Port Columbus International Airport

With its 40" NEC LCD4000 display, NEC has helped PCIA—the 45th busiest airport in the U.S.—overcome obstacles in its baggage claim area, while contributing to a new form of revenue generation.

Whether a passenger has just gotten off a plane and is waiting for their luggage or a person is picking someone up from a flight, the experience of waiting in a baggage claim area can sometimes be exasperating. People are rushing to baggage carousels or outside to waiting taxis. Large carts, overflowing with luggage, are being pulled through moving crowds. Buzzers are sounding off loudly, warning people of moving carousels. With all of this chaos, it can be difficult for people to access vital information about their baggage or an incoming flight. Those who need information on transportation or a room for the night also can find this to be an arduous task.

With its 40" NEC LCD4000 display, NEC Display Solutions* has helped Port Columbus International Airport (PCIA), the 45th busiest airport in the U.S., overcome obstacles such as these, while contributing to a new form of revenue generation.

PCIA’s baggage claim area had been equipped with 25" CRT monitors for eight years, and their performance was beginning to become an issue with not only the airport’s management but visitors as well. “The old CRTs were difficult to read with the font size restrictions, screen glare and the inevitable burn-in,” said Jim Bodi, PCIA’s information technology manager. “Reading the CRTs was very cumbersome, and there always seemed to be a bottleneck of people trying to read the screens at a fairly close viewing range. CRTs also did not provide much design flexibility due to their overall size and weight.”

In late 2002, PCIA requested a proposal for a display and software solution from Com-Net Software Specialists, a FIDs software company located in Miamisburg, Ohio. The proposed solution included competing large-format LCD displays, which would be installed in the airport’s baggage claim area and a tiled marquee in the main lobby.

A few months later, prior to the installation of these displays, NEC Display Solutions and Com-Net formed a partnership, resulting in an alteration to PCIA’s solution. For the displays in the baggage claim area, the 40" NEC LCD4000 would be used. “NEC’s price and reputation were far better than competing LCD brands,” said Montee Fiely, Com-Net’s director of sales and marketing. “The features offered by NEC LCDs exceeded our needs at the time and gave us numerous options for the future,” added Bodi. The Columbus Regional Airport Authority (CRAA) then contracted a design firm, architect and sign company to manufacture the display bank designs. CRAA ran the fiber infrastructure and purchased and installed the server and all supporting equipment, including switches, routers and firewalls.

In late 2003, 26 LCD4000 displays were installed in the baggage claim area, consisting of two LCDs at the seven bag belts in back-t0-back configurations and four banks of three LCDs each. Two banks at the ticket counter also were outfitted with six LCD4000s in each for FIDs information.

“The LCDs provide a large, glare-free screen to display flight information,” said Bodi. In addition to FIDs, the LCD4000s in the baggage claim area simultaneously display advertising for local hotels, restaurants and car rental companies. These advertisements, which can be static or full-motion, automatically resize depending on the amount of flight information being shown on the display. PCIA’s ad agency sells the spots and creates the content with Com-Net providing the platform for the ads to run. “(PCIA) is the flagship airport for this concept, and it has created a new revenue stream for them,” said Fiely. “With this platform, they will be able to recoup all installation costs within 36 months.

The NEC LCD4000 has provided PCIA with advanced display technology that has enhanced the baggage claim area’s appearance and efficiency, while uncovering new opportunities. “The computer’s interface with the LCDs allows us to display crisp, high-resolution advertising, which cannot be replicated on a CRT,” said Bodi.

Over the next few years, PCIA plans to further augment its FIDs with NEC LCDs in areas such as concourses, gates and shuttle buses.