I don't find technology and personalization to be much more than talk. The airport of the future, according to Delta, is Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Delta’s customized parallel reality board

Delta has introduced parallel reality technology at Detroit Airport that allows up to 100 people to each see information that is tailored to them.

The parallel reality exhibit can be accessed by customers who opt in to use digital identity at check-in. Passengers can use their boarding pass to access this.

Delta’s parallel reality experience Detroit

The screen shows different things depending on the angle at which you are looking at it. Skymiles elite status, departure gate, flight number, and flight time are displayed on the screen.

Delta’s parallel reality technoloy

Delta and Misapplied Sciences introduced this technology at the Consumer Electronics Show.

This technology is described by Delta's VP of Customer Experience.

“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. 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.” 

“Most of us can’t imagine our lives without the constant peace of mind our cell phones provide. But I think customers are eventually going to want to be able to navigate their journeys without being buried in their screens. In the future, I’d love to create an airport experience as convenient and informative as the phone in your hand.” 

This is really cool, but…

This technology is amazing. Forget the actual application here, but the fact that a screen can use facial recognition to display 100 different messages at the same time is amazing.

I think the extent to which this is useful is questionable.

  • People will no doubt check this out for the novelty, because it’s pretty cool; in that sense, this is great PR for Delta, as it shows that the airline is a leader when it comes to tech and innovation
  • The kind of person who would use this technology would also be the kind of person who has the Delta app, which displays all of this information, and more; that can be accessed from anywhere, and doesn’t require going to one specific spot
  • Admittedly this could just be the first instance of this technology being used, and in the future there could be other applications; however, I’m struggling to think of positive uses of this for consumers, rather than just targeted advertising
  • It’s interesting that a Delta executive claims that this makes “the customer feel seen and valued,” because at least in my case, it’s people who make me feel valued, and not some (admittedly cool) tech that has no human element; this would be like saying that Instagram makes me feel valued by suggesting profiles with airplanes and cute dogs
  • I know it’s just the avgeek in me, but I wouldn’t want to see these fully replace departure boards; looking at departure boards and seeing all the destinations from a major global hub is one of my favorite things about being at an airport

I am not going to argue with the idea. I assume this wasn't cheap because airlines only have so much money to spend. Money could be better spent in other areas. I would like to know if other applications of this are more useful.

Bottom line

Delta has a new experience at Detroit Airport that is worth a look. Depending on the angle at which one looks at the screen, up to 100 people can be seen at once. I'm not sure if this serves a purpose beyond the coolness factor.

What do you think of Delta?