Google Glass takes test flights with Virgin Altantic

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IDG NEWS SERVICE – Virgin Atlantic revealed last week that it is testing the use of Google Glass devices among its staff to see how the technology could be used to improve the experience of the airline’s highest-paying passengers.

The Google Glass spectacles include a small screen that can be used to deliver apps, directions, social media streams, and webpages just above the right eye. The wearable computer also allows wearers to take a picture, record a video, and read messages.

Over the next six weeks, concierge staff working in Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class Wing at London Heathrow’s Terminal 3 will aim to use Google Glass to check-in customers and provide them with flight information, weather and local events at their destination and translate any foreign language information.

In order to make this possible, Virgin Atlantic has integrated Google Glass with a purpose-built dispatch app built by SITA and the Virgin Atlantic passenger service system.

Sony’s SmartWatch

The dispatch app manages all task allocation and concierge availability. It also pushes individual passenger information directly to the assigned concierge’s smart glasses just as the passenger arrives at the Upper Class Wing.

Virgin Atlantic said Google Glass also has the potential to tell staff their passengers’ dietary and refreshment preferences.

The airline is also testing the use of Sony’s SmartWatch 2 over the same six-week time period.

“The fact that air travel has become so accessible has led to some of the sheen being lost for many passengers,” said Dave Bulmad, Virgin Atlantic IT director. “By being the first in the industry to test how Google Glass and other wearable technology can improve customer experience we are…putting innovation at the heart of the flying experience.

Google Glass and other wearables are being tested by an increasing number of businesses, including the New York Police Department, which said last week that it was investigating whether the technology could be used to help enforce the law.

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