EasyJet’s new smart shoes guide travelers as they wander through new cities.
EasyJet has launched a prototype for a new set of smart shoes that aim to revolutionize travel. Named Sneakairs, the product uses GPS technology to guide users to their desired destination with in-shoe vibrations. Rather than staring at smartphone screens or getting lost in maps, consumers can enjoy the sights as they travel and keep their phones in their pockets without worrying about getting lost.
“The Sneakair is yet another example of how EasyJet is always at the forefront of technology, all designed to make travel easier for our customers,” says Peter Duffy, EasyJet’s marketing director.
Duffy also cites the company’s Mobile Host app, which helps EasyJet passengers navigate airports. “Our passengers embrace technology before they travel and while they travel with us, so why not once they arrive at their destination?”
Sneakairs aren’t the first smart shoes of their kind. Under Armour launched a smart running shoe in February 2016, the Gemini 2 Record Equipped, which allows runners to track their runs without their smartphones. As far back as 2012, London-based designer Dominic Wilcox created a pair of shoes in which GPS is embedded in the heel. Rather than vibrations, LED lights point the wearer in the right direction. SmrtGRiPS has used similar technology to create connected handlebar bike grips that direct cyclists. And MIT Media Lab’s Dhairya Dand has taken this one step further to create “SuperShoes” that recommend locations and walks based on the wearer’s preferences and patterns.
Because technology is being used to divert consumers away from their devices, it is reminiscent of our Tech Naturalism trend (see Future 100) which argues that technology can assist in “naturalizing” our lives. The Innovation Group Europe’s forthcoming trend report Control Shift finds that 81% of UK and US consumers feel that we’re losing some important human qualities by spending so much time immersed in technology. Consumers will welcome technology that frees up the time they spend on digital platforms and makes them feel closer to the real world.
Brands that go the extra mile for consumers and create products to facilitate their experiences will be well received by consumers. EasyJet’s Sneakairs enhance the real life experience while eliminating the annoyance of having to monitor a map. Brands can therefore use new technologies to deliver better more, seamless experiences.