The Hologram Host: A Live-Stream Reception with Lifelike Interaction
"Is it possible to offer our hospitality services remotely?" With this question, Jeroen Peters, the Marketing & Communication Director of D&B The Facility Group, had been contemplating for several years.
A hostess welcoming guests live but virtually brings an entirely new experience to receptions. This development seamlessly aligns with contemporary hospitality services, where the Hologram Host can serve as a supplement, replacement, or expansion of existing services. This is particularly advantageous in an era where office functions are becoming increasingly flexible. Thanks to the Holobox from our partner, HoloConnects, Jeroen’s inquiry has become a reality: through a holographic live-stream projection, the D&B Host can now personally assist a guest remotely. How cool is that!
After visiting HoloConnects’ studio in Culemborg, Jeroen immediately recognized that this was what he had been searching for. “I saw the Holobox at an event in the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht, where a recording of a person was played. It was so lifelike that I immediately thought, this is the live-stream experience that suits us. A two-way connection with good sound and image quality, giving you the feeling of being personally in contact with the person in front of you.” This was also a prerequisite for Jeroen to start testing the live stream. “All holograms I had seen before were not realistic enough. Guests felt like they were dealing with a robot or Artificial Intelligence (AI). That’s exactly what we didn’t want. The human factor, personal attention, and hospitality are what matter at D&B.”
To ensure the Holobox’s practicality, it is currently being tested at multiple locations. In early February, the Holobox is stationed at D&B’s headquarters in Amstelveen and at the World Trade Center Amsterdam. In March, it will be at Valley in Amsterdam. Melissa Kooke, Manager Concept Development at D&B, is closely involved in the Holobox testing and has garnered many insights. “The acoustics of a location are crucial for contact with the host. We’ve also learned that hosts need to be well-briefed and familiar with the location. Only then can they give the right instructions to the guest. And not to forget: the instructions are in mirror image. In short, this requires some practice for the hosts. Additionally, we’ve learned that guests have less patience for a Holobox than for a service desk with a physical host. This means the technology must work flawlessly.”
It's exciting to see the initial reactions of guests. People are often surprised when they realize they're not dealing with AI or a recorded video. And importantly, the hosts genuinely assist people in finding their way or providing information. We can say that the test has been successful.
During the testing period, only guest referrals were tested intentionally, as Jeroen explains, “By testing one variable, we can determine whether guests were assisted or not. Additionally, it was crucial for us to experiment with how guests react to the Holobox. Based on the responses, we will further develop the possibilities.”
The possibilities are indeed endless. In smaller office spaces, the Hologram Host can completely replace a physical host if the building is equipped with smart building technology. This allows the host to remotely open doors, gates, and barriers. In locations where visitors are announced, the host can directly connect with a tenant or client through a headset. What’s interesting about the Holobox is that one host in the studio can manage multiple locations or entrances simultaneously. Melissa says, “We’re now investigating how many locations one host can handle simultaneously. This applies to multiple entrances of one office building and to the reception of different clients. It’s important that the customer journey and quality don’t suffer. But being able to efficiently and financially attractively manage multiple locations simultaneously from one studio is definitely a possibility.”
In addition to completely replacing a physical host, we see opportunities with the Holobox to provide backup or an extra digital ‘hand’ in larger office environments. When the physical host needs to move from their desk, the Hologram Host can step in. Peters says, “That would be ideal for mixed environments with residences, offices, and shops. There, a Hologram Host could temporarily take the place of a physical service desk.” Moreover, there are offices and campuses with multiple buildings or locations that are so large that it’s impossible to place a reception desk at every entrance or lobby. “In such places, the Holobox truly comes into its own. The possibilities are actually endless, and we advise our clients on how best to use the Holobox. We believe that this technology has enormous potential to increase and enhance efficiency and user experience. We hope to roll out and deploy the Holobox quickly with our clients.”