Delta Airlines passengers traveling through Detroit have an opportunity for a personalized digital experience straight out of Minority Report or some other futuristic film.
Parallel Reality, which launched in Detroit earlier this summer, allows up to 100 passengers to see personalized flight information tailored to their trip on a shared digital screen.
The idea behind Parallel Reality is to allow passengers to navigate the airport seamlessly through the cutting-edge technology, first introduced at CES in 2020.
“If this new technology can make finding your gate and departure information quicker and easier, we’re not just showing customers a magic trick; we’re solving a real problem,” Ranjan Goswami, senior vice president of customer experience, said in a release.
“Customers already rely on personalized navigation via their mobile devices, but this is enabling a public screen to act as a personal one — removing the clutter of information not relevant to you to empower a better journey.”
Sounds crazy, but that’s exactly what Parallel Reality delivers. A single screen with flight information for up to 100 passengers, but those viewing it will only see their own details.
How Parallel Reality Works
Parallel Reality displays direct different-colored light to many viewing zones, allowing several people to look at the same display at the same time and only see their personalized content.
Customers must opt in to Parallel Reality at the registration kiosk. Once that happens, a private viewing zone is created at your location.
As the passenger moves around the airport, an overhead sensor shifts your private zone to their new location, allowing them to see their personalized content at different screens.
For subsequent flights, passengers must again opt in to start a new experience.
Matt Muta, vice president of innovation for Delta, said the company tries to make sure any innovation it puts in place is human-centric, and Parallel Reality is no exception.
“We’re not chasing shiny objects. We’re looking for ways to make our customers’ lives easier,” Muta said. “With Parallel Reality, we saw an opportunity to personalize and simplify what can be a confusing experience — navigating the airport.”
To that end, Delta emphasizes that facial recognition technology is not used with the program. Instead, it focuses on anonymous non-biometric object detection.
Delta also points out that the information is not stored and has no plans to ever do so.
“Ultimately, this technology is a way to make the customer feel seen and valued,” said Muta. “Imagine the peace of mind that such individualized messaging can provide to a traveler who is overwhelmed by the airport environment. That level of personalization, when coupled with the care of Delta employees on the ground, is a powerful combination.”
Delta would like to roll the technology out to other airports, but for the time being is focused solely on Detroit. It was chosen because of the airport layout.
Once feedback from the program is received and any kinks worked out, Delta will look into expanding it.
“Customers are expecting more and better from airlines, and we have to work even harder to meet those higher expectations,” said Goswami. “We must continually evaluate the experience we’re delivering in the airport and work to make it as intuitive, efficient, and pleasurable as possible.”