NEC Highlights Display Surfaces

As expected, we saw all the new hardware from NEC Display Solutions at the recent ISE show, but the company had a good presence at PTE. Given that only they and Data Modul were there as display suppliers, we guess that they have positioned their brand well. The displays on show looked really good, especially the LED, although we didn’t spot any projectors.

NEC LEDsNEC LEDs looked good Рthe pattern is because of moiré with our camera.

We had a chance to talk to Richard Wilks, who looks after the airport business for NEC, which has put a lot of time and attention into the market in recent years. The global airport business for NEC is now being run out of London, so Wilks is adding a lot of intercontinental miles to his already incredible travel mileage. NEC has recently won substantial projects in Changi and Cambodia, so the policy seems to be working.

Wilks told us that the focus for NEC was trying to get airport operators to think more ‘holistically’ (our word!) about the uses of displays. Rather than developing isolated applications based on flight information, advertising and wayfinding, the company is trying to get operators to think in terms of display ‘surfaces’. As he pointed out, airports thrive when they have a lot of airlines wanting to use their services. Airline operators, especially those in short haul markets, are getting fewer and fewer opportunities to interact with passengers, especially as advanced airports are rapidly going self-service for check-in, bag drop and even boarding (we saw such a system at the show).

That’s an opportunity for airport operators who can offer (for a fee, of course) to use display surfaces, for example in check in and gate areas, to brand the areas and communicate with customers. For example, “We won’t be boarding for 30 minutes, why not get a discount coffee at Costa?”. The idea of surfaces, of course, is ideal for NEC which can supply LED, LCD or projection to meet the different display opportunities. As we discussed in our Optoma report last week, projection fits in because it can even be used to turn floors into display surfaces.

Of course, to make this work, first operators have to ensure that they have all their stakeholders on board, but they also have to start to really understand the value, and necessity of good content. Most of them “Really don’t get content, yet”, Wilks said.

However, some operators are more innovative. Heathrow’s recently renovated Terminal 2 was used as a site for an Easter Egg hunt. Although this was positioned as “a bit of fun for the children”, one of the purposes was to get potential customers to explore parts of the terminal (and the related retailers, of course) that they would have otherwise missed.