Think of all the sights and sounds that come at you as you walk through an airport. Marketing and advertising messaging, safety and security information, directional signage, flight postings and, of course, the droning murmur of thousands of travelers moving from point A to point B. It’s an avalanche of content for the senses at every step.

Now, imagine the challenges faced by airport management that needs to cut through the clutter, capture attention and deliver highly intelligible, actionable and often critical information across a widespread, quickly moving public. This is no simple task.

The purpose of an announcement through any public address or digital signage system is to communicate a message. An email with half of the words missing would not be an acceptable form of communication, so why should you accept a similar effect from a poor public address system? People expect the same sound quality from a modern public address system that they would from a sound system at a performance space or their home without fully appreciating all the problems that exist in large spaces. The science of sound acoustics is not a simple subject, and the larger the room/space and the larger the system, the more difficult it becomes to maintain the quality. Controlling audio reflections and sound beam control is a science unto itself and requires having the right technology at every step in the signal chain, from mics to speakers.

Managing video messaging is similarly difficult. For digital signage in transportation systems to be up-to-date and relevant to travelers, operators need to be able to manage complex, rapidly changing travel details, including gate information, boarding announcements and life safety protocol in the unlikely event of emergencies. They also provide entertainment and advertising content to travelers in concourses throughout the facility. Controlling the flow of all of the information is a big job to handle.

In order for very large spaces, such as airports, to ensure a quality experience for customers with a system that is easy to manage for the operators, facilities have started moving to integrated signage and PA systems. Because the public address and digital signage systems have been integrated a single, centrally managed digital AV notification system, it is easier to use and more reliable. As well, when the products are designed to work together for the specific purpose of intelligibility in transportation venues, the system minimizes stress and ensures a positive and safe traveling experience for everyone.

The best example of this is the HARMAN Professional Solutions IDX System, which incorporates premium microphones, signal processing, amplifiers, loudspeakers, digital signage and video wall management for the best communication available. By coupling a dedicated IDX server with a range of audio components that take the best technologies from leading HARMAN brands like AKG, BSS, Crown and JBL, IDX offers the most complete public address and digital signage system solution for large spaces.

Do you have experience integrating PA and digital signage systems for transportation or other large spaces? Tell us about it in the comments.

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