Digital displays are found almost everywhere these days, and whether they are providing information, advertisements or entertainment, they generally require constant monitoring to ensure reliable operation and manage content, which can include real-time data. In the transportation industry, where an airport may deploy hundreds of screens across miles of real estate, the latest easy-to-use content management systems (CMSs) are making it possible to centrally control content, power and emergency broadcast capabilities for virtually every type and size of digital screen from flight information displays and overhead banners to direct-view LED video walls and menu boards.
For airports, these advanced solutions can simplify the technology design of new terminals, reduce the labor burden on IT staff, enable instant network-wide updates across multiple digital screens and, depending on the system design, even reduce components and energy use.
The Power of Total Control
A digital signage network is only as good as the content it presents. Even though modern digital displays have evolved to support a multitude of functions, many users and operators are still stuck using antiquated content delivery methods such as manually loading content items onto each display via USB sticks. In fast-paced, captive-audience environments like airports, the advantages of CMS solutions, such as LG webOS, can deliver massive benefits for both internal operations and customer experiences.
Some leading display manufacturers are now integrating system-on-a-chip hardware across their entire product catalogs, empowering users to install easy-to-use CMS solutions and combine virtually any size or type of display on a single content network. Since airports often utilize a wide variety of display types for different needs and locations, the benefits of these new displays that all work together can be significant.
With the right content management system, IT staff can update hundreds of displays all at once, schedule different content for different displays and immediately broadcast prepared emergency messages for incidents such as evacuations, weather events or other active dangers. They can also make updates to wayfinding directions based on real-time information and present various interactive or experiential content based on time of day or location.
Equally important, screens can be used for numerous purposes, such as an overhead banner showing a terminal name when it’s open and animated videos when it’s closed. This allows the facility to put the right message at the right place and the right time without restrictions or obstructions.
Better Content Boosts Guest Experiences
One of the most popular modern discussions in the airport industry in the post-pandemic world is about delivering positive experiences that drive repeat visits and word-of-mouth promotion. This can mean different things for different locations, such as content to keep families entertained while waiting in a security line, advertisements for restaurants or local services along hallways, and important info about maintenance, closures, terminal changes and more.
For airports, especially ones where contracts require investment in local art and culture, cutting-edge installations featuring fine-pitch DVLED or Micro LED, interactivity and unique shapes can also enhance visitor experiences. Those that can be integrated with the CMS then become additional controllable surfaces, extending communication options even further.
Some locations are also expanding their multilingual signage capabilities, which is much easier to attain with digital signage than printed signage. Staff can choose which language to display on each screen, making it easy to welcome travelers from international flights no matter what gate or terminal they arrive in. This is also vital for FIDs or flight information displays, which can rotate between languages, as well as touchscreen signage displays.
Depending on the CMS system and display capabilities, operators may also be able to see a full overview of network activity including which displays are on and off, and even enable the IT staff to turn displays on and off remotely. This info and ability to act quickly helps eliminate the issue of inoperative displays that can detract from customer experiences and make an area seem unfinished or under-maintained.
The Right CMS Saves Time, Energy and Money
Every institution today needs to be aware of its energy usage, material waste and overall sustainability for reasons that include budget, public perception and even adherence to new regulations. Display manufacturers have already dramatically reduced power consumption compared to a decade ago, but there are always more ways to increase efficiency.
Digital signage displays that use system-on-a-chip designs, for instance, can eliminate the need for external media player boxes that require their own power supply and typically end their lifecycle as e-waste. Since this design change can simplify installation for workers and remove the need for dozens or even hundreds of devices, both the energy and financial savings can be significant.
The advancements made in the latest digital displays are changing how operators deliver content to visitors as they explore airports and embark on a uniquely complex customer journey. Centralized content distribution, instant emergency communications and greater multilingual flexibility all serve to enhance customer experiences while reducing costs and complexity. It’s more important than ever before to research and choose the right displays to ensure the entire digital signage network is reliable, flexible, easy-to-use and delivers all the functions to improve experiences for both operators and customers.
Dan Verbsky is the Key Account Manager for transportation at LG Business Solutions USA, an innovator in digital display technologies for the transportation industry. Verbsky helps airports navigate the complexities of the industry that can be addressed by specialized digital displays that are optimized to perform specific tasks, including the delivery of information, entertainment, and operational efficiencies.