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Digital signage lights up Luton airport's new look

Digital signage and video wall deployment is playing a central part of the £160 million transformation and extension at London Luton Airport (LLA).

The IT and operations team at the Bedfordshire hub, which is the UK’s fifth largest airport, view the technology as a key way to communicate with customers on both a travel and commercial information level – and they continue to roll it out across its one terminal.

Earlier this month, the airport introduced a video wall consisting of displays from supplier LG Electronics, which is used to showcase the latest brands available within the duty free area.

Meanwhile, over 100 additional screens from LG Electronics are set to be installed in the autumn months, helping the airport display more passenger information across the terminal.

Digital building blocks

At the start of the project, 132 digital signage displays were specified and they are being installed by SPC Group – a company that has been recommending technology, consulting and maintaining displays at Luton airport for several years.

In addition to the multiple wayfinding and travel information digital screens now in place, a video wall has been installed as passengers leave the security area, relaying adverts of airport retailers and further flight information before they enter the shopping space.

There are 10 LG displays positioned along the escalators, providing advertisers with dynamic ways to convey their message to passengers before their flights.

Jon Swain, managing director of SPC Group, comments: “A key part of the transformation is the new retail area, which hosts 30 new shops and restaurants including Ted Baker, Next, Oriel Brasserie and Oliver Bonas.

“LLA’s main focus is to enhance the passenger experience, which they have achieved in the flow of the new retail area.”

He adds: “It’s fantastic to see that the retailers are investing in in-store flight information displays to reassure passengers as they shop."

Partner and internal digital expertise

Cloud-based software from Signage Live supports the advert displays on the digital screens, but the airport’s internal IT department have developed the software for flight information displays.

A technical glitch at Gatwick Airport earlier this year, which resulted in flight information screens crashing, brought to light the importance of reliable signage in the airport environment. Staff at the Sussex hub ended up having to write flight times on whiteboards and take a very personal approach to customer service when the problems hit during peak August travel period.

The issue was blamed on damage caused to a fibre optic cable at the airport.

Acknowledging the need for robust technology at Luton, the airport’s head of IT Kamal Patel notes: “Our displays have to perform 24/7 and must be highly reliable over their expected lifespan.

“A rapid and efficient repair or replacement process is also critical alongside a good warranty from the manufacturer, should there be any faults. We have been impressed by the current generation of LG displays and hope to see many years of excellent performance from these units.”

There is ongoing development at Luton airport, and in 2021 a rail transit system will link the airport with Luton Airport Parkway station, replacing a shuttle bus. This is expected to help reduce the journey time between central London and the airport to 30 minutes.

From a retail perspective, the transformation at Luton airport to date has seen several new businesses arrive at the site. It has doubled its retail and dining space during this period of change, with 30 new stores arriving at its terminal, including the recent openings of Chanel and Hugo Boss.