One of the first responses to the Covid-19 pandemic was the grounding of thousands of flights, with governments across the world acting quickly to restrict travel between countries.
But as infection rates slow down and lockdown measures begin to ease, business travel is becoming a realistic option once again. What’s more, a host of clever technology firms are taking steps to improve the safety of those heading off across the globe for work.
Understandably many business travellers will be wary about the journeys they have to make and how many other travellers are likely to be around them.
Keeping informed about passenger levels is therefore going to be important. One option here comes from tech firm SkedGo, which provides personalised trip planning, corporate mobility and other mobility-as-a-service technology, allowing businesses to build their own apps for business travel including elements such as journey planning, parking and book and pay features.
SkedGo has also added a new feature allowing travellers to assess crowding levels on certain forms of transport before they travel. The idea is that users will have the information at their fingertips to help them select quieter routes or carriages, or switch to different forms of transport which may make social distancing easier if things are particularly busy.
A similar approach has been taken by Focus Travel Partnership, a consortium of 60 UK travel management firms, which has developed a new Covid-19 tracker. The technology brings together the booking data of all of the businesses involved to help track precisely where people have been, where they are and where they are going, coupled with the latest info from various sources about Coronavirus.
The idea is that businesses can easily keep track of their employee’s activities, as well as the level of risk.
A spokesperson said further areas where this can be used are now being investigated:
“Future enhancements could include push notifications to travellers to tell them about changes in circumstances. Additional APIs from trusted sources could be added to further enhance the service, for example what the entry requirements are at the destination airport. The phone’s GPS signal could provide precise location data useful for knowing if someone has been to a particularly impacted location.”
There’s also tech expert Everbridge which has launched critical event management technology which the firm believes will have a big impact on the way business travel is conducted in the future.
The software allows travellers to carry out wellness surveys, track travel plans and monitor Coronavirus data feeds while heading off for work. For example, if a staff member flies off to another work location and the risk level at the destination changes during the flight ‒ perhaps because of an outbreak of cases ‒ the software can be used to update them and advise on what action they need to take.
It doesn’t just apply to pandemics either – it can also help with issues like hurricanes or terrorist attacks, and is already being used across the US by the likes of Goldman Sachs and Microsoft.
Keeping gadgets clean
Few travellers, whether they are heading off for business or pleasure, are likely to do so without a mobile phone to hand. The trouble is that it’s all too easy for these gadgets to pick up unwanted germs on the way.
In a bid to tackle the issue, Samsung has begun rolling out a sanitising service. Head into an official Samsung Service Centre or Experience Store and staff will give your phone, smartwatch or earbuds a thorough clean using UV-C lights which should tackle those germs without damaging the technology.
The service is already live in 19 nations including Japan, Spain and the US, with a rollout to further countries ‒ including the UK ‒ in the works.
Chances are we are all going to enjoy a little more room on flights in the coming weeks and months thanks to social distancing rules.
But technology is also being used to make air travel safer too ‒ ServiceRobots.com says that its UV-C disinfection robots are being utilised by airlines to roam around the plane and disinfect it after each journey.
You can also take steps to boost your own safety with tools like Planeaire Travel Mist, a special spray that kills all sorts of horrible bacteria and may be easier to keep about your person than a packet of wipes.
Spending on the move
One thing that the Coronavirus pandemic hasn’t changed for businesses is the need to stay on top of budgets. Being agile with expenses when you have teams moving around the world has always been a necessity but businesses now need to reconsider their processes for staff when abroad.
Pre-Covid there were an alarming number of industries still using petty cash on a frequent basis, from productions to charities. Not only does this raise security concerns but it also limits visibility on spend and risks the spread of germs. In a post-Covid society cash could well become a thing of the past.
Prepaid expense cards give financial decision makers the most control over their teams spending as available funds are capped and transactions visible through apps and online platforms. On the flip side, staff are still given the freedom and responsibility to spend independently and manage their own budgets.
Equals Spend is a expense solution for businesses with teams that move around the world. Managers are able to stay in control of budgets thanks to our online platform that allows funds to be moved between cards, top-ups granted to users and cards paused if lost or stolen.