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Edinburgh Airport To Welcome Arrivals With Google Glass

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Trial follows similar rollout by Virgin Atlantic staff at Heathrow earlier this year

Passengers arriving at Edinburgh Airport will be able to benefit from improved customer service following the announcement that welcoming staff will be trialing Google’s wearable Glass device.

The pilot scheme will see customer welcome team Blackjack use the device, which went on sale in the UK earlier this year, in the airport’s check-in hall to “improve the passenger experience”, including providing up-to-date flight information, foreign language translations and answer general inquiries about the airport and City.

The trial will last until December, and is the first to operate in an airport environment, with the Blackjack team keen to try out a variety of functions in order to discern where Google Glass can be of the most use.

VirginGoogleGLass12Thinking out of the box

Edinburgh Airport is Scotland’s busiest airport and  the UK’s fifth biggest, dealing with close to 10 million passengers in 2013 and an average of 26,850 passengers a day.

“We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to improve the airport experience for our passengers and Google Glass trial is a great example of how we’re thinking out the box,” said Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport.

“The fact that it’s the first trial of its kind in a Scottish airport is exciting as it shows we’re leading the way in how we interact with our passengers. Over the next few months we’ll be able to establish whether this product is suitable for an airport environment.”

However, privacy campaigners have raised concerns about the scheme, claiming the airport should not be recording people without their permission.

Emma Carr, director of Big Brother Watch, told the Edinburgh Evening News that the airport should think “very carefully” whether the technology was appropriate.

“The danger with Google Glass is that the camera is seeing what you see, all the time, while the microphone allows nearby conversations to be eavesdropped on.

“It is impossible to guarantee against these devices being hacked, so it is surprising that this technology is allowed anywhere like an airport or government buildings.”

The news follows a similar trial carried out by Virgin Atlantic staff at Heathrow airport earlier this year (pictured above) as part of a campaign to make VIP flying “more luxurious”. Employees used Google Glass to identify travellers and begin their check-in process immediately upon their arrival, as well as using embedded to provide the latest flight information, the weather at the passengers’ destination and translate any foreign language details.

The six-week trial was heralded as a success by the airline, which received positive feedback from both staff and customers concerning the use of Google Glass.

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