Boston’s Logan Airport is Enhancing Public Guidance with Customer Service Avatars

Meet Carla, everyone’s favorite customer service avatar. She’s pleasant, she’s Plexiglas, and she will gladly help you find your connecting flight.

Carla is a bilingual virtual greeter, who is tasked with helping passengers navigate through the airport. She costs $26,000 and is being funded out of the airport’s operating funds. She’s actually a projection of a video – displayed on a life-size cutout of a woman.

Think of her like a life-size, physically present version of the iPhone’s Siri, if Siri’s sole purpose was to enhance your airport experience by providing better public guidance.

When we first blogged about this innovative approach to airport crowd control more than a year ago, avatars were exclusively being used at a few select airports in the UK.

In a few years, we’ll be seeing this type of technology not only in transportation capacities, but as a major part of branding initiatives. What better way to sell a product, than with a virtual version of the product’s backers? Say a virtual Michael Jordan selling Jordan sneakers in a sportswear store? Just a thought.

Hopefully other North American airports will take notice. Even if they can’t afford a Carla for every gate, better retractable belt barriers and signage can work wonders.