What exactly does Elenium do? As you can imagine with a new job, and spending lots of time talking to airports, airlines and industry players, I get this question a lot.
I spent a week with the Elenium team in Melbourne recently to find out. (I’ll skip the stories of the team lunches, my bad jokes and getting into trouble for playing with the image recognition system.)
They build innovative kiosks, bag drop and e-gates that have human-like qualities of vision, sensing, touch and gestures as well as voice and speech recognition. What I found most interesting is how this all comes together.
This rapidly growing start-up with close to 60 staff dominated by engineers, developers and scientists has created an environment that delivers technologies to solve real customer problems in a very agile way. In fact, throughout the week, various airports and airlines were on site, guiding, co-creating and innovating alongside the Elenium team.
The close working relationship between different disciplines allows, for example, the machine vision scientist to work with the engineer to adjust the 3D printed camera enclosure to make the self-bag drop machine look more sleek, while perfecting the read-rate of the bag-tags, while also working with the developers to ensure that the app alerts the passenger that a soft bag needs to go into a container, but a hard case is okay.
This collaboration across the different technical disciplines and with our customers is what allowed Elenium to rapidly develop our portable kiosks. We needed a solution to get the kiosks to use less power so that they could run on batteries for up to 16 hours, be light but stable so they can be pushed around on wheels.
Software was needed to monitor the battery health and life to make sure batteries were changed or swapped before they went to sleep, so the service and support team were heavily involved as well as the technical teams. That’s also why we’re the only company with a flip-out keyboard on our kiosk. The maintenance team suggested this resulting in our kiosks also being used by airport and airline staff as a fully functioning check-in desk. Totally wireless, this simple innovation allows staff to rapidly respond to delays or disruptions.
This collaborative approach is also used to solve new problems. An airport came to us recently asking how we can make the self-service experience better for their less abled passengers. As a result we have developed solutions where passengers can interact with the kiosk, bag-drop and e-gates with gestures, including both sign-language and simply pointing towards the screen and interacting. This will give these passengers a way to participate that feels more natural and comfortable.
When discussing a particularly difficult challenge with Aaron, Elenium’s CEO, he said “Bob, how about you think about this using the Elenium Way?” He explained that in Elenium we create solutions to problems not by looking at how it’s done today, or how others do it but by looking at the situation in a completely different way. We bring together engineers, scientists, developers and a deep understanding of the air transport industry, and take a fresh approach.We question everything. We then work with our customers to develop ideas and refine solutions, creating highly reliable products in short timescales that really impact their business and deliver a positive passenger experience for all passengers.
That’s what Elenium do.