Live Data Screens At Heathrow Baggage Claim Answer Taxi Or Train Question

May 16, 2015 by Dave Haynes

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When I am consulting with clients I speak a lot about moments and relevance – putting screens and content in place that really speak to that moment.

Here’s a great example of a company putting that in practice:

There are screens now at London Heathrow Terminal 2 that tell arriving passengers, as they are standing around waiting for their bags, how much it will cost and how long it will take to get into the city between taxis and the airport’s train service to central London.

Says a news release:

Heathrow Express, digital out-of-home media agency and JCDecaux Airport UK have worked in partnership to create a world-first proposition – the ‘journey comparison generator,’ which combines real-time traffic, weather and train service information to help customers make the best choice for their onward travel.

It uses a moderation engine produced by, formerly known as Enigma, to pull together five different layers of real-time feeds from TomTom, Heathrow Express, Google, the Highways Agency and the Met Office.

The screens present passengers with the estimated time and costs at the exact moment they would use the rail link to reach central London versus getting a black taxi. Along with displaying the time of the next Heathrow Express train, the campaign also employs GPS-focused technology to highlight real-time traffic on a map that displays the journey between the terminal and Paddington.

In another media first, the campaign will turn multilingual from mid-April, as the screens on each baggage reclaim carousel will be translated to the main language of people on the arriving flight.

The campaign will also be installed across Heathrow’s Terminals 3 and 5 later in the year.

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The journey comparison generator shows that by using Heathrow Express rather than black cab taxis, travellers can save money and time. Currently, more than 100,000 passengers arrive at Heathrow Airport every day.

Fraser Brown, Heathrow Express director, said: “The aim of the ‘journey comparison generator’ is to enable Heathrow passengers to get into London as speedily, easily and as cheaply as possible. By harnessing many different sources of real-time data into one we are helping to make this happen. Research shows Heathrow Express trains are three times faster than taxis and a quarter of the price. These screens show how that comparison varies minute to minute depending on traffic, weather and time of day.”

Andrew Newman, co-founder of, said: “Consumers through their smart phones are incredibly enabled with right information at their choosing. When it’s served up to them via advertising and by a brand, we have to do more to gain their confidence. By linking scheduling information, Google maps, a GPS feed, live clock times and road traffic accident alerts, this multi-layered approach gains the trust of the public, delivering relevant information that enhances their decision making.”

Alan Sullivan, Managing Director at JCDecaux Airport, said: “This state-of-the-art real-time campaign marks a further step towards providing advertisers with content and context driven dynamic Digital Out-of-Home campaigns with JCDecaux Airport. We are delighted to be such an integral part of this world-first proposition that has the ability to transform how brands communicate to passengers as well as enhance traveller’s airport experiences.”

Very nice. Along with being relevant, it’s a great real-world example of how the Internet Of Things applies to something like mass transport and digital signage. The data that’s driving this information is coming from traffic cameras, GPS, baggage systems and a whole bunch of sensors.

Live data is where it is going to be at with a lot of content. There’s always going to be a role for pre-developed messaging, but when you can generate content that’s relevant to the viewers in that moment, you are really on to something.

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