Redeveloping JFK T4 Adds Big Range Of Useful Screens To Guide, Inform Passengers

March 22, 2024 by Dave Haynes

The redeveloping Terminal 4 at New York’s JFK Airport has switched on some of the new digital display components designed to improve passenger experiences, and the focus appears to be heavily, and happily, on helping travellers navigate the process and place.

There are a pair of 285-foot continuous LED video walls, and another 120-foot wall, strategically placed above ticketing counters relaying key information like airline assignments and branding, check-in services by class and flight information, with big digital end-caps also in place so that people can see the information from different angles and approaches.

The provided photo on the announcement about the digital – driven by Scala’s software and hardware players – shows a big LED that acts like a dashboard for people who just squirted out of their taxi or ride share, walked into the terminal and started wondering, “Ok, now what?”

The screen has the time, shows which row has the check-in counters for their flight, locates the TSQ screening area and fills them in on wait times to get through the take-off-your-shoes-and-belt-pull-out-your-laptop exercise.

The technology set, worked on for the past 11 months, also includes:

●   Wayfinding: Attention-grabbing digital totems, featuring custom-built enclosures, provide directional messaging, wayfinding and animated instructions, giving information on the two-step, self-check-in process;

●   Outdoor curbside displays: Digital displays at the departures-level curbside and arrivals-level walkway improve passenger efficiency by dynamically updating to show the airline logo at the entrance closest to the passenger check-in location, based on real-time flight data;

●  Airport Operations Portal: The portal enables flight data integration and manual input/override to automate the scheduling of digital display messaging while ensuring changes in current conditions are updated in real time.

There are 69 displays in all, powered by proprietary Scala media players.

The PR on the JFK project says additional developments at T4 will happen through the balance of 2024.

From that PR:

In March 2023, JFKIAT began working with Scala, part of the STRATACACHE family of technology companies, on the pre-security area of the terminal. Scala’s professional services team worked directly with JFKIAT on all aspects of digital signage innovation in the passenger experience — project discovery, ideation, infrastructure needs, content and creative development, onsite delivery, and ongoing support. Less than two months after the initial on-site discovery, the first digital displays went live.

“Our partnership to integrate this technology at T4 is our latest move to drive innovation within the terminal to support our best-in-class customer experience and deliver incredible journeys,” said Steve Tukavkin, VP of IT & Digital at JFKIAT. “As T4’s traffic has continued to increase and our passengers’ needs and expectations have evolved, it’s more important than ever to make their curb-to-gate experience as seamless as possible.”

“The JFKIAT team put forth an immense and innovative vision for their passenger experience that has, quite frankly, been missing among U.S. airports. Our participation in helping them bring it to life has done as much to energize our culture as we hope it has done for Terminal 4 and the good news is, we are just getting started,” says Mark Mayfield, VP of STRATACACHE’s Transportation Division.

T4 is the largest terminal at JFK, and the only privately-operated terminal in the U.S. T4 serves 22 airlines, and sees more than 25 million passengers each year.

The redeveloped and new-build airport terminals that add splashy digital art features are nice and certainly a valid part of the mix, but as someone who has been through a LOT of airports and rail stations, I really like and appreciate thoughtful set-ups like this that just make the journey a bit easier. How often have you walked in to a big terminal and stood there, trying to figure out where the heck a specific airline’s check-in counter is located, among rows and rows of check-in areas? This simple and boring stuff really helps.

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