NEC launches the LED display systems in airports

Swedavia, the company that owns Sweden’s 10 major airports, commissioned NEC to provide giant LED screens in the check-in and baggage reclaim areas, so it could provide passengers with travel information and updates, advertising, promotions and other content. At 44 and 15 square metres respectively, these wall-sized screens provide attention-grabbing, ultra-bright visuals, keeping passengers informed and updated while also providing major new revenue and advertising opportunities.

Swedavia had specific requirements for the project, of which the most important was that the entire screens – not only the individual modules – should meet EMC Class B so that they did not cause any interference with other communications systems and devices in the terminal, or elsewhere in the airport.

“Before commissioning NEC we had trialled an independent LED project, but in testing we immediately found that the screens were causing unacceptable interference with other equipment,,” ssaid Johan Monie, Head of Passenger Processes at Swedavia. ““LED emits large amounts of electromagnetic radiation, and these screens would have caused severe problems with WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity – precisely the sort of negative passenger experience we were trying to avoid. We then turned to our long-term display partner NEC to come up with an answer to the problem.”

NEC engineered two 3.91mm direct view LED screens with special shielding so that they emitted negligible levels of electromagnetic radiation. NEC was responsible for every aspect of the project, from designing the modules, providing the power and data, manufacturing, installing and commissioning. The company also provided a back-end platform that enables Stockholm Arlanda Airport to compile and manage content from multiple sources for the screens into a single application.

After a period of robust testing, during which both screens passed the EMC criteria with flying colours, the giant screens were unveiled last month and are now fully operational.

“More and more transport hubs are embracing LED as the display technology of choice, but they may not be fully aware of the impact that these screens have on other communications,” said Richard Wilks, Airport and Public Transportation Business Development Manager at NEC Display Solutions Europe. “Unless properly engineered, these screens can compromise the connectivity that passengers have come to expect when travelling, such as WiFi, Bluetooth, 4G and 5G. They can also interfere with safety-critical systems that rely on radio frequency, for example employees’ walkie-talkies and, potentially, radar and air-to-ground communications.”

“Transportation hubs such as airports have grown increasingly noisy, with numerous different signals and enormous traffic volumes, which is why NEC has also moved all our LCD displays to EMC Class B,” continued Richard. “Transport operators are rushing to embrace the benefits of LED, but they must consider the cumulative impact that these screens have on other technologies and demand that their technology partners provide solutions that are engineered to avoid inconvenient and potentially dangerous interference.”

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