Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand Trialling Augmented Reality Glasses to Enhance Services

Since the Hololens was first introduced I’ve been excited by it’s potential. It always came across as a device that could enhance working environments, and always seemed more futuristic than the Vive or the Oculus which seem somehow inwardly focused. We have enough virtual reality. But when it comes to augmenting our reality, there’s plenty of potential to be had.

Air New Zealand recently shared a video of something they’ve been cooking up with technology company Dimension Data. What they’re hoping to achieve is a tool that will aid stewards on flights better serve the passengers.

While some of the features at this point being pumped into the software are a little redundant, such as using the hololens to gauge a guests mood (as if the stewards haven’t been trained their entire human lives to know when someone’s nervous), there is still plenty of handy functionality.

Data displayed to the stewards can tell them when you ordered a drink, your special dietary needs, and almost any other data pertinent to making your trip more convenient. This could foster a paperless environment, although as we’ve seen with any office cubicle there’s always going to be a place for paper even when technology is involved.

“This software is a great example of us collaborating with other partners and exploring how technology could enhance the way our people work as well as the experience they deliver to our customers through greater personalisation,” says Air New Zealand Chief Digital Officer Avi Golan.

This is an optimistic step in the future of AR, and I hope it catches on. Although with only a small viewing area on the Hololens, and a bulky piece of headgear the software is going to have to be pretty damned stellar to make it worth their while.

The Hololens does have the ability to map projections into space. Meaning you can leave icons lying in midair, walk out the room and come back to see them where you left them later. With this sort of ability you could conceivably glance down an aisle to see drink and food orders hovering above passengers seats. Functionality like that would cut out the need for row counting or any accidentally forgetting a passenger.

I’m excited to see what Air New Zealand does with the tech. Don’t be surprised if you a steward hefting one of these things in front of you in the near future.

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