A SYSTEMS APPROACH

Signage platforms drive the evolution of visual communications


COMPREHENSIVE COMMUNICATION

In a holistic fashion, visual communication is coming under one umbrella as a single comprehensive digital signage platform that houses different pieces of data, says Collard. “All you’re doing is recoordinating where the sources of data are, and changing the rules as to how it builds and renders the content in real-time.

“You’re getting end-to-end solutions rather than multiple functions to support, which is more economical to manage for an airport.”

With regard to airport size, Collard says the company seems to be spending more time with larger airports, and seeing more larger airports taking over and managing visual communication systems for smaller airports.

“YVR [Vancouver International Airport] does most of the interior British Columbia airports; smaller airports like Prince George and Hamilton Airport near Toronto,” relates Collard. “The servers are all running in Vancouver — it has the infrastructure; it has the people; it has the technology; it has the flight information. It is actually providing the service for smaller airports.

“That’s a big trend right now because once the infrastructure is put in, as YVR has done, an airport can manage, monitor, and operate the system remotely at a lower cost system-wide.

“Leveraging the technology and providing the service to smaller airports is easy for [YVR] to do; and the smaller airports are getting a robust industrial-strength system at a fraction of the cost.

VUKUNET

“We put together a platform that enables advertisers and networks to be able to work together,” says NEC’s Zmuda. The platform is called Vukunet, and it’s a universal ad platform that connects digital out-of-home networks with ad agencies.

The software will run ads on designated screens, doing so without the difficulty that often comes with integrating software together, he adds. “We created a patent-pending technology that kind of lets everything run independently, and what the network owner does is identify the demographics for a particular screen and designate an amount of ad time for it,” explains Zmuda.

“The ad inventory is automatically seen by advertisers that sign up on the platform; and they can go ahead and make an offer to the airport for specific ad time. The system then automatically sends the advertiser’s software to a media player at the airport.

“All the airport has to do is approve the price and the content — the placement doesn’t require an IT specialist to add the content to a playlist … all of that happens automatically in a streamlined fashion.

“At the end of the day, the system uploads back to our servers to inform us an ad was run; we get the verification, bill the ad agency, and pay the network.”

The company is in launching mode currently, relates Zmuda. He says NEC has well over 500 general networks signed up for Vukunet, including a couple airports.

VIDEO WALL SYSTEMS

Planar, a provider of display solutions for the airport industry for more than ten years, offers a seamless video wall solution, the Clarity Matrix LCD Video Wall System, that is becoming prevalent particularly in the airport market, says product manager Dixon.

“What you’ve seen over the past ten years is direct-view LCDs (liquid crystal display) in larger formats becoming very popular for displays being used in airports,” remarks Dixon.

“Panels have become larger and resolutions have increased; the trend that we’ve seen over the past two years is LCDs with narrower bezels [a border around a screen].

“The focus has been, how do we get that frame as small as possible so that an array [of displays] can be tiled in an acceptable and attractive fashion.” In the last year, he adds, LCDs have evolved to have bezels that are smaller than a half inch; the small bezel lends itself for tiling (stacking displays next to and on top of one another).

“With new LCD technology, you get 7.3 mm of total bezel between two panels — we designed this product to be a tileable solution.”

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