Insights September 9th, 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.

Business Travel in the Future

Story 4 - Business Travel.LR

YVR Airport: Thursday May 14, 2037 at 09:15

Businesswoman Jenny Chang steps off her flight from Shanghai and makes her way through the Arrivals area at Vancouver International Airport.

“Vision on!” she says, as her augmented reality contact lenses activate, and three alerts instantly appear in her field of vision. She glances at them, blinking twice to accept each one:

  • ‘Downloading YVR Airport map’
  • ‘Downloading YVR Business District events, for the month of May 2037’
  • ‘YVR Business District: Meet Derek Gagnon at your gate’

A YVR Business Ambassador approaches and greets her – “Welcome to Vancouver International Airport Ms. Chang. My name is Derek and I am here to escort you through the terminal to the YVR Business District. I hope you had a pleasant flight?”

“I did,” she acknowledges with a nod and a smile.

“OK, let’s get you to your office in the YVR Business District. Due to the fact that you applied for your visa last month and have been pre-approved – you’ll be fast tracked through Immigration.”

Jenny’s passage through Immigration is swift and smooth. A small flashing image of Jenny’s daughter, Mei, appears before her eyes. “Hi honey! how was school?” As Jenny and Derek proceed, Mei updates her Mom on her day.

When the call is complete, Derek describes how the YVR Business District came to be – “Over the past several years, the YVR Business District has emerged in two parts. First, we have the world-renowned YVR Innovation Hub – dedicated to early stage aeronautical startups from across Canada. We are honoured to have your Augmented Reality Avionics business join the program as an international partner.”

As they step off of the walkway, Derek continues – “Secondly, we house more established Canadian companies that are in the aviation industry and foreign companies that are looking to establish a presence here in North America. The Business District’s proximity to YVR means that companies based here are ideally placed to access every global market.”

Jenny and Derek stroll into a networking event, where they notice an exquisite raven sculpture perched over the door – the adopted symbol of the YVR Business District. In the room adorned with First Nations art, Jenny is captivated by the energy and the buzz of opportunities, possibilities and synergies as entrepreneurs meet and greet.

Jenny looks up and spots an electronic notice board displaying her name alongside others arriving this week, and then notices glass offices with teams working on computers, white boarding, and engaging in animated discussions. There are a number of people having virtual holographic meetings with colleagues from across the world, while others tap away on virtual laptops.

She smiles, knowing that she is certainly in the right place to launch her business in Canada.

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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Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas Badminton is the Chief Futurist of the Futurist Think Tank. He is world-renowned futurist speaker, a Fellow of The RSA (FRSA), a media personality, and has worked with over 400 of the world’s most impactful companies to establish strategic foresight capabilities, identify trends shaping our world, help anticipate unforeseen risks, and design equitable futures for all. In his new book – ‘Facing Our Futures’ – he challenges short-term thinking and provides executives and organizations with the foundations for futures design and the tools to ignite curiosity, create a framework for futures exploration, and shift their mindset from what is to WHAT IF…

Contact Nikolas