prevailing trend to install Wifi on planes plus the normal environment on planes all add up to more assaults on fliers immunity. As if that is not enough we haven't considered how stressed the traveller may be in relation to the outcome of the trip, getting to the airport or stresses in personal circumstances.

The beauty of this part of the problem is that technology is also the key that unlocks part of the solution. Now that most of the efficiencies to the planes, the hardware of the airline industry have been made, the focus is shifting towards the customer experience side of the equation. However there is a fair way to go before we arrive, let me remind you that we have not too recently banned smoking on planes only to replace it with a 21st century equivalent in Wifi in the sky. We know the effects of smoking in a confined space are bad, Wifi at altitude is no better.

On the bright side (no pun intended) we are seeing cabin lighting designed to simulate natural light. A Scandinavian company recently launched a gadget designed to shine light into the ear to help the body reset it's clock. You can also find wrist watches and bracelets which also claim to have the same effect. In no small way these ideas all spell hope for fliers. Technology really is a game changer for frequent fliers, aggregating every one of these solutions that work can make the difference between healthy flying and a loss of immunity leading to burnout and illness. In business travel this translates to the bottom line and will be covered in a later article.


PC Housing.
Stockholm County Council (SLL).
Bio-Initiative Report.

- Christopher Babayode

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