Communicating to the thousands of people streaming through a busy airport each day is a challenge. Airport staffs are shrinking and security inspectors compete with the sounds of other passengers, vendors, and more. Picture the following:
While waiting at an airport security checkpoint, you are verbally instructed by a woman to “please power down all electronics for screening purposes.” You glance over and notice the woman’s nametag reads “AVA.” She stands in front of the long, crowded line guiding everyone to ensure an efficient prescreening process. With a second glance you realize that she is not a real person at all, but an avatar.
Developed by Airus Media, AVA, also known as the Advanced Virtual Assistant, is a virtual mannequin predominantly used for communicating messages effectively in high volume areas such as airports and other mass transit locations.
AVA combines a discreet projector with a specially designed screen that has been cut to look like a live presenter. This virtual presenter engages visitors by speaking as a live presenter would. AVA is designed to enhance customer service and welcome centers by answering basic and routine questions asked by arriving visitors. Employees and security personnel are able to focus on more important things while the AVA makes announcements.
Arius Media chose Casio’s XJ-M250 projectors because they are LampFree and run on Casio’s LASER & LED Hybrid Light Source. This means lamps do not need to be replaced every few months, which typically cost almost as much as the original projector cost over one year. With the light source having an estimated lifespan of 20,000 hours, AVA can run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Since AVA can be utilized for a number of applications outside of airports, Arius Media made sure details could be customizable. Customers can choose a male, female, cartoon or animal avatar, write the script and design the case structure to fit location needs. AVA can also be set with a motion sensor which will keep it in sleep mode until someone walks past.
Currently, five airports across the United States are equipped with AVA at security checkpoints and customer service areas including LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Newark International Airport in New Jersey, Northwest Florida Regional Airport in Florida and Long Beach Airport in California. Installation for each AVA unit took approximately two hours which includes both set-up and calibration.