NEC Display Solutions has launched the world’s first mobile display unit (MDU) at Passenger Terminal Expo 2015 in conjunction with Heathrow Airport and Parity Aviation.
The unit was designed over an 18-month period specifically for Heathrow Airport to help it better inform its customers during times of disruption. The battery powered unit measures 3m in height when fully deployed and is easy to move to any location within the airport terminal.
“The MDU is completely wireless so Heathrow operational staff can send flight information or disruption reports directly to each unit from a mobile location,” explained Mike Drew, passenger experience manager at Parity Aviation. “We have created an android based app that allows the operator to control the device so they can mobilize and deploy the MDU or authorize any maintenance work. We have also developed a content management system (CMS) with Heathrow so that the airport can pin point the exact location of the MDUs, see the battery charge status, whether the screen is deployed, the temperature, and they can deploy centrally through the push of a button. Heathrow have purchased 14 MDUs that will be deployed at the end of April.”
Commenting on the new unit, Heathrow CIO Neil Clark said, “The MDU brings together technology and innovation to deliver real business value and improve the passenger experience. It can make a significant difference to our service during normal and contingency operations and is another step towards delivering state of the art technology across our airport.”
Richard Wilks, airport business development at NEC Display Solutions, added, “This is the first launch of the MDU at Passenger Terminal Expo – it is truly a world first. The feedback has been great, there is an obvious business need for this product so everyone who has visited the stand is interested and understands the need for the unit.”
The company is also showcasing its new 2mm LED screen at the Expo, which provides airports with improved screen quality for flight information and advertising purposes. “We are trying to get people to think differently about how to display information in the airport and our new LED screen allows airports to drive non-aeronautical messages and important information in a more effective way,” explained Wilks. The screen is completely bezel-less and is brighter so can be used both indoors and outside.
Also on show at the three-day event in Paris, France is the new 90in and 84in LCD screens as well as the company’s sky tower and its facial recognition technology. “NEC is one of the technology drivers for facial recognition, and our software engine for facial recognition is recognised by the US government as being the most accurate,” continued Wilks. “We are using that same camera technology that we use for security to drive advertising, so when a passenger approaches a screen it will pick up the viewer’s age and gender and tailor the advertising on the screen to suit that particular viewer. We don’t capture the image, just the data, which can be used with the media advertising client to tailor the advertising according to the demographic information being captured. We’re also using the software for queue management and we see it as an ideal as part of the passenger tracking/engagement ideology. We see this working along with technologies such as NFC and linked with beacon technology.”