Digital signage cathedrals in the UK

July 8, 2011 | by Jon Parks

I recently returned from a two week trip to Europe to finish up the last couple of credits towards my MBA. Along with all the pictures I took of famous landmarks and sensational meals are a collection of photos that may only be interesting to those of us who read Digital Signage Today.

Immediately after landing from Phoenix, I entered the Mecca of digital signage, London Heathrow's British Airways Terminal 5. Much to the confusion of my classmate and travel companion, I started snapping photos of digital signage throughout the terminal.

Rental car kiosks utilizing digital signage at Heathrow

Aside from the obvious check-in kiosks and flight schedules, digital signage shined throughout the terminal in many of the exciting applications we talk about on Digital Signage Today. There are digital advertisements, video walls for rental cars and hotels and even entertainment signage on the terminal transfer trains.

In-train signage on the Heathrow Express

The signage was impressive, but not a complete shock since Heathrow Terminal 5 is one of the most modern, technologically advanced airport terminals in the world. The signage didn't end there, however, but continued as I made my way to the land of the shamrock.

Even more impressive than Heathrow was the one mandatory Dublin tour stop — the Guinness Storehouse. Every stop along the self-guided tour showed another brilliant use of digital signage. Video walls showed the beer-making process step-by-step as you advanced through the multistory storehouse.

Video wall in Guinness Storehouse utilizing both veritcal and horizontal displays

In several instances interactive touch signage was used to allow visitors to have a little fun, join the Guinness mailing list and email themselves information directly from the tour. Walls featured several displays of different sizes oriented both vertically and horizontally. Signage was even embedded inside wooden beer barrels.

The Guinness Storehouse however wasn't the only shrine to both alcohol and digital signage, as we saw on out next stop in Dublin, The Old Jameson Distillery. Again, the signage was impressive, especially the four-by-four video wall which accounted for an entire wall of the lobby bar, along with one of the biggest LCD displays I’ve ever seen. (Unfortunately it was turned off or was not working at the time.)

Video wall at The Old Jameson Distillery

What I noticed most was that there were many more full- or partially-digital menu boards in use throughout not just the U.K., but throughout Europe. This collaborates Scott Sharon's recent blog post where he states, "Some of the large chains are using more digital menu boards in Europe and Asia than they are here, but when people read about it they think it includes the United States."

Digital menu board at an American QSR in Dublin

Other applications seen throughout the U.K. included in-bus entertainment, classroom and conference room applications.

While the trip was full of learning, sightseeing and eating, it was also a wonderful opportunity to see many of the applications that are still trying to gain traction here in the States already operating and proving their ROI in the United Kingdom.

Topics: Advertising , Customer Experience , Digital Merchandising , Menu Boards , Planning / Integration , Restaurants , Transportation / Travel

Jon Parks / Jon is a product marketing manager for Avnet's Brilliant Digital Signage, focused on building supplier relationships driving digital signage solutions for Avnet's reseller and OEM/ISV customers. He's has been with Avnet for five years supporting supplier marketing for the Embedded and Sales Acceleration groups.
www View Jon Parks's profile on LinkedIn

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