Digital transformation takes off at global airline with metaverse solutions from UST
As one of the largest airlines in the world, the company operates nearly a dozen hubs across North America and uses a fleet of approximately 1,000 aircraft to transport passengers to more than 300 destinations across the globe.
Airline wanted an innovation partner to develop metaverse solutions for aviation
The company’s digital technologies team attended the AWS re:Invent conference in search of an innovation partner to help explore ways to improve travel experiences with metaverse solutions. The team wanted to use immersive technologies to keep pace with the post-COVID-19 travel boom by expanding and optimizing operations.
Metaverse solutions provided a virtual testing ground to gain efficiencies with innovation and experience design
The airline’s digital technologies team partnered with UST’s experience design and business transformation group to envision and create virtual reality and metaverse solutions to address these three use cases:
- Create an experiential environment for employee training - UST’s design thinking group led the development of a training module to manage the chain of custody for an unaccompanied minor. The resulting app embedded in the metaverse provides an immersive training environment for active learning versusstatic classroom training. Employees role-play three personas designed to help them think, react, and make appropriate decisions in real-world situations when managing a child flying alone.
- Test new digital signage virtually - The airline was testing a digital signage solution at the San Francisco airport. The IT team wanted executives to see, experience, and provide feedback on the new wayfinding system, which meant many company leaders would need to travel to San Francisco to see the signs. Instead, UST recreated the airport digital signage in a virtual SFO airport. This metaverse solution provided a cost-effective, flexible alternative to gathering executive feedback without the travel cost and time.
- Optimize processes without disrupting airports - Previously, the airline used spreadsheets and images to fine-tune the flow of passengers in terminals and at gates. This manual process was cumbersome because the airline couldn’t easily test, revise or fine-tune processes without interrupting the normal flow of passengers. By recreating airports in the metaverse, the digital technologies team can design and test different airline process optimizations before they launch them in airports.
Immersive solutions created and tested in the metaverse delivered efficiencies and lower costs in the physical world
UST designed and implemented several metaverse solutions for airline digital transformation. The three use cases demonstrated that the airline can use metaverse solutions to recreate physical environments in a virtual world to improve processes, gain efficiencies, and reduce costs. With immersive training, employees can learn from more authentic scenarios and no longer need to travel to a centralized training facility.
The digital technologies team can also create, adapt, test and prove solutions in a virtual environment before they are deployed in the real world. With VR headsets, the team can share their efforts with company leaders and key decision-makers to gain buy-in and feedback no matter where people are located. The result is a more cost-effective, efficient way to launch new services and optimize processes. These use cases are only the tip of the iceberg as the airline and UST continue to create innovative metaverse solutions.
“UST offered our team thought leadership and guidance as we embarked on our journey into the metaverse. Now, we can envision virtual use cases, and the UST experience design team puts their talents and resources to work to bring our immersive projects to fruition. We’re very excited to introduce even more metaverse solutions in the future.”
The airline’s Managing Director of Digital Technologies