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CHAPTER 7 Technology 7.1 Overview Today, airports are a dynamic operation constantly evolving. Space and facilities are at a pre- mium in most airports. To maximize the use of an airport's assets, it is not unusual for an airport to require airlines and other leaseholders to share facilities through common use leasehold agree- ments. This operation effectively changes the wayfinding and signing program within the terminal and concourse areas, at curbside, in the parking garages and lots, and the roadway. Airports use dynamic signage to display the changes. Good planning is necessary to accommodate these signage changes rapidly. The following should be considered in a common-use environment as related to the dynamic information component. · Communications infrastructure, which allow message changes without having to go to each sign. · How static messages match dynamic messages. · Ensuring that dynamic signage follow the wayfinding standards adopted by the Airport (e.g., fonts, colors, pictograms, terminology, and others). · Integration with existing dynamic signage elements and other systems (e.g. FIDS, BIDS, Park- ing, CUTE/MUSE). · Location of key decision points. · Spacing of displays, information content, visibility of the message, legibility, and mounting. · Consistency in terminology. Dynamic signs will be controlled and messages will be changed from a remote location. The method for getting the message data to the actual sign can be via direct connection with a laptop or any number of other methods via a remote computer communicating through an Ethernet connection over copper cables, fiber optic cable, radio frequency (RF) links, or cellular transmission. This chapter, although addressing certain dynamic signage, does not address all dynamic sig- nage. Refer to the chapters for Roadway, Parking, Curbside, and the Terminal where dynamic signage applicable to those areas is addressed. 7.1.1 Importance of Sign Manager Knowledge of Systems Many airport managers, airport operations managers, and sign managers have a relatively good working knowledge of computer hardware, software, and computer networks. However, when implementing a new wayfinding and signing system, in order to maximize the use of existing com- munication systems infrastructure and to minimize potential costs, it is advisable that a member 180
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Technology 181 of the Airport's Information Technology Department be included in any wayfinding and signing project during planning, design, implementation, acceptance testing, and training. Many times the airport sign manager is the last to know about a signage project, which means they walk in to find a new system, or hear it is being developed and on the way to design comple- tion. This should not be the case and an airport should have processes, checks, and balances to keep the airport sign manager informed of any project that impacts the signing and wayfinding sys- tem. In short, this means they have to jump in and must participate quickly to ensure consistency with the signage program in terms of nomenclature, appearance, the airport's signage standards, and creating a signage database for quantities and deliverables. Airport sign managers should be kept informed about all new projects that may affect existing signage--or contain a new signage element--at the planning phases to ensure signing consistency throughout the airport. 7.1.2 Application Due to extensive growth within the dynamic signage markets (e.g., retail, financial, health- care, transportation, etc.) networked digital signage solutions are beginning to appear. These are well-suited to handle extensive creation, management, and publishing capabilities. New dynamic signage offers the delivery of such information to diverse digital dynamic signage using existing network infrastructure. One of the advantages of these types of systems is that the displays merely become network addresses to which the centralized system can push a variety of display information from any number of sources. This allows those displays normally associated with one function to easily take on alternative roles. For example, a Multi-User Flight Information Display System (MUFIDS) could be utilized to perform another function such as emergency messaging, visual paging, adver- tising, etc. 7.1.3 Wayfinding Planning Process Wayfinding provides a methodology for people to find their way to and around a destination within a facility. Dynamic sign elements must be included as part of the wayfinding planning process. Understanding the operation of the facility, its schedule, and what they need to find, plan- ners can integrate dynamic sign applications into a wayfinding signage plan that helps guide peo- ple through a facility. Requirements for the design and planning process may include: · An onsite wayfinding analysis and wayfinding-related design review of the existing facility architecture. · Development of a detailed wayfinding master plan. · Integration/interface with other system (e.g., MUFIDS, CUSS, audio/visual paging, and parking). · Determining existing wayfinding and network elements that can be utilized. · Emergency procedures (e.g., keeping temporary signs in stock for when a power outage occurs). · Control systems for dimming signs--individually, or as a group. · Defining communication systems infrastructure needs. · Developing cost estimates for system implementation, operational, maintenance, staffing, and training. 7.1.4 Integration with Entire Sign System To the extent possible, it is desirable to utilize existing facilities and infrastructure and to inte- grate existing facilities with the new equipment. However, many times an existing system is installed utilizing proprietary hardware and software that cannot support the additional new components, or where the head-end and/or remote equipment is unreliable, and/or the hard-