Monday, May 15, 2017
Holograms help guide travelers through McCarran airport in Las Vegas
By Art Marroquin
The Las Vegas (NV) Review-Journal
They’re slightly creepy and definitely kooky, but they’re supposed to make the airport a little less spooky for travelers passing through Las Vegas.
A team of three hologram workers quietly popped up at McCarran International Airport to help direct passengers toward tram connections headed out of the D-Gate satellite concourse.
The lifelike video projections dispense advice geared toward Sin City tourists with phrases like “Don’t roll the dice with your baggage. Save that for the casino,” or “Don’t play the odds yet. Make sure you’re getting on the right tram.”
Most travelers ignore the avatars, while others might glance over.
A small handful, like Brian Gladman of Toronto, Canada, stop to listen and then laugh at the cartoonish characters.
“I love this sort of geeky stuff,” Gladman said as he waved his hand in front of “Adam,” almost hoping for a reaction from the hologram. “It’s pretty cool technology.”
The virtual assistants were rolled into the D-Gate lobby in mid-December under a $36,000 installation and maintenance contract with PRSONAS, a hologram developer in Durham, North Carolina, airport spokeswoman Christine Crews said.
Dressed in blue polo shirts and black slacks, each figure has a different name, but their messages are generally the same. Jennifer is positioned near the blue tram leading to Terminal 1, while Adam directs travelers to the red tram for Terminal 3. Angie gets to stand with a human counterpart at the information desk.
“The novelty catches some people’s attention,” Crews said. “If we offer multiple channels to reach more people, then we see more success.”
Jennifer, Adam and Angie have the capability to interact with travelers, but Crews said the option was switched off so that travelers can keep moving through the high-traffic corridor.
Their fixed scripts have changed in the brief time the holograms appeared at the airport. Some messages were too long, while others didn’t strike the right chord.
“I like it and it’s interesting, but I don’t understand her,” Germán Huamán said in Spanish after listening to Jennifer.
Airport officials are studying whether the hologram trio should offer messages in additional languages.
“We’re trying to get the message right in English before we translate it,” Crews said.