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Three ways digital signage can create more immersive guest experiences for transportation hubs


Pierre Gillet, vice president, international sales, BrightSign

Digital signage has become an integral part of the modern transportation experience, revolutionising the way passengers navigate and interact with transit hubs. As cities across the world embrace technology, transportation authorities are also recognising its power to enhance passenger experiences and streamline operations through digital signage. From delivering real-time information to passengers to providing more creative wayfinding and building a platform for retailers to share captivating brand experiences, digital signage is transforming transportation hubs into immersive, connected spaces. The impact of technology will continue to drive significant change and how we see digital signage utilised in these spaces will evolve in new, exciting ways. I see this happening in three key areas.  

Leading the Smart City transition by giving passengers real-time transportation updates

In the European Union, the integration of digital services has already led to an 85% reduction in operating costs for public transportation systems. This remarkable achievement highlights the potential for data-driven operations to enhance efficiency and sustainability. However, realising these benefits requires more than just back-end technology, it also necessitates seamless communication with passengers through user-friendly interfaces.

Digital signage plays a crucial role in bridging this gap by providing real-time updates to travellers. Whether it’s up-to-the-minute arrival and departure times, service advisories or route changes, digital displays can deliver this information in a clear, visually appealing format. Not only does this enhance the passenger experience, it also contributes to the overall efficiency of the transportation system by minimising confusion and reducing the need for manual interventions. 

Additionally, real-time updates can be tailored to specific locations within the transportation hub, ensuring that passengers receive relevant information wherever they are and whenever they need it. For instance, digital signage at boarding gates can display accurate flight information while displays in concourses can highlight connections and transfer options.

Both customers and staff are already benefitting from the use of this technology and I expect to see continuing growth in its integration into the infrastructure of transportation hubs worldwide over the coming years. 

A more creative approach to wayfinding 

Navigating large, complex transportation hubs can be a daunting task, especially for first-time visitors or those with accessibility needs. Well-designed wayfinding systems are essential for ensuring a smooth and stress-free journey. 

Digital signage technology offers a unique opportunity to elevate traditional wayfinding methods by incorporating interactive elements, dynamic maps and creative visual cues.

Research from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airport Council International (ACI) demonstrates the positive impact of digital wayfinding from airports such as Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Using this technology has led the airport to significantly higher passenger satisfaction. 

However, transport hubs can go further. Helping people navigate complex and sometimes daunting spaces in a more accessible way by bringing spaces to life, making them exciting and entertaining, not just functional. 

Digital signage can also be used to showcase local culture, artwork or relevant information about the destination. Travellers can be transported to their destination through the use of digital signage before they have even stepped foot on a train or plane or catch a glimpse of what awaits them before they leave the doors of the building.  

One good example of this could be found in Dubai Airport from December 2023 to March 2024 to welcome those attending COP28. Renowned artist Refik Anadol was commissioned to create an innovative piece titled “Data Portal: Nature” for the airport. It was a collaboration showcasing art, technology and environmental sustainability. The immersive digital exhibit, displayed on huge screens, celebrates nature’s beauty through AI-generated visuals inspired by over 400 million images of nature. By inviting travellers to pause and appreciate this thought-provoking piece, Dubai Airport transformed the passenger journey for those arriving for the sustainability conference into a culturally enriching experience and created a meaningful moment that elevated the overall travel experience. 

Taking the opportunity to captivate consumers with dynamic brand content

Transportation hubs offer a captive audience for brands seeking to engage with consumers. Digital signage provides an ideal canvas for delivering dynamic, targeted content that can captivate and influence purchasing decisions. According to industry projections, global digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising revenue is expected to increase by more than 40% by 2027 underscoring the growing importance being placed on this medium. 

Digital signage powered by flexible media players allows brands to control and update their content in real time from virtually anywhere. This capability enables them to respond quickly to changing market conditions, adapt messaging based on location or time of day and even incorporate interactive elements that encourage consumer engagement. A growing area of our industry looks to engage consumers in immersive experiences that go beyond traditional advertising. 

The power of digital signage opens the door for multi-display synchronisation where coordinated visuals span across multiple screens enveloping viewers in panoramic scenes. Imagine walking through a concourse and being enveloped by a seamless curved display showcasing a brand’s latest product in a photorealistic 3D environment. Interactive touch screens could allow travellers to virtually customise the product and explore its features. This technique could recreate breathtaking natural landscapes, famous cityscapes, or even imaginary worlds that align with a brand’s identity and messaging.

Beyond visuals, these immersive brand experiences can incorporate other elements like sound, scent and even tactile feedback to heighten the sense of immersion further. As technology continues to advance, the possibilities for immersive digital signage experiences in airports will continue to expand, limited only by the creativity and imagination of the brands harnessing the potential of this medium of communication. 

Digital signage can also be leveraged for sponsored content or branded entertainment experiences. These creative installations not only capture attention but also foster positive brand associations and memorable interactions with consumers.

As the transportation industry continues to evolve, digital signage will play an increasingly pivotal role in shaping the passenger experience. By providing real-time updates, enabling creative wayfinding and offering dynamic brand experiences, digital signage has the power to transform transportation hubs into truly immersive and connected spaces. As cities strive to become smarter and more sustainable, embracing the potential of digital signage will be instrumental in delivering a seamless, engaging and efficient transportation experience for all.

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