Copenhagen Airport has given Google Glass the "thumbs up" following a successful trial by its passenger services team. Working with SITA Lab, the technology research group at SITA, Copenhagen Airport is the first airport in the world to trial Google Glass. Results from both passengers and the airport service team have been positive, with the innovative technology enabling superior passenger service.
Marie-Louise Lotz, Director Customer Care, Copenhagen Airport, said: "The feedback from our passengers and service team has been overwhelmingly positive. We found Google Glass very easy to use and more user-friendly than other devices such as tablets. We can reduce the amount of paper our Duty Managers need to carry to give great customer service, such as duty rosters, desk allocation sheets, peak prognosis, passenger numbers and cruise arrivals. And because the devices are hands-free, our managers are not focusing on a screen and can engage better with our passengers."
The team also noted that having access to services like Google Translate and gate, baggage or flight information would help them improve the dialogue with passengers. Sharing information with other colleagues on duty by using the camera for documentation purposes and publishing photos on a closed work forum promotes instant interaction between Duty Managers.
Speaking at the Air Transport IT Summit in Brussels, Jim Peters, Chief Technology Officer, SITA, said: "SITA has led the way with airlines and airports in the trials of wearable technology, including Google Glass. The killer benefit is that this technology is hands-free and enables a new way of working. At Copenhagen Airport we have seen real benefits for both passengers and service staff. From an operational point of view, the ease of adoption and the user-friendliness of the Glass devices are great - it only takes a day for staff to familiarize themselves with the new equipment."
There are, however, still some technical issues to iron out.
Peters commented: "The devices need improved scanning capability, battery life and reduced heating during operation. But the potential for widespread usage in the air transport industry is great. SITA will continue testing and researching the best ways for this innovative technology to be embraced by airports and airlines."
When it comes to reactions from passengers, there were two main groups at Copenhagen. Younger people were excited and keen to see how they too could use the technology. In contrast, the older age group did not notice the devices and when the Glass was demonstrated to them they were pleasantly surprised by the added benefits the service team was able to deliver.
Christian Poulsen, CIO & VP Assets & Technology, Copenhagen Airport, said: "Copenhagen Airport is always looking for ways to use innovative technologies to make the visit to our airport the best possible experience for passengers. This pilot was very promising, and we are now investigating how we could efficiently introduce wearable technology to our passenger services team."
Copenhagen Airport has a vision to make it the "The Gateway of Northern Europe," and the team is focusing on extraordinary customer experiences, competitiveness and efficient operations. Embracing new technologies and innovation to have ground-breaking passenger services is part of this strategy. The Google Glass project builds on established services at the airport including common-use check-in, self-service bag drop and self-service boarding gates.
SITA, as the only IT provider completely dedicated to the air transport industry, is leading the innovation for wearable technology for airports and airlines. In 2013, its strategic technology research group, SITA Lab, began testing and comparing wearable technology devices and developing applications for airlines and airports. A paper outlining its findings for the industry is available here. Earlier this year, SITA Lab received a Smart Technology Award from The Wearables 2014, the leading awards for wearable technology. This recognized the pioneering pilot, which tested how Google Glass and Sony Smartwatches could enhance the passenger experience with an airline.
NOTE: Above picture - photographer - Ernst Tobisch - Copenhagen Airport