They aren’t tall, blue and skilled with flying beasts, but avatars installed at certain airports could provide useful information for travelers soon. If you can’t find an actual warm body to assist you, you’ll be able to just walk up to one of these flat-screen helpers and have it start talking.
The Port of Authority of New York and New Jersey debuted the new customer service idea at area airports, which activate when a customer approaches, reports WNYC.org.
It won’t talk about just anything (“Ugh, my sciatica is really acting up lately,”), but will stick to travel-related info like flight information, shuttle bus and taxi pick-up tips and more. Each one will be life-sized, featuring a flat-screen in the shape of a person.
“I’m so versatile!” says one in a video, somewhat flirtatiously. “I can be used for just about anything! I can say what you want, dress the way you want, and be just about anything you want me to be.”
Your minds, get them out of the gutter.
According to WNYC, Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye showed off one of the talking avatars at a press conference at LaGuardia Airport on Monday, saying the machines are meant to supplement the airport’s 350 living, breathing customer service representatives. The ranks of human reps will swell with 70 new hires soon.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen pixelated people at the airport — last year Manchester Airport in the UK installed two holograms using the likenesses of two willing employees to remind passengers in the security line about which liquids they can and can’t bring onboard.
Avatars to Assist Travelers at Area Airports [WNYC.org]