NEC Display Solutions Client Installation LCD Public Displays

VIENNA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

INVESTMENT IN THE FUTURE

Flughafen Wien AG does not make compromises when it comes to choosing suitable digital signage display solutions. The company has therefore placed its trust in high-quality LC public displays from NEC Display Solutions’ MultiSync® P series for the new Airport TV and for the visitor guidance and management information systems

Vienna Airport is one of the main hubs connecting all parts of Central and Eastern Europe and is one of the few European airports to be listed on the stock exchange. As developer, installer and at the same time turnkey operator, Flughafen Wien AG controls all of the airport’s operational business, ground handling and security services, infrastructure facilities and all commercial activities. In 2009, Vienna Airport was the starting or finishing point for the journeys of around 18.1 million passengers, and thanks to sustained positive demand, the signs continue to point to above-average growth.

The IT infrastructure of an airport of this size forms the heart of its day-to-day operations and must therefore guarantee that flight and passenger handling run smoothly. The use of large-format monitors provides fast, specifically targeted arrival and departure time information to passengers, as well as relevant information on all aspects of their journeys. In addition, passengers are fed with valuable service information or are able to while away their waiting time with various entertainment offerings. Vienna Airport has been using public displays since 2004. The around 500 units which are currently in operation are installed predominantly as visitor guidance systems or as information screens at check-in and boarding.

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The information facilities were scheduled for expansion in 2010: “The start of the football World Cup in South Africa was also the starting signal for our new Airport TV, which we now broadcast around the clock”, explains Dr. Andreas Singer, Information Systems Manager at Flughafen Wien AG. “This new service offering means even more information and entertainment for our passengers than before, and enables us to address customerseffectively and specifically with audiovisual messages.” For this purpose, it was necessary to find the right display solution.

PRICE / PERFORMANCE RATIO THE DECIDING FACTOR

Airport companies have very extensive requirements when it comes to their displays. Decisive criteria include extremely high picture quality with the appropriate colour reproduction and brightness. It must be possible to integrate the units into the network with a variety of connectors, and also control and monitor them easily via the network. A high level of robustness and reliability are also required, as the units are in operation 24/7 and must be quickly ready for use once more after unplanned incidents. In busy locations, the design also plays a major part.

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Experience with displays from NEC Display Solutions, which for many years have formed a large part of the IT equipment as far as Vienna Airport’s monitors are concerned, has up to now been very good. “Whether it has been desktop displays, which we use among other things as part of a mobile PC workstation in our service and handling vehicles, or LC public displays for guidance systems and information screens - the solutions in the past have always stood the test of time”, says Dr. Andreas Singer.

Requests to tender for the new Airport TV displays were issued at the beginning of 2010. The fivemonth selection period included a four-week quality test in the laboratory. Tests were carried out in accordance with a catalogue of criteria which had been specially developed for Vienna Airport’s requirements. This included checking of the picture quality and colour authenticity so that all the logos of the airlines and partner companies could be displayed correctly at a later date. The models also had to be capable of recalibration and, of course, have an impressive price/performance ratio. The high-quality 46-inch public displays of the NEC MultiSync® P46 model won the day. As well as their excellent picture quality based on high-performance S-PVA heavy duty panels, an outstanding brightness of 700 cd/m² and the required full HD resolution, these models also impress with their economy and energy efficiency. For example, with the Ambient Light Sensor, they have a function for automatically adjusting the picture brightness to suit the ambient lighting conditions - a decisive factor for a perfect picture at all times with a low energy requirement, particularly in the sometimes brightly-lit airportbuildings. “The features of the models are even more extensive than we need at the present time. For example, the picture-in-picture function fed from different signal sources or the option slot for expansion modules”, enthuses Dr. Singer. “However, we see this as an investment in the future, and have deliberately decided on these products to enable us to respond flexibly to all upcoming requirements and formats”, he explains.

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A total of 15 NEC MultiSync® P461s were delivered punctually for the start of the World Cup by NEC’s distribution partner Omega Handelsgesellschaft mbH in Vienna and installed in selected waiting and restaurant zones. As a result, passengers did not miss a single World Cup game while waiting for their flight. Today’s Airport TV includes news, which is transmitted directly by the Austrian news agency APA, information and offers from the shops and restaurants in the airport, the latest weather, and regional information on Lower Austria. This service can of course be expanded at any time - the technical basis for this has already been established. Up to now, the displays have been controlled by means of the serial interface. Thanks to the additional LAN interface fitted to all displays, there is no barrier to the future requirement of controlling the units via the network.

EXTREME DEMANDS ON PASSENGER GUIDANCE SYSTEMS
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As well as the purchase of new LC public displays for the Airport TV, Flughafen Wien AG had to cope with two further IT projects in 2010, where once again the decision was made in favour of the models of the NEC MultiSync® P series. These involved the replacement of a total of 30 older public displays which were used as guidance systems and gave the passengers the latest arrival and departure times, and a smaller pilot project with management information systems.

Passenger guidance systems in particular are becoming increasingly digitalised, as the conventional split-flap displays, also referredto as flap display boards, are very expensive by comparison. However, in this field, monitors are extremely highly stressed, as the image content is static by nature. With some display technologies, in the long term this can lead to memory effects in the panel, after which the picture quality is always impaired. This is where the advantages of LCD technology come to the fore, and Flughafen Wien AG opted for high-performance LC public displays from NEC Display Solutions. However, the 40-inch units of the NEC MultiSync® P401 model offer several other advantages. Its decisively low weight simplifies installation, as in some cases they have been mounted with ceiling brackets from 6-7-metre high false ceilings. In addition, they are extremely reliable and require little maintenance. This saves valuable working time, as Vienna Airport’s IT Department can only work in this area at night due to the crowds of people during the day.

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PLANNING THE FUTURE ON TOUCH SOLUTIONS

As with the Airport TV, NEC MultiSync® P461 LC displays are also used for the management information systems. However, these five prototypes have one decisive difference: they are equipped with a touch function and give the managers of Flughafen Wien AG a better visualisation of their graphics and overviews for meetings and presentations.

With these planning options, there are virtually no barriers to Vienna Airport’s further growth. When it comes to monitor solutions, Dr. Singer can be sure of a competent partner with whom it has been possible to implement every project so far: “Quality and reliability are what we expect from NEC, and up to now we have always got it - both in terms of products and at company level.”

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