Insights September 7th, 2016

As a Futurist I get asked a lot about what the future holds (no surprise there) but, when you get asked to think about a travel hub that hundreds of thousands of people use every year and what it will be like in 20 years then I find myself faced with a difficult challenge. To create a realistic, and fantastical, future that is completely practical, achievable, and supportive to great human experience for both travelers and workers.
So, when YVR approached me with this challenge I drew on Design Fiction to help draw out that vision of the future for this world leading airport, here in Vancouver. I weave technologies that I feel will be commonplace in the future into great traveler experiences using advancements we will likely see in 2037:

  • In-airport vertical farms that deliver fresh vegetables daily;
  • Holographic customer service representatives;
  • Robots for service, passport control and loading luggage for passengers;
  • Automatic car ports;
  • Augmented reality contact lenses that download and reveal airport maps and business events and provide on-the-fly instructions;
  • Biometrics;
  • …and even access to space travel!

Here is one of those stories.

Welcome to YVR 2037

Story 1 - Welcome to YVR 2037.LR

YVR Airport: Thursday May 14, 2037 at 08:45

This is Pascal’s first visit to Vancouver International Airport. As he wanders inside, his augmented reality glasses alert him to watch the Welcome to YVR Airport story. He accepts, prompting a YVR Storyteller to appear.

The Storyteller – one of five hundred, personalized, holographic customer service representatives, helps travellers with wayfinding, gate details and information on airport amenities. The Storyteller accompanies Pascal through the main concourse, detailing the history of YVR and describing the unique journey he is about to experience.

“Vancouver Airport Authority welcomes you to Vancouver International Airport, or YVR. Here we work as an active member of the community to build a sustainable, vibrant, innovative and diverse airport. We also aim to deliver hyper-efficiency with friendly, fast and reliable service for airlines that connect you to friends, family, business partners and associates in Asia, the Americas and beyond.”

As Pascal proceeds through the building he’s struck by its ambience, its forest-fresh air and the fusion of clean, modern 21st century architecture with stunning First Nations art – a visual reminder to travellers of the city’s origins and history.

The Storyteller continues – “We listen to your needs, and together with local transport operators, get you to your destination as efficiently as possible. This means reduced congestion, flexible transport choices and more time for you to enjoy your journey.

We are proud of the fact that revenue we earn is reinvested back into our airport, it plays a part in making us one of the best airports in the world.

In addition, we create value for Greater Vancouver and all British Columbians from the available land on beautiful Sea Island. We achieve this by offering automated stacked parking for longer stays, quick transportation connections to downtown Vancouver and other key regional destinations, a world-class retail park and the creation of the YVR Business District – home to the world’s best aeronautical startups. These businesses focus on the study, design and manufacturing of air flight-capable machines and supporting systems.

Upon entering the terminal building you will experience fast track bag check-in, you will pass through state-of-the-art security with ease, and beyond that – enjoy a cosmopolitan shopping and dining experience to rival any around the world.

YVR strives to be fully sustainable and environmentally efficient. We’re achieving this through the harnessing of rainwater and solar energy. Our revolutionary vertical farm delivers fresh vegetables daily, while our award winning ground operations carefully manage the environment to reduce noise, taxiing times, queues and greenhouse gases. We strive for zero carbon emissions and zero waste each day of the year.

To ensure travellers have the best experience, we have deployed sensors to capture and transmit data to help with optimization, artificial intelligence and automated control systems.

We thank you for choosing to travel through YVR. We’d love to hear how we could make your airport experience even richer. In the meantime, have a great trip.”

More Stories…

In this blog I will feature each story in full over the next few days (you can fast track to download all of them here) and I wanted to share the video that was created for this (without the voiceover to show the vision in isolation).

You can see more information on the project and what it is trying to achieve over at


Nikolas Badminton is a world-respected futurist speaker that researches, speaks, and writes about the future of work, how technology is affecting the workplace, how workers are adapting, the sharing economy, and how the world is evolving. He appears at conferences in Canada, USA, UK, and Europe. Email him to book him for your radio, TV show, or conference.

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Futurist Keynote Speaker and Consultant - Nikolas Badminton

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