Virgin Atlantic Launching Google Glass, Sony SmartWatch 2 Pilot
February 11, 2014 10:00 AM
It's for upper class passengers only at London Heathrow airport
While you're still more likely to see smartphones and tablets rather than
and smart watches on the street, Virgin Atlantic is making such devices a little more mainstream for enhanced customer service at the airport.
, the air transport IT specialist working with Virgin Atlantic on the pilot, Virgin will use Google Glass and Sony's SmartWatch 2 to provide greater customer service for its upper class passengers at London Heathrow airport.
The implementation of Google Glass and Sony's SmartWatch 2 is just a six-week pilot for now, as Virgin looks to replace traditional methods of customer service.
“While it’s fantastic that more people can now fly than ever before, the fact that air travel has become so accessible has led to some of the sheen being lost for many passengers," said Dave Bulman, Director of IT, Virgin Atlantic. "Our wearable technology pilot with SITA makes us the first in the industry to test how Google Glass and other wearable technology can improve the customer experience. We are upholding Virgin Atlantic’s long tradition of shaking things up and putting innovation at the heart of the flying experience.”
The devices can be used to help Virgin Atlantic staff check customers in more quickly while also providing their latest flight information, weather and local events at their destination.
Both Google Glass and Sony's SmartWatch 2 can also be used to translate languages and note what the passenger prefers regarding food and drink on the plane.
It's not clear if the devices will be used for customers without upper class tickets at some point, but if it works out for the upper class, it's possible Virgin Atlantic will adopt the tech throughout.
Google Glass is already being used in other mainstream environments, such as the New York Police Department (
). A select number of officers are testing the technology to see if it's helpful in patrol and investigative situations.
Google Glass has largely been a tool for techies until now, since a pair of the high-tech specs cost $1,500 and require an invite from Google.
"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)
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