Speeding Up Airport Travel
posted on Dec 8, 2015
The role of technology in a flaw free passenger experience
Adarsh Nair, NEC EMEA, Business Development Manager, Displays.
Whether refreshing an airport or building from scratch, the priority in ensuring the best possible passenger experience in airports is focused on speed. The movement of people throughout the building, no matter what passengers are doing, should be fast. Today, airports are making great strides in reconsidering how technology is used in order to meet this objective.
Speed means profitability
Speeding up travel ultimately creates profitability for the airport. Good passenger flow means more time spent in areas where passengers are encouraged to make purchases. A relaxed passenger is one that is more likely to shop and buy food and drinks.
Once passengers are through check-in and security, time can be spent in the retail and lounge areas where the majority of purchases will be made before proceeding to the gate. Investments in technology should be before, during and after that key part of the airport experience, maximising the time that can be spent in the retail area by ensuring smooth processes throughout.
This is achieved by ensuring information is easily accessible. That information could be directing passengers, ‘way-finding’ to the right place, or providing up to date information about a flight. Some crucial examples include; the first minutes of arrival at the airport building, seeking information on check-in desk location or departure gate, security regulations, or time spent checking flight updates whilst in the retail or lounge areas. These scenarios are where passengers can spend a lot of time, which is probably more time than they would prefer, and ultimately the airport would prefer them to have relaxing and ‘spending’ time. After all, they will otherwise be in a retail experience. From the passenger’s perspective, being confused or unsure of where to go can be frustrating. Instantly available and clear information is key to avoiding that.
Technology investments are made to improve airport experience, speeding up processes throughout, but for the airport to achieve profitability through this investment it must also deliver a good total cost of ownership over its lifetime. That means factoring in installation costs, the lifetime of the product and its ability to retain its key features, and ongoing maintenance costs. For display products, investments need to deliver a good total cost of ownership for five years and possibly beyond.
Therefore the airport needs to consider not only an accurate calculation of those costs, but also what specific features of the product need to work in the long term. Displays installed at check-in desks are a great example of the need for this: many airports today have small displays at check-in desks, but information is not clear because of glare and low display brightness, the passenger can only see light reflecting and no information. Glare on a display can mean that the passenger has to get up close to see if the flight information is relevant to them, creating crowds of people and time lost trying to find the relevant screen. That is just one way that technology can age, and that the return on investment can be impacted by the long-term effectiveness of the product.
There is of course a wide array of technology in airports, but in terms of speeding up the passenger experience, digital displays are crucial. Displays that achieve a good total cost of ownership is clearly important, but in terms of technology trends, what else is important? Right now, we are seeing airports invest in larger and larger displays: bigger is better. More information can be shared at once, with more people, and in a bigger form. Instead of offering information on 20 flights, airports can show details for 40. That’s double the number of people receiving information within seconds of looking at a screen. A larger display in the lounge area means less people standing up to see a display, or gathering around right next to it causing a pinch point. New 4K UHD displays and LCD video walls stand up to this challenge too, as the screens get larger the image quality remains high, as is the possibility to show more information.
Whether the airport is undergoing a refresh, or it’s a brand new build, the flow of passengers is crucial and display plays a central role in achieving that. The future of airport technology is in helping to create an environment where passengers are well informed and easily guided through the experience as quickly as possible.
About NEC Display Solutions Europe
For over 20 years, NEC has been delivering digital display innovation, quality and reliability to the aviation industry. Whether for check-in, way-finding, departure or arrival boards and retail signage, NEC has a proven track record of supplying the busiest airports in the world with displays that perform consistently in the most demanding environments.
Designed for long-term operation, the NEC displays and projectors incorporate innovative designs, high-quality panels and components, and go through demanding quality assurance levels. Our display solutions can be found in nearly 200 international airport installations worldwide.
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