Northern Rail has launched the first retailing ‘smart wall’ in the UK, as part of its plans to completely modernise its approach to selling travel.
Unveiled as the centrepiece of the new-look Harrogate train station, the smart wall was designed by Northern and its ticketing partner Parkeon to make the customer experience as fluid and convenient as possible.
Using state-of-the-art gaming technology, the smart wall can sense when a customer is approaching by using eye retina recognition software to automatically adjust the screen to match the user’s height. This technology will move the interactive touchscreens up or down so that the screen is level with the customer’s eye when using it.
Another key customer benefit of the wall is the use of facial detection technology to recognise when a customer is ready to use the machine. Other features include a second, smaller video screen that could be used in future to link to a virtual call centre to give customers help when they need it.
A futuristic focal point for one of Northern Rail’s biggest stations, the brand new smart wall also has large video screens on either side of the wall, which will include:
- information on trains
- social media updates
- local area information
- local events
The wall is over three metres high and two metres wide, and features two Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) that use interactive touchscreens to make buying and collecting tickets quick and easy for customers.
Part-way through a major £1.2m improvement programme, the smart wall is the result of a significant six-figure investment at Harrogate station by Northern and Parkeon.
Richard Allan, Commercial Director for Northern Rail, said: “The smart wall is a fantastic innovation for our customers to make it quicker and easier to buy their travel.
“This is just one part of our drive to modernise the way we sell travel. The smart wall is the centrepiece of the new-look Harrogate station and will be a great focal point for commuters and visitors arriving in the town.”
Owen Griffith, managing director of Parkeon Transit, said: “We are delighted to see the results of the close collaboration between Northern Rail and Parkeon. It has been great working with such a forward-looking team and we hope that all those using the station will find this innovative technology really beneficial.”
Other recent innovations include mobile tickets on the Northern app, season ticket renewals available online and making contactless payment available at all ticket offices.