Toronto Pearson Airport wants to be the best airport in the world. It’s already the biggest and busiest in Canada, having hosted a total of 49.5 million passengers over 473,000 flights in 2018. Beginning in 2016, the airport and its media partner Astral have worked alongside Samsung to design, develop and implement a series of cutting-edge visual displays throughout the airport.
We caught up with Illidio Vincente (Samsung Electronics America, Director of Sales in U.S. and Canada) and Pierre Got (Astral Project Director) to talk about these installations, and how the latest in high-definition digital displays is helping Pearson bring their bold vision to life.
Dedicated to delight
Spending time in an airport can be a stressful experience, but Toronto Pearson, with its passenger-first strategy is committed to making it a world-class experience. The connections are easy, the flight information is accessible, and everything is visible to the passenger. “When you’re there, you feel like you’re in a state-of-the-art space,” says Ilidio. “From the visual concepts they display on the screens, to the customer checkpoints, everything is the latest and most innovative technology available.”
When it came time to upgrade a series of displays, Pearson and their media partner Astral partnered with the equally customer-experience-obsessed team at Samsung. To Ilidio, it’s common sense: “You partner with the companies who want to be the best in their industry so you can be the best in yours,” he says.
Going bigger and bolder
Full of wide, open and beautiful spaces, Toronto Pearson’s gorgeous architecture provided an inspiring canvas for a next-generation visual experience. “We wanted to do something big, bold, and spectacular,” says Pierre. “But at the same time, we had a philosophy that less is more. Instead of having screens everywhere, we wanted to be more strategic, putting the very best products in just the right places.”
Those products included leading-edge, high-definition LED displays from Samsung’s indoor product line. One of the most critical locations was the check-in hall of Terminal 1, which sees a majority of the airport’s foot traffic. There, four 6-millimeter Iconics hang, elegantly suspended from the ceiling, as though they’re floating in thin air. As passengers enter the space, they find it nearly impossible not to look up.
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For these types of installations, the team decided to use a hybrid of digital screen and static banners. “The advantage is that it gives you the best of both worlds: plenty of digital creativity and dynamism, matched with a consistent logo or other brand image,” says Pierre. “Brands like that combination of permanence with flexibility.”
Rising to challenges
Projects of this size and scale are often accompanied by a tangle of technical requirements, which the Samsung team navigated expertly. “We surveyed the lighting conditions, pedestrian traffic, viewing distances, and a whole host of other factors to help us choose the right tech for each installation,” says Ilidio. “In the end, we decide on whatever it takes to meet the design requirements and achieve the optimal brightness and color uniformity.”
The ability to display color accurately is especially critical to Pearson’s advertising revenue. “If Coca-Cola wants to run a campaign, we need to be able to match their colors exactly,” says Ilidio. “Many times, if you can’t match it, they won’t run advertising on it,” says Ilidio.
Another complex installation the team tackled was an elevator tower with six screens at 4-millimeter pixel pitch. “Content flows seamlessly through all screens, making it a very cool, cutting-edge-looking display,” says Ilidio. “We were the only company that could provide the technology and processing speed that would allow that kind of content flow, as well as the control systems to make it work.”
Bringing it all together
Large-scale installations like the ones completed at Toronto Pearson over the last several years are full of moving pieces, tight delivery dates and stakeholder approval rounds. Thankfully, Prismview-Samsung is the kind of partner with the experience and expertise to make it all work in harmony. “We offer a turnkey solution: screens, systems, support and reputation,” says Ilidio. “Everything is included.”
And the team is tight-knit, which makes it easier to overcome the inevitable obstacles. “One nice thing about working with Prismview-Samsung is that we have a dedicated team, with a dedicated project manager,” says Pierre. “Having one point of contact the whole way through makes everything easier.”
It all pays off in the end, when launch day finally arrives. “From the moment we turned it on, we had the first series of branded creative lined up, ready to display right away,” says Pierre. “When you finally see the product go live, it’s a truly great sensation.”
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