The argument can be made compellingly that a digital signage network operator can’t be expected to anticipate every crazy thing that might happen out at the displays, and I will therefore cut some slack for the IT people at Portland, Oregon’s airport – where a traveler turned a wayfinding sign at the terminal into a gaming monitor.
The guy was traveling with his Playstation 4 and, looking to kill some time before a flight, noticed the inputs for a terminal map display along the concourse were exposed. So he found a chair that wasn’t bolted down, plugged in, and either monkeyed with input button or it just rolled over to HDMI for him.
The Oregonian newspaper picked up the story from a local radio station, which interviewed Port of Portland spokesperson Kama Simonds.
“That is obviously something that we don’t want to have happened,” Simonds told the radio station, “because travelers need the information that we are putting on the screens for them.”
Operations supervisors approached the gamer, Simonds said, “and very kindly asked this person to unplug and cease using the monitors at the airport.”
According to Simonds, the man asked “very politely” if he could finish his game. Sadly for him, the answer was no.
“Apparently it was a very polite and cordial interaction,” Simonds said, calling it “a good reminder of what not to do at the airport.”
Noting again that it is reasonable to have not come up with this in a list of What If scenarios during planning, there are a few things that could have been done:
- Lock down the buttons during display set-up, so the only one that works is Power, so inputs can’t be changed;
- Physically block the input ports, like the HDMI, with metal, plastic, electrical tape, whatever … ;
- I think software can also have counter-measures, but it has been a buncha years since I had to think about ops stuff like that. Chime in, readers, in the Comments.
The guy might also be getting power for his game box off the display, or is that USB? Not a gamer, so don’t know.
Lock down your screens, folks.
Hat tip to Sharp’s Mike Murphy for posting about this …
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.