Photo by Heather Middleton
By M.J. Subiria Arauz
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is welcoming three
A new videophone service and two new concessions are currently
available at the world's busiest airport, said Katena Carvajales,
spokeswoman for Hartsfield-Jackson. The airport now has public-access
videophones (PAV) for the hearing impaired. It also has a U*tique
Shop and MiMuzicBox kiosk, operated by concessionaire Business
Traveler Services, she said.
"We are very excited to offer these options for our passengers and
keep Hartsfield-Jackson on the cutting edge of technology and
customer service," said Paul Brown, director of concessions at the
airport. "We are especially pleased to improve our level of service
to the deaf and hard of hearing."
The airport's six concourses, the north and south baggage claim areas
and the rental car center will each have one public-access
videophone, said Carvajales. The videophones will be a permanent
feature at the airport and will be installed throughout the summer,
"We want the deaf and hard of hearing to be able to [easily] maneuver
around the world's busiest airport," said Carvajales.
According to the Communication Service for the Deaf web site, www.c-s-
d.org, the public-access videophone is a multipurpose, Internet-based
communications device that provides a standard payphone, videophone,
keyboard and a camera. It was developed by Communication Service for
the Deaf, Inc.
U*tique, an automated luxury retail outlet, is currently located on
Concourse A, said the spokeswoman.
Mara Segal, founder and CEO of U*tique, Inc., said the outlet is a
boutique that serves style-conscious customers on a personal level.
The passengers that use U*tique are on-the-go and don't have time to
enter actual retail outlets at an airport, she explained.
The kiosk offers 56 different products, she added.
"We feature the product like a luxury boutique would," Segal said.
The outlet showcases items such as Hanky Panky women's underwear,
Jessica Simpson sunglasses, Vosges Haut-Chocolat, a Swarovski
encrusted pen, a men's shaving kit and Lady Gaga headphones from
Beats by Dr. Dre, said Segal.
The products are "assorted to appeal to both men and women," she said.
Passengers can choose the items on a touch screen, which also offers
information about the product, such as its ingredients, what it's
used for and the price. Once the product is chosen, customers can
swipe their credit card to pay. A patent-pending robot developed for
the retail outlet handles the product of choice and carefully places
it in a container. Once it is placed inside the container, it is made
accessible to the customer to retrieve, she said.
Segal said prices range from $5 to $200. "We really strive to find
items that have real value to consumers," she said.
According to Segal, U*tique, which made its debut on June 17, is
doing well at Hartsfield-Jackson.
"It is like window shopping," she said.
Due to the increased use of technology among travelers, a MiMuzicBox
kiosk is available on Concourse T, at Hartsfield-Jackson, said Bill
Swift, president of Business Travel Services.
For the last five years, said Swift, Business Travel Services has
tried to obtain a device that could download anything in five
minutes. Almost any download can occur in under two minutes with the
MiMuzicBox kiosk, he said.
For example, a song can be downloaded in seconds, and a music album
in under a minute, he said.
The kiosk can download media such as music, movies and audio books to
laptops, smartphones or any electronic device, he said.
The concessionaire found a need for this kiosk, by asking passengers
what they most desired at the airport. Passengers expressed wanting
an area where they could download entertainment onto their electronic
devices, he said.
"It's price competitive," added Swift.
He said passengers can download a song for 99 cents. Movie prices
range from $4.99, to $18.99, he added.
Swift explained that MiMuzicBox provides updated, downloadable
entertainment almost daily. The kiosk has more than 10,000 items for
customers to choose from.
The kiosk cannot import anything from other devices, so customers
needn't worry about viruses.
"The only interaction is from our company [MiMuzicBox] to the
device," Swift said.
He said the kiosk went online two weeks ago.
"We would like to put in a dozen at Atlanta's airport," said Swift.