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Airport to introduce holograms to cut queues

‘Julie and John’ on hand for security advice

Published on January 28th 2011.


Airport to introduce holograms to cut queues

Manchester Airport has become the first airport in the world to introduce holograms as part of its passenger security preparation.

The cutting-edge technology, which has been used in the music industry by animated band Gorillaz, is being trialled in an effort to cut security queues.

Passengers in Terminal 1 will now be met by John and Julie; recordings of actual customer service staff John Walsh and Julie Capper.

The holograms of John and Julie will greet passengers before they enter the security search area to explain the liquid restrictions and remind travellers to have their boarding cards ready.

The technology has been developed in conjunction with Musion, and uses a texture that is carefully prepared during manufacture to retain maximum transparency and strength. Musion founder James Rock has been using his technology in the music industry lately having worked with the Black Eyed Peas.

“We’ve developed this technology for many uses but it’s perfectly suited for an airport environment where the support of recorded messages can help with passenger information,” he said. “It’s something we’ve worked on for a number of years and at Musion and we’d like to see its widespread use for practical purposes like the virtual assistants.

“We can reproduce musical performances and as an example Simon Cowell had a hologram of Frank Sinatra perform at his 50th birthday so you can see where we can take this technology.”

Although John and Julie will remind passengers about the current liquid restrictions any message can be recorded.

Julie Armstrong, customer services director at Manchester Airport, said: “We are always looking for new ways to improve the experience of our airport for customers.

“But four years after the restrictions were introduced, passengers understandably forget about liquids. We don’t want anyone to have to throw their drink or make up away so we’ve tried lots of different ways to reinforce the liquid rules, from posters to people dressed up as giant deodorant cans! Maybe holograms are the answer.

“You certainly can’t miss them and with the real John and Julie already being popular with our customers, I’m hopeful that their virtual selves will be a big hit too.”

John Walsh said: “The liquid restrictions remain an area of confusion for many of our passengers and it’s something we still have to spend a lot of time reminding our passengers. That can slow the process down for everyone and that’s something we want to find a solution to. If you look at the entrance to most security areas in airports, a lot of space is set aside for information relating to the current restrictions.”

The holograms will be in place in Manchester Airport’s Terminal 1 from Monday. Other airports around the UK are currently investigating their installation.

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5 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

EddyGramJanuary 28th 2011.

Here is a mad idea - why not take two real people off the dole and give them jobs explaining stuff? Just a thought.

AnonymousJanuary 28th 2011.

Why not have big written notices with the rules on?

Surely that'd be cheaper than a hologram using all the latest pop music technology.

Trust a council owned airport to devise an over complicated, gimmicky and expensive solution to a simple problem.

Burt CodeineJanuary 28th 2011.

Are they technically holograms...or just thin human shaped, LCD cutouts? The actors look very wooden...they perhaps should've carried out a few more takes, or sacked the casting director.
It's nothing like Marlon Brando and Susanna in Superman....and I really wanted it to be.

DescartesJanuary 28th 2011.

Am I missing something here?

"The holograms of John and Julie will greet passengers before they enter the security search area to explain the liquid restrictions and remind travellers to have their boarding cards ready."

How is this better than the posters that are already there, that are present all over the airport telling you what rules and restrictions are in place (thanks TSA).

What a massive waste of money, oh as well, are Julie and John still employed, or did they get sacked once they were digitised?

user59552February 1st 2011.

I have just met 'John and Julie'! They are rather unsettling as they actually make eye contact with you. As for effectiveness, people were walking past them marvelling (sniggering) at the tecnology rather than listening to the instructions. It is a shame that Manchester Airport feel that these holograms are preferable to human beings.

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