21st August 2013
Meet Shanice, the new holographic receptionist
There's a friendly new face in reception to greet visitors to Brent Council's registration and nationality service, she's called Shanice and she's a hologram or Virtual Assistant.
What's more, she's the first of her kind to be used by any council in Britain. In her day-to-day role, she will help point people in the right direction if they've come to register a birth or death, apply for citizenship, or even a marriage licence.
Situated on the ground floor of the Civic Centre, Shanice sits behind a desk just like a real receptionist, but on closer inspection she's actually projected onto a see-through screen.
Unlike a real receptionist, she's also got a 'touch screen' function, so that visitors can key in the reason for their visit and get a tailor made presentation about where they need to go and what documentation they will need.
Brent's Lead Member for Customers and Citizens, Cllr. James Denselow said: "This is the sort of space age technology you hear about but never really expect to see, especially in council buildings. The best thing is it's going to save us lots of money, without compromising our service. Nowadays we're constantly having to look at innovative ways to cut costs and they don't come more cutting edge than Shanice. I hope people will come down and visit her the next time they're in the Civic Centre, she looks great and she's always very friendly."
A similar form of technology was deployed at New York's airports last year. It is likely that more and more of these holographic people will appear in workplaces in order to save costs and improve customer services. In the future, they will become more interactive and intelligent.