An American airport has found that smart glass capable of adjusting for sunlight exposure results in travellers hanging around longer and spending more.

By Joe McDonough


Posted on April 18, 2018

Dallas-Fort Worth (DWF) International Airport trialled View Dynamic Glass on the windows of the east-facing gate A28, which is home to a popular restaurant-bar, and the results were astonishing.

With the electrochromatic glass negating the effects of the penetrating Texas sun, customers were more inclined to stay for longer and spend more money.

The lighting and temperature — more closely resembling evening — was so attractive to travellers that alcohol sales soared 80% last October, compared with the same period in 2016.

Alcohol contributed 17% of the restaurant’s total revenue in October 2017, compared with 9% the previous month and 8% in October 2016.

The study at DFW, conducted by a Cornell University design professor, also revealed the surface temperatures on seats and flooring near the new gate glass were marginally lower, helping to boost the “dwell time” of travellers by 53% over that at a nearby gate with regular glass.

“We definitely see the impact,” said Casey Norton, a DFW Airport spokesman. The restaurant and airport discussed a decline in sales and “hypothesised that it was too damn hot” for customers to lounge around.

According to The Dallas Morning News, the energy bill for DFW Airport runs about $18 million per year, so not only will the smart glass lead to customers splurging more, it will likely save hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, annually.

The View Dynamic Glass used in Dallas is manufactured by View Inc, a 10-year-old Silicon Valley company, and is described by the tech company as the “The world’s most intelligent window.”

It uses intelligent algorithms to continually calculate the tint-level that’s needed for optimal comfort.

View Inc has installed the smart glass in more than 600 buildings, including the NASA Sustainability Base, a Marine Corps Air Station, the University of Massachusetts, Humber River Hospital, and the headquarters of Overstock.com.

Bloomberg says French materials giant Compagnie de Saint-Gobain has a similar product called SageGlass.