Signage is there to make the airport experience better for travelers. And some do it better than the others. We’ve made this list to honor the airports that do digital signage right.
Why does it matter? Because in the 21st century there’s no excuse not to use the latest technologies to make people’s journeys better and stress-free. Airport signage is the answer. The screens provide a perfect solution for the often crowded and complex airport buildings. Done properly they can easily direct, inform, educate, entertain, promote and ultimately make the users love your airport.
The more we look the more we see the airports worldwide are implementing the digital signage solutions making their spaces much more effective. And it warms our tech-obsessed hearts.
As we think that it’s important to know your industry’s best of the best we’ve compiled this list of 10 airports that amaze with their digital signage. Let’s fly right to it.
Why is airport digital signage a good idea?
Airports are busy. Thousands of people pass through their numerous halls daily. For both the airport as an organization, the businesses that physically operate inside and advertisers it means a myriad of opportunities to engage with the potential customers. And there’s currently a no better way to do that than using airport digital signage, a network of screens that gives all the players a few aces up their content marketing sleeves.
Whether it’s the wayfinding that facilitates the A to B journey, an advertising campaign, a digital menu board in the cafeteria or a variety of advertising screens, the display technology does its job very well in making the most of a dynamic terminal environment. The airports get a smooth visitor experience. The businesses – a powerful marketing tool. So it’s a win-win for everyone involved. The key thing is to use this tool properly according to the needs of the audience. The following airports have mastered this aspect of having digital signage in place.
1. Tokyo Haneda Airport
We all love robots, right? At least as long as they are harmless cute pieces of steel with no intention of destroying human civilization. Thank God, it’s still this way and that means that we can fully enjoy when the airports are combining the robotic technologies with digital signage giving the passengers a surprising wayfinding experience. Imagine hearing such news in the 90s, that would definitely feel like something out of Asimov’s books. But here we are in a world where the robots (equipped with the screens) can serve people.
There are different types of robots too. Reborg-X is used for security. OTTO 100 and OTTO 1500 are planned as heavyweight carriers. Relay is a delivery bot. Cinnamon and Robocot are communication robots speaking various languages. KIZUNA is an AI-powered robot you can talk to and ask questions.
It’s not long until someone would write a comic book or shoot a cartoon about their daily life at Haneda Airport. Maybe KIZUNA may do the job herself though.
2. Paris Charles de Gaulle
Airports are one of the busiest places on our planet. Every day millions of travelers land and take off passing through the halls of the airports. That makes these facilities a perfect medium for advertising. Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris surely knows that being the second-busiest airport in Europe and the largest airport in France. And it does advertising right giving a lot of room for the digital signage that graces many areas.
One of the most vivid examples of spectacular signage this year comes from the Louis Vuitton store located in the Terminal 2 AC of Charles de Gaulle. The brand installed a gigantic digital panel basically winning everyone’s attention. Because such a presentation is simply irresistible, a fantastic mix of good taste and the latest technology. And that’s just one way how you can use the benefits of signage at the airport.
3. Istanbul Airport
New Istanbul airport checks many boxes when it comes to the airport records. Inaugurated in 2018, this airport is all about the up-to-date technology. For example, its Duty-Free area is 53,000 square meters which equals the nine football fields pressed together making it officially the largest airport duty-free zone in the world. Absen did a great job with all the things LED. The result is guaranteed to take your breath away whether you’re a digital signage enthusiast, airport aficionado or just a passenger going through the terminal.
The signage in question is the 300 meters-long LED facade that goes through the whole duty-free area as well as the absolute show-stopper, a whopping 120 square meters of ceiling screens. No matter where you look, you will be stunned by the visual technology. And that’s how to make things at the airports of the 21st century when you want to give your visitors an unforgettable experience. Well done, Istanbul Airport, well done, Absen.
4. Prague Airport
The most valuable lesson in using digital signage as a communication tool at the airport comes from no one other than the airport of the fairytale Central European Prague. As a predominantly international space, the airport should cater to the linguistic needs of different nationalities. One way to do it is to follow the rule of English as the universal lingua franca. However, Prague Airport went a bit further, it asked a different question: “What if you communicate with the passengers in their native language?”. And voila, now the facility boasts an innovative digital signage system that caters to the linguistic needs of the passengers depending on their origin flights.
Currently, 6 languages are in operation: Korean, Chinese, Arabic, Russian, Czech and English. While it was implemented as a test, the interest in using digital signage to facilitate airport communication definitely deserves our applause. Because it is both a future-oriented and creative solution that others can learn from.
5. Guangzhou Airport
JCDecaux has no shortage of fantastic digital signage projects. However, with their latest Guangzhou Airport structure, they went above and beyond. Get introduced to the Cultural Sky Plaza, a mind-blowing sci-fi-like technological complex at the heart of the Guangzhou Baiyun Airport T2. The cornerstone of this composition is the fascinating canopy comprised of 850 LED balls that move, change colors creating a spectacular futuristic dance. Also, there are 3 curved digital screens that would cater to every advertising need there is. Overall, the complex is more than just a billboard area, it is a huge communal space existing for the passengers.
Cultural Sky Plaza aside, the whole Guangzhou Baiyun Airport is an example of the airport of the future with virtually every possible digital signage application there can be at a facility like this. So just take a walk there and enjoy the technology implementation as you stroll.
6. Heathrow Airport
What would happen if you combine pop culture and digital signage? London’s Heathrow Airport knows the answer as it’s exactly what they did with their #MayThe4thBeWithYou stunt. At some point, the airport check-in screens started showing the departure time for the… Death Star. For those of you who are not familiar with the Star Wars mythology, Death Star in question is the Empire’s weapon capable of destroying planets in the famous movie franchise. The announcement was followed by the poignant “Allow extra time for boarding… possibly a trap”.
It may be a small thing but it was guaranteed to make any Star Wars fan’s heart melt with nerdiness. And that’s great when one of the world’s busiest airports can do that.
7. Las Vegas McCarran Airport
Security is something that can be drastically improved by technology. Las Vegas McCarran International Airport is at the forefront of this movement. In 2019 the TSA unveiled the Innovation Checkpoint, an interesting case of merging the latest digital signage technologies and the security expertise. What came out of it is a top-notch complex that became the first of its kind in the US bringing innovation to the whole process of security check with the help of screens.
8. Orlando Airport
What’s the first thing you think of when you hear “Orlando, Florida”? Probably, many of you would immediately think of the theme parks and all the entertainment this sunny city can provide (maybe not but we still can’t ignore the fact that the city is the entertainment heavyweight). Its airport is fit for the “the City Beautiful”, here there is even a separate trademarked design concept called “Orlando Experience®”. And that’s something that makes this airport stand out from the rest.
What’s so special? Just come to the check-in area and you’ll see. The gigantic 700-display video wall gives an unparalleled visual impression. Combining everything airport digital signage is loved for, it goes the extra mile creating a truly immersive experience for the passengers.
9. Copenhagen Airport
If you want to see what the airports of the future could look like, land in CPH. The digital signage there is not an additional tool to improve the overall airport experience, it is a full-fledged part of the experience itself. It exists in harmony with everything else creating an ultra-comfortable and hassle-free passenger journey.
As for the particularities, screens are everywhere you look. They show check-in times, they direct you, they run marketing campaigns. One of the most interesting digital signage applications at Copenhagen Airport is undoubtedly the innovative queuing system implemented at the airport security where the screens are used to organize the whole process through showing informational messages and directing the passengers.
10. Douglas Airport
We live in an era when the digital medium is an inseparable part of our lives. That gives birth to a new kind of creative expression, a digital art. One of the well-known representatives of this movement is Refik Anadol, a visionary at the intersection of those two mediums.
Douglas Airport understands the culture of now. That’s how the idea of the collaboration between Refik Anadol and the airport emerged. Digital signage became a tool of expression. Three NanoLumens displays were chosen as a canvas for the “data sculptures”, the innovative way to present the data patterns running through the airport in the form of digital art. Impressive? Cutting-edge impressive we would say.