- Travel site Kayak added features to the iOS version of its app to help travelers prepare for a trip. The Bag Measurement tool uses augmented reality (AR), the technology that overlays digital images on a real background through a smartphone, to measure the dimensions of luggage to see if it can fit in an airplane's overhead bin, according to a company blog post.
- Kayak also updated its app with Siri Shortcuts, a new feature that lets iPhone users activate a series of actions with a single voice command, a separate blog post said. Kayak users can program Apple's Siri voice assistant to instantly look up a travel itinerary or hotel reservation with a simple phrase like "travel plans."
- The revamped app is available for free download from Apple's App Store. Kayak is among the companies that have updated their apps to work with Siri Shortcuts and the updated AR functionality of the iOS 12 mobile operating system, which was released on Sept. 17.
Kayak stands out as one of the first companies to make its iPhone app more useful with the latest technologies that Apple introduced in iOS 12. While companies like Lowe's have created their own AR measurement apps to help people with household projects, Kayak applies the tech where it's most useful to its customer base of travelers who are packing for their next airline trip. By combining the measurement tools with data about permissible bag sizes that differ by airline, Kayak has created a customized feature that can add significant value to on-the-go consumers.
As Kayak has shown, the integration with Shortcuts is another convenience that makes the app more user-friendly for travelers. Citymapper, Halide, The Weather Channel, Pandora, Sky Guide and Trello are among the apps that have added Siri Shortcuts to their features, according to The Verge.
Brands and marketers would be remiss to not update their apps to work with Siri Shortcuts or other recent tech updates, risking missing out on another touchpoint with their customers. Apple in June announced the introduction of Shortcuts during its developers conference that showcased the features of iOS 12, which was in beta testing at that time. Shortcuts works with a wider variety of apps and lets users program a routine like "going to work" that will provide a traffic report and turn on pre-selected music or news broadcasts, for example.
Siri Shortcuts brings Apple in line with its competitors in the voice assistant space. Amazon in March introduced a similar feature to its Alexa voice assistant called Follow-Up mode that can handle multiple tasks with a single voice command, per CNet. Google last year added multiple task support to its voice-enabled Google Assistant, Android Police reported, pointing to the increasingly competitive space.