Case Study: Melbourne Airport, Australia

Melbourne Aiport image use

Hurrairah bin Sohail speaks with Engie Services AV Technologies about the AV installation at Melbourne Airport which won the Transport Project category at the 2019 Inavation Awards.

The number of passengers travelling by air is increasing globally. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts that air transport passenger numbers could double to 8.2 billion in 2037 according to present trends.

In Australia, the number of passengers has been rising with airlines providing 26.9 million seats for international passengers and 61 million passengers for domestic flights according to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, Aviation Data, December 2018.

Airports are upgrading to meet this increased demand from travellers and to maintain standards of service. Engie was engaged to design and construct an 85m long, 2.5mm pixel pitch LED Digital Artwork Display, encircling the baggage return carousel at Melbourne Airport’s International Baggage Claim Number 8. The project commenced in September 2017 and was completed in March 2018.

Glenn Yole from Engie talks about the integrator’s involvement with the project: “We were engaged to complete numerous aspects of the project including a full design scope, design and construction of the custom LED mounting system, custom built LED panel cabinets to cater for tight radial curvature of the wall, a state of the art content management system and an 11 channel sound system.”

SiliconCore 2.5mm pitch LED tiles along with 7th Sense Delta media servers comprise the video system. Yole comments: “The 7th Sense Delta media server houses content developed by media partners specific to the videowall needs. The custom layout ability of the media server allows video and images to be created specific to the videowall size, these images can then be either treated as a whole of canvas, or a multiple repeat across campus, specific to the client requirements.” This single digital canvas covers a width of 33,600 pixels and 405 pixels of height and is a custom solution.

Seeing that the videowall was to be deployed in an airport, the standards for performance were more stringent. The spokesperson from Engie AV Services AV Technologies says: “Reliability and robustness was the deciding factor in the selection of the hardware. As the videowall has the potential to run 24/7, 365 days a year, considerations had to be made around energy efficiency, reliability, ease of access, availability of spares, and architectural aesthetic. Engie provided a flexible solution that exceeded the client’s requirements.”

The radial curvature of the wall proved to be one of the more difficult aspects of the project. Yole explains: “Engie partnered with SiliconCore to build custom panels that have their own internal offset. This allowed us to position panels in such a way as to meet the tight concave curvature of the wall. It is also believed to be the single largest indoor LED canvas in Australia, if not the Southern Hemisphere.”

Sound at Melbourne Airport is provided by 45 Bose Freespace DS16FB speakers. Two Powersoft PWS124 and two Symetrix Radius 128 DSP units complete the audio system.

Yole talks about how the audio system functions: “The audio system is broken down into 12 unique zones allowing for audio to be designed for multiple channels. The concept behind this design is that the user can develop audio content sympathetic to moving video on the videowall. For example, an advertisement for transport may have the train race around the videowall and the audio can follow it for an immersive experience.”

He continues: “The system also uses ambient SPL measurement of the space to automatically adjust the volume for the system to exceed, yet not overpower the ambient environment. The less ambient noise in the space the lower the overall volume of the system. A total of four TOA AN-9001 microphones are used to capture current ambient noise levels to lift or lower program audio. The system then has a set of master controls by Crestron standalone management.”

Regarding the selection of products, Yole says: “Once again, the products were chosen for their flexibility, usability and reliability. In particular the Bose speakers were selected for their amazing sonic quality, but also their ability to aesthetically match the architecture of the space. Speakers needed to be available in black and white to match the two colours of the space.”

The control system mentioned by the spokesperson comprises Crestron CP3N processors, five GLS-ODT-C-CN occupancy sensors and a TSW panel. Seeing that the AV systems are deployed in an airport environment where heavy usage can be expected, the control system is designed to be energy efficient.

Yole details: “Passive infrared sensors in the ceiling of the installation are used to track movement and monitor activity in the space. When people are detected in the area the videowall and audio system is powered up.”

Yole concludes: “Engie has implemented ground-breaking technology at Melbourne Airport’s International Baggage Claim. The Digital Artwork Display provides an opportunity for passengers to engage with interactive, situational and customised technology.”