East Midlands Airport welcomes new virtual assistant

A new virtual assistant has been introduced at East Midlands Airport, as part of the security preparation process for passengers; following the completion of a 200,000 refurbishment of the security area.

The cutting edge technology, which is well established in the music industry and used by artists, such as the Black Eyed Peas, Madonna and Gorillaz, is now being trialled at the airport to better prepare passengers for security.

Before passengers reach the security search area they will be greeted by a ‘virtual assistant’ - a clever holographic projection of Senior Terminal Services Assistant, Heather Hodson, who will advise passengers about the current liquid restrictions, whilst also reminding travellers to have their boarding cards ready for inspection.

The technology has been developed by multimedia entertainment company, Musion, and uses a texture that is carefully prepared during manufacture to retain maximum transparency and strength. The resulting surface betters that of a glass mirror, allowing the reproduction of high definition video at such high quality that it looks almost as good as the real thing.

Brad Miller, Managing Director, East Midlands Airport said: “Customer experience at East Midlands Airport is all about making the journey for our passengers as easy as possible and that’s why we are committed to best practice and investing in new technology to improve the operation of our airport.

“We have looked at the way the security search area is being used and have redesigned the existing area to ease the passenger journey, improve passenger flow and better utilise the area. In addition to structural changes, we are also mindful that passengers are not always aware of the current security requirements and to help prepare our passengers in advance, we need to introduce new ways of communicating important messages.

“The new hologram attracts attention, is customer friendly and provides passengers with simple, informative messages, which we hope will take us one step closer to improving our customer’s overall journey through our airport.”

The airport’s new virtual assistant, Heather Hodson, said: “Although we pride ourselves on delivering a seamless, relaxed and stress-free journey through the airport, security procedures understandably still confuse many of our passengers. Over the past few years, the airport has introduced many ways to prepare passengers before security; by using TV screens, posters and terminal announcements to remind customers about the liquid restrictions and we're hoping that this innovative technology will capture their attention.

“The holographic projection delivers a constant stream of important messages that can be communicated to a wide audience all at once and with this in place, we hope it will help inform our passengers and also speed up the security process.”

For more information, contact the East Midlands Airport Press Office on 0845 108 8542 or email pressoffice@eastmidlandsairport.com
Restrictions on liquids were introduced by the Department for Transport in 2006, after a plot was uncovered to smuggle liquid explosives on board transatlantic airliners.
Passengers are allowed to take liquids, gels and pastes of 100 mls or less in their hand baggage, but these items must be contained within a small, transparent, re-sealable plastic bag, which are removed from hand baggage and x-rayed separately.
Passengers requiring further information about the security process at East Midlands Airport can refer to the website at: http://www.eastmidlandsairport.com/emaweb.nsf/Content/SecurityAndCheck-InProcedures

Published on: 19/10/2011 14:38:24

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