International travel agencies like Thomas Cook and Virgin Holidays invite potential holidaymakers to experience “Try Before You Fly” holidays via 360 virtual reality. Or, with an immersive VR app like Smart2VR, vacation planners can use a VR headset like a Google Cardboard or Zeiss VR One to experience exotic places on their own before they book. VR holiday planning and booking are on the horizon too. Meanwhile, armchair travelers back home can watch Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Daydream VR with Google’s Daydream View first-party mobile VR headset, or take a VR tour of New York’s famous holiday window displays.
New technology is kicking kitchens up a notch too, from smartphone apps to big-budget appliances. Smart shopping-list apps and tools like Amazon’s Dash Wand kitchen-item scanner are just the beginning. Holiday hosts can cook and serve hi-tech with appliances like the Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker with WeMo and the iSommelier Smart Decanter. AI comes into play for lucky cooks who have a Samsung Family Hub™ refrigerator and can use a voice-controlled assistant like ELEKS Labs’ voice app for online grocery shopping.
Virtual reality gear and games are ever more popular as gifts. For example, many games have been built specifically for the Oculus Rift, from immersive Minecraft and RPGs to VR shooters and Lone Echo’s floating-in-space simulation. Whatever you’re shopping for, artificial intelligence and machine learning – the form of AI in which computers can take actions that haven’t been explicitly programmed – are also at work “under the hood.” Search engines improve by observing what you do with the results of previous searches. (Did you click on the top item? Click on anything? Go to the second page of results?) Online stores offer you recommendations based on your (and others’) search and purchase histories. Websites serve up ads tuned to your surfing habits. All the while they’re continually learning and tweaking as they follow your online behavior.
Meanwhile, machine learning is helping companies identify suspicious activity on their internal systems to head off the kinds of security breaches that have created nightmares for so many organizations in recent times, from Equifax to Pizza Hut, and endangered so many consumers. Online, on the road, or on the hook for holiday entertaining, consumers are facing the pressures of the season with all sorts of help from technology – whether they know it or not. Visit ELEKS today to learn more about how advanced AI and VR technologies are supercharging the holiday season and beyond.