NEC Display Solutions Client Installation Transport and Digital out of Home
THE AUSTRIAN FEDERAL RAILWAY SERVICE
CREATING OUT-OF-HOME ADVERTISING NETWORKS USING MEDIAWALLS
Austria’s busiest railway stations see thousands of passengers passing through daily. An attractive potential advertising opportunity, The Austrian Federal Railway Service invited The Digital Display Media Group GmbH to create Austria’s largest out-of-home advertising network using NEC ultra-narrow video wall displays.
Vienna’s West railway station is the central hub for 45,000 people daily. In record time, the new “Railway City” has established itself as a logistical focal point with its modern shopping centre and catering outlets. The station is also the gateway to the Mariahilferstrasse, the main shopping street in Austria. All these aspects make this important transport hub the ideal location for outdoor advertising.
The Austrian Federal Railway Service (the ÖBB) was also aware of this fact when it advertised for bids for renting this attractive advertising space at the beginning of the year. Included in the package were the stations in Innsbruck, St. Pölten, Salzburg, Linz and Graz, and the new main railway station in Vienna – also locations that are visited in extremely large numbers. The Digital Display Media Group GmbH was awarded the contract. The core business of this Viennese company is the digitalisation of outdoor advertising space and the building of digital advertising networks in heavily frequented places in Austria. This also includes the management and marketing of advertising space.
Right from the start it was clear to the decision-makers involved that only an extremely robust display solution which was suitable for continuous operation can be used in the six stations. After all, the screens must be in operation for up to 18 hours a day without any shortcomings in the service provided.
The NEC Solution
The employees of the out-of-home provider felt in good hands with NEC Display Solutions. “Where quality and competence are concerned, NEC stood out clearly from the competition”, says Franz Bonner, business manager of DDMG. But the broad network of partners also spoke for the company, in contrast to other providers, NEC relies upon the expertise of third party companies for services relating to the implementation. In the case of the station advertising, for example, the business manager of Panatronic, Michael Müller, who is an experienced specialist in the area of audiovisual presentation, was also on board. The work of this Viennese company involved both the installation of individual panels and the setting up of connections to the digital signage software.
A special challenge here concerned the HD content display of the MediaWalls. “We wanted to provide a high-resolution digital advertising medium to both the advertising company and the media agencies making the booking” is how Bonner describes the requirements which appeared to be relatively difficult to achieve from a technical perspective. Finally it was decided to build a stable back-end solution in which up to 16 panels could be continuously operated at full load by a single computer. In this way, a MediaWall can provide an image up 10 square metres in size. In order to meet DDMG’s expectations, a powerful workstation with tested multiple graphics cards is used with each MediaWall as a feeding device. This makes it possible to provide each single display with the native resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. With each of the six Walls, a resolution is thus actually achieved, which exceeds the classic Full HD Format. Together with its very experienced partner, Panatronic, NEC thus implemented a solution which surpasses the boundaries of what is currently technically possible.
The installation locations, which were sometimes several metres high, presented a further challenge. Panatronic was also able to overcome this obstacle without problems and without the operations in the halls of the railway stations having to suffer as a result. In Vienna in particular, the Panatronic experts displayed their full competence. The West station now houses the largest installation set up by DDMG and two huge Walls, each comprising 4 x 4 46-inch displays, providing media coverage. The NEC MultiSync® X462UN model is used at the West Station as well as in Innsbruck, St. Pölten, Salzburg, Linz and Graz.
It has especially proved itself with signage applications for retail outlets and even in control centres. With its ultra-narrow frames, the video wall element of the professional class reduces the distance between the end of a display image and the start of the subsequent display image to only 7.3 mm in total. Consequently, very impressive video wall displays can be designed with the product. NEC developed it specifically for situations in which significant brightness and a high loading capacity are required. At each of the locations in Linz, Graz, St. Pölten and Innsbruck, 3 x 3 panels are in use. At the station in Klagenfurt, 2 x 2 panels ensure that information such as advertising is seen to its best advantage. The contents presented always run in full-screen mode and are recorded and remotely monitored by digital signage software.
In order to market its MediaWalls, DDMG concluded distribution partnerships with Goldbach Austria, GroupM, the ÖBB advertising centre and ADMG, thus creating Austria’s largest digital MediaWall advertising network. Already in the now completed first phase a daily rate of 212,000 contacts was reached. Following the next two planned stages, this rate should have tripled by 2014. When the two construction projects at the main stations in Vienna and Salzburg have been completed in a few years’ time, DDMG, with the help of NEC Displays, will have reached several hundred thousand more contacts per day. Bonner summarises the experiences as follows: “For appealing outdoor advertising we not only need outstanding picture quality but also a level of performance which makes a long-lasting impression. In both respects we have found the right partner in NEC.”