Tensator, a provider of passenger journey management solutions, said it is helping to improve traveler safety at King's Cross Rail Station in London with the introduction of its Virtual Assistant.

The Tensator Virtual Assistant uses digital signage projection technology to project an image and create the illusion of a real person, "Louise," who is advising travellers with heavy, awkward baggage to use the elevator rather than risk the escalator.

Fully customizable, "Louise" brings messages to life and helps engage passengers with consistent and clear directional and safety announcements, the company said. "Louise" is situated at the foot of the escalator and close to the elevator, and delivers her directional/safety messages whenever she detects movement in the immediate area.

"Existing signage was being ignored, and the safety of escalator users was of great concern," Ajay Joshi, head of media and technology at Tensator, said in the announcement. "We worked in collaboration with TEW Plus and Network Rail in the strategic design of the Virtual Assistant to both improve safety on escalators and promote the use of the elevators for heavier baggage."

Tensator worked alongside telecommunications and security systems integrator TEW Plus Ltd. to supply, configure and install the unit that, during a six-week trial, has seen an increase of more than 260 percent in passengers using the elevator, the companies said.

Neil Sheffield, director at TEW Plus, said, "We are very excited about this product as we see a multitude of applications across the industry. The installation at King's Cross has been a great success with a huge increase in elevator usage being monitored since the Virtual Assistant was implemented. We expect this to lead to a clear reduction in the number of escalator incidents at the station as visitors with large luggage are re-directed to use the elevators."

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