Airbnb Is Trying To Solve This Irritating Problem For Travelers

Photographed by Natalia Mantini.
Traveling the world has become progressively easier over the years. With apps that enable you to book your flights and accommodation to luggage that can charge your phone, we are truly living in a world where traveling has never been more convenient. One thing that remains complicated is international travel without having to pay for an additional data plan. Airbnb hopes to solve that for you.
A recent patent submission from the company shows plans for a device geared toward travelers with limited to no Wi-Fi or cell network access, helping them by downloading trip information like maps, messages, and the essentials, Buzzfeed reports.
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Sound too good to be true? According to the patent filing originally from October 2016, this is how it would work:
“When traveling in an area in which network connection is unavailable or unreliable or in which network connection is prohibitively expensive or inconvenient, the system … allows a client device ... to connect to external web services without a direct network connection."
The patent application, titled “Beam Device Architecture,” is Airbnb's first venture into hardware and puts them in the same space as other forward-thinking companies in the rural internet access space like Facebook and Google.
Alex Blackstock, one of the Airbnb employees named on the patent application, shared what looks like one of the drawings from the patent filing to his LinkedIn.
Photo: Courtesy of Alex Blackstock Linkedin.
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In the patent application, past a good deal of tech jargon, Airbnb explains some of their thinking behind the invention:
"In many parts of the world, people have become accustomed to nearly constant data connectivity through Wi-Fi, cellular, or other connections. Indeed, many consider connection to certain electronic services as essential. This is especially true when traveling away from home in an unfamiliar place. In these situations, travel applications provide guidance essential to creating an enjoyable experience for the traveler."
It could still be a while before we see this new piece of technology. After all, it is still in the patent application process.
Just imagine traveling somewhere without consistent signal or Wi-Fi access, and yet you are still able to find the best restaurants, all the major landmarks, and other important locations (like your Airbnb!).
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