Corporate Environments – Delta Air Lines Biometric Hoteling Solution

While Delta Air Lines first selected FWI to replace a legacy digital signage platform in 2013, the company’s use of digital signage continues to evolve. Today, Delta uses FWI’s platform to power over 37 applications across 950+ endpoints. The latest application deployed in 2019 integrates customer-facing technology to solve common workplace challenges.


Delta Air Lines, based in Atlanta, Georgia is home to over 8,500 employees. The corporate campus is spread across 10 buildings, all adjacent to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. Delta’s IT department is 4,000 people strong with 2,250 Atlanta based employees, occupying 9 different floors in 4 different buildings. The main IT floor is comprised of 1,040 cubes and offices, yet that floor has approximately 1,400 employees. Adding to this workstation shortage are 900 Minneapolis- based employees who frequently travel to Atlanta for meetings and work assignments. All of them need a place to sit. To solve this challenge, IT implemented a generous work from home policy allowing employees to work remotely 2 days a week. While this helped with overcrowding to an extent, management quickly realized that in order to continue onboarding new employees and provide everyone a workspace, a more targeted approach was needed.


To solve the problem, the floor was divided into neighborhoods that aligned with the employee’s leaders. Then, within each neighborhood, hotel cubes were designated for employees who didn’t have an assigned seat. Initially, cubes were first come, first served. However, two problems quickly surfaced. One; employees tried to claim specific cubes as theirs. And secondly; nobody could find the people they needed to. Conflicts and confusion arose from people trying to find a place to work or trying to locate a coworker. And those issues distracted from productivity. An additional, intuitive solution was necessary.


Delta turned to FWI to develop a solution that would provide wayfinding and reservation functions for employees needing hotel cubes. The Delta project team partnered with NEC to integrate their facial recognition technology into the wayfinding application. As Delta had already created the world’s first biometric terminal for its customers—and the solution was highly successful—Delta IT wanted to repurpose the concept. The idea immediately resonated with Delta’s leadership. Delta IT wrote a middleware component prior to launching NEC’s facial recognition service, which ran continuously in the background. From there, FWI invoked a request to NEC’s service through the sign build, which captured an image and compared it to Delta’s ID Badge images. Then, the solution determined whether the individual was included in the active directory and compared it to Sharepoint, which would check if they already had a cube assignment or if they were free to book a cube.


Delta deployed the solution to four strategic locations on the floor near the main ingress points. The solution quickly proved itself successful by creating a central source of truth regarding which cubes were reserved and who had reserved them. By removing ambiguity from the hoteling process, employees were free to focus on work instead of stressing about where to sit. And within only two weeks of launch, the majority of employees chose to use the biometrics option over manually inputting their ID. With the rapid adoption of the technology by the IT team, initial results are positive. In addition to the 2:1 ratio of employees who prefer using the biometric face recognition, the kiosk has been used 59 times to book hotel cubes and 30 times to book conference rooms over a one-month test period. And the wayfinding aspect of the solution receives an average of 204 interactions per month.