Shoppers entering the flagship Duane Reade drugstore in Manhattan, New York, will now be greeted by the retail industry's first "virtual assistant." As described in a story from Chain Store Age, this next-generation digital signage uses holographic imaging and audio-visual technology to create the illusion of a real person.

Lawrence, a Tensator Group Co., created the Tensator Virtual Assistant, which has previously been employed at Luton and Birmingham airports in the United Kingdom. For its retail debut at Duane Reade, the virtual assistant was completely customized to feature a female greeter that informs customers about special items and promotions throughout the store.

"Our Virtual Greeter is an essential part of the 'wow factor' we have built into our newest store and serves as ambassador of the new Duane Reade experience," Duane Reade senior VP merchandising and CMO Paul Tiberio said in the story.

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User Comments – Give us your opinion!
  • Howard Baldwin
    This is the kind of cool application that is only possible when it’s supported by a state-of-the-art network and bandwidth designed to handle such graphics. But it can be done, and done simply, when retailers partner with someone who understands not only the network fundamentals but also retailers’ communication needs. Using a branch server system (
    such as those deployed by Hughes Enterprise Solutions, retailers with multiple locations can get this kind of bandwidth and good customer interaction such as the kind Duane Reade is getting.

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  • Mark Diamond
    My Lord, as a practicing commercial holographer for 35 years , I wonder if anyone writing these press releases and or articles has any idea what is and what is not "holographic imaging". If I am not mistaken the technolgy descibed in the above article has NOTHING to do with holography or "holographic imaging". As can be seen from this press article on the vendors web site, a cut out peice of acrylic with a picoprojected 2 dimensional video of a person shot on black is not a hologram ! It's like calling a tv set a teleportation device . One thing has nothing to do with the other. Unfortunately, it's very sexy to call your products holographic and many varied display manufactures have co-opted the term for no other reason in the last 10 years probaly started in great part by Musion in the UK.

    I know that the cats out of the bag and any cool 3d ish thing is oftn refered to as holographic , but really , this is an industry periodical not people magazine , call things what they are . A 2 D projection on a cutout piece of plastic .
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