Virtual assistants at airports now interactive, will respond to passenger queries
Science fiction-like, 3D virtual assistants have been kicking around for a while, but now they are being designed so that they interact to some degree with people.
Inevitably, Dubai International Airport is one of the first to take delivery of these devices.
The high definition assistant stands in the departure area of the airport’s Terminal 3 and greets passengers with relevant messages as they idle past.
“She” also shows videos on a screen with details about flights and security measures, etc.
But where the next phase of such devices kicks in will be the interactive element – in this case, passengers can select a range of FAQs and their primary language (programme at this stage for Arabic and English) and the assistant will respond accordingly.
Passengers are able to search for the information or select a specific service and then the assistant delivers a specific message or asks the traveller for more information.
But with Dubai Airport talking up its role as an innovative and tech-driven facility, the question may remain for many as, well, what is the point?
The assistant’s creator, Tensator, says the device has been well received by passengers so far as it offers a new way of communicating information to visitors.
Tensator general manager Abdel Aziz Rahal says:
“She calls attention to critical way finding information and makes passengers stop, look, listen and now interact and engage with her.
“People are excited to be able to have ready access to the information they need instantly and round the clock.”
Kevin May is a senior editor and one of the co-founders at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and will be publishing his first book - a biography about electronic band, Depeche Mode - soon.