You will find her at Boston’s Logan International Airport. Her name is Carla. She is a “virtual assistant” – a hologram, if you will. Her “job” is giving passengers tips on what they need to toss and what is acceptable to carry on the plane before they are screened. Carla debuted last week and is already a hit. With her eyes that track you and hands that move when she speaks, she is proving to be more effective than some of the signs and videos.
She is actually a projected image whose knowledge is programmed in ahead of time. You can’t ask her questions, but just let her know you are there and she will help you get through the security area with less hassle. How many times have you gotten all the way to the screener, only to find those bottles of shampoo and lotion are still too large, or something is not allowed that you assumed would be fine. Carla can help. What a concept and a help for all of us who need to be retrained before each flight.
New York’s three airports have purchased hologram-like avatars named Ava. Part of a six-month trial program, these holograms will be directing folks to baggage claim areas and taxis. All one needs to do is speak to her and she will give you her programmed information. Always friendly, always smiling, Ava is expected to be a welcome addition to the airport experience. London and Dubai already have Avas at their airports. She makes her debut in New York in July.
Washington Dulles has a hologram named Paige. This young lady is part of a summer pilot project and is greeting international passengers.
These virtual assistants are not taking the place of any current employees. These are meant to help passengers by giving directions and information in addition to any personnel who may be in the same area. It seems that the public responds well to a person as opposed to a sign or a video with the same information.
These assistants are not interactive, however the next generation is expected to have a “brain” and to be able to answer questions as they are asked. Can you imagine? This is simply amazing to me – that we can talk to an image and get directions to the nearest lounge or lost and found! Think of the possibilities! No grumps, no apathetic employee counting the minutes until break time, and no attitude! I think I love these gals!