This week saw the UK impose a ban on laptops being carried in cabin luggage on some flights. This follows the US ban imposed last week.  If this situation escalates and becomes common practice across all flights where will the future be for laptop use on flights?

Consider the number of business travellers who regularly take to the skies on route to meetings. Where those all-important meeting objectives or presentations are crafted. That backlog of emails is finally harnessed. And when you have those few peaceful hours with no distractions to think and collate your thoughts.

What would happen if this was not possible?

This is a chastening thought especially for the vast number of business travellers. In the US alone, The Global Business Travel Association estimates the number of business trips taken annually is 488million. This doesn’t take into account the steady increase of business travel, an estimated 38% each year, since 2009 (source Business Travel Statistics January 2016)

Consider also that a laptop could easily be worth over £1,000; an iPad £500. Most travel insurance policies will not cover articles which cost so much – especially if they are checked in as hold luggage. There is also, of course, the risk of damage from shock while a suitcase is being loaded and unloaded from the plane and baggage belts. Again, insurance will not usually cover such damage.”

Research by Which? magazine found that five major travel insurance companies – Aviva, AXA, Churchill, Direct Line and LV – did not cover valuables placed in the hold for loss, theft or damage.

One of the main problems for passengers who are forced to check electronic equipment into their hold baggage is security from theft while they are in the baggage handling system,” said Nick Trend, Telegraph Travel’s consumer advice expert. For instance, Heathrow airport has picked up the nickname as ‘theifrow’ due to the light hands of some of the baggage handlers.

So where could this all lead to, how many lost work hours could be ramped up, how many computers (not to mention secure data) could be lost or stolen.

Is there a different solution

Could it be that business travellers in the future are given different tools to work with, that cost a fraction of the price of a conventional laptop and are able to pass the airport authorities regulations? For instance, these devices could be ‘thin clients’ That are lightweight and purpose-built to work through remote access servers. The idea being that limited company data is stored on the actual device but instead accessed when the business traveller arrives at their destination.

This would require guaranteed levels of security and low latency to access company servers. But could be delivered either through Cloud Services or local on-premise data centres.

The benefit behind local on-premise or nearby data centres is that it negates the latency levels often experienced with having servers on the other side of the world. Not to mention the limitation imposed by Cloud providers management policies.

Therefore, could this be the catalyst for the boom of smaller, flexible, highly secure data centres that are strategically located in the main hubs across the UK?

Watch this space.