New Video Walls Extend Airport's High Tech Footprint
Huntsville, Ala. is a center of engineering and technology development for the U.S. missile defense and space exploration industries. So, it’s easy to understand why Huntsville International Airport, which calls itself the “front door” to the community, would want the most cutting-edge technology to greet and inform the more than one million passengers who use the airport each year. That’s exactly what the two Planar Systems LCD video walls in a new baggage claim area provide the airport, which is undergoing $92 million of capital improvements.
Stunning visual platform
The Clarity™ Matrix LCD Video Wall System provides a stunning visual welcome to arriving passengers. The video walls display real-time flight arrival and departure information and showcase the activities and events taking place in the community. Huntsville Airport made its first commitment to Planar almost two years ago with the selection of a Clarity Matrix video wall in one of the facility’s public waiting areas. Based on the success of that project, airport officials decided in mid-2010 to outfit the new baggage area with Clarity Matrix video walls. The Port of Huntsville’s information systems organization and the Birmingham, Ala. office of video systems integrator Technical Innovation jointly handled the installation in May 2011. “We were so pleased with the performance of the first Planar video wall and the high-tech look it gave the public waiting area,” says Barbie Peek, the airport’s director of marketing. “We wanted to achieve that same result in the new baggage claim area.”
Information, entertainment and revenue generation
Both Clarity Matrix video walls are installed in a soffit approximately 25 feet above the floor. One is a seven-wide-by-three-high (7x3) configuration displaying incoming and outgoing flight status. A section of what Peek calls the “community wall” displays content welcomingconvention groups and highlighting community events. The space is also used to showcase services and activities within the airport itself. Some of this content comes from local tourism bureaus, and is fed to the video wall via a PC connection. “Clarity Matrix gives us great flexibility in placing content, moving elements of it around, and changing it quickly when we need to,” Peeks says, “That’s a big plus for the airport and our tourism partners, too.”
The second Clarity Matrix video wall, a five-wide-by-five-high (5x5) configuration, is used strictly for advertising, which a third-party media and entertainment company manages. “They derive revenue from the sale of products and services, so the high-definition image quality that Clarity Matrix provides is critical,” Peek adds.
Technology innovations produce bottom-line benefits
No large format video wall technology could meet the needs of the baggage claim area application better than Clarity Matrix, according to Tom Perry, information systems manager for the Port of Huntsville, the airport’s operator, and Will Pierce, lead technician with Technical Innovation. They both consider product quality to be one of the key differentiators of Clarity Matrix. “With the quality Planar has built into Clarity Matrix, we see no reason these video walls won’t perform at top-notch levels for as long as 10 years,” Perry says.
The video walls’ resolution and brightness factored heavily in favor of Clarity Matrix as well. Community and tourism information and advertising needed to be legible and crisp as much as 75 feet away, up close and from almost any angle. Perry says the system delivers, with total clarity and virtually no pixilation regardless of viewing distance or angle.
Clarity Matrix’s ease of installation and serviceability drew high marks, too. The new Huntsville walls include Planar’s EasyAxis™ Mounting System, an innovation that simplifies the installation and alignment of each display in the video wall. “The EasyAxis Mounting System is important because it saves our crews so much installation time. And when a panel has to be serviced or replaced, access is really quick and simple,” Pierce says.
Lastly, both Perry and Pierce favor the off-board electronics of Clarity Matrix. The remotely-located electronics rack, which includes power supplies and controllers, keeps heat produced by these components away from the displays. This helps preserve the life of the system. As an added benefit, the electronics rack can be placed in a convenient location, making it easy to monitor the status of the video wall, reconfigure content and complete other operational modifications. “Being able to do this at ground level rather than on the video wall 30 feet in the air,” Perry adds, “is so much more efficient, productive and safe.”