As digital signage becomes cheaper as the technology advances, airports have a real opportunity to make an impact statement with dynamic visual communcations systems. A digital display strategy has become a key part of the customer service imperative airports face today.
With the use of large format display technology, digital signage can be an important solution for airports with regard to keeping travelers well-informed and entertained while also promoting its own services, and those of its tenants and local stakeholders.
Says Barbie Peek, Huntsville International Airport director of marketing, “We want to stay on the cutting-edge of technology and provide the best customer service experience for everyone.”
To that end, the airport has recently expanded its LCD video wall technology as a part of its capital improvement program. The ‘jumbotrons’ display everything from flight information and local cable television to advertisements.
“Going digital enables the airport to be much more flexible with its display offerings … you can change things fast and in a more efficent way,” explains Peek.
“New applications for display technology are being developed all the time, and the need to keep the traveling public informed and provide up-to-the-second information is key,” says Daktronics aviation and parking market manager, Todd Lambert.
“Dynamic display technology is giving ultimate flexibility in message and branding control to airports; and technology is advancing to the point where it is becoming cheaper to implement large format display solutions.”
Serving the Customer
“There has been an increased emphasis by airports in communicating with passengers in a customer service context,” relates Planar’s John Dixon. Planar Systems, Inc. is providing the Huntsville Airport with the company’s Clarity Matrix LCD Video Wall System.
Comments Dixon, “Multi-user functionality has become critical. The ability to send many different types of messages by way of one display screen or system of screens is a great display solution.
“Customers expect to see local and weather information alongside FIDS; there is also the advertising function, and that of entertainment, and keeping the customers interested and engaged.”
Dixon says in the past, airlines were directly involved in the purchasing of display equipment. “Now, you are seeing a full press by the airport to interact and engage with their customers throughout the entire facility,” he adds.
Peek, who has been with the airport for more than 22 years, remarks, “Culturally, we are all driven by technology, whether it’s a mobile device or laptop computer.
“Our objective in adding these display systems helps answer questions like: Are we reaching out and serving our customers and consumers in the best way possible? Are we delivering the best information to the right place in the quickest and most efficient way possible? Those are vital ingredients in communicating with and serving our customers.”
Peek relates that Huntsville is home to the cutting-edge of aerospace and defense technology. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center is located here, along with aerospace companies like Redstone Arsenal. “Those types of things are happening all around Huntsville,” she adds.
“As the airport, we are the front door for our community; we also want to be on the cutting-edge in terms of technology. Our passengers expect that.”
The Huntsville Solution
Peek refers to the large format signage systems at the airport as ‘jumbotrons.’ The first jumbotron was installed in the public waiting area and has the capability of playing just about any type of digital media as well as local cable television. On either side of the main screen, the jumbotron is anchored by FIDS monitors.
“It is really targeted at airport use; there is no advertising, but we do use it to promote various services,” explains Peek.