Since its launch last year excitement has been growing over how Google Glass will be used.
Billed as one of the next big things in consumer electronics, some airlines have already started to adopt the technology.
A screen just above the eye enables staff to check passenger and flight information. In addition, an in-built camera scans the ticket and passport, meaning boarding is complete within a click of the eye.
While the technology speeds up boarding, airline Virgin Atlantic, which is piloting the glasses, also believes they add a little quirkiness to the in-flight experience.
“Anything we can do to inject a little bit of magic, a little bit of personalisation into the whole process makes people feel that it is a special thing they are doing. It’s great really!” Tim Graham, Innovation and Development Manager at Virgin Atlantic said.
Swiss company SITA is behind the software which is being used to welcome airline passengers. The firm has been trialing the application in Virgin’s VIP wing at London’s Heathrow airport for faults. In the future the technology may also be used to tell airline staff passengers’ dietary preferences.
At SITA’s headquarters in Geneva the job of engineers is to test all kinds of gadgets for use in the airline industry.
‘‘In March last year we asked ourselves, given all the wearable computing technology that is now available, is there a way of using this to speed up boarding. If I put on these glasses and turn on the application which we’ve developed, it will instantly scan the boarding pass and passport. And even though we are wearing this, we are able to interact with the passenger, so you do not lose proximity,’‘ said Stephane Cheikh, an Innovation Manager at SITA.
Many think the hands-free benefit of wearable technology offers tremendous potential for airlines and business in general.
“There are lots of other areas where most of our staff that work for the company are mobile, whether they are on the ground or fixing planes, turning planes round, or up in the air flying the plane or serving our passenger on board. The majority of them are mobile, so we are trying to find areas where this sort of technology could benefit them in doing their job and also help them improve the customer’s experience,” Tim Graham from Virgin said.
While still on trial in London, if the pilot is deemed a success, there are already plans to use the technology at air hubs in the US, in New York and San Francisco.