Duty-Free Airport Shopping

Nationwide - USA

Duty-free shopping has never been easier than at the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport where an Electrosonic digital signage system highlights the luxury goods for sale at the Duty Free Americas, Inc. (DFA) stores.

DFA is the premier duty-free retailer in America.  It operates more than 90 duty-free and news and gift stores in US airports and along the US borders with Canada and Mexico.  At the Detroit Metro Airport Electrosonic’s signage system has been installed in the opaque-paneled exterior walls of the DFA stores facing the concourse traffic hallways.

Each deployment features a 2x2 video-wall configuration with four plasma screens with a big-picture module to create a single large image.  The video-walls typically display the hero content of fashion shows and broadcast commercials showcasing the luxury lifestyle clothing, fragrance, jewelry and watch brands sold in the stores.  Playback is accomplished with Electrosonic MS9500GL HD media players, which output High Definition MPEG2 1920x1080 files.

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Electrosonic’s MS9500GL can live anywhere on the network providing high performance, manageability and efficiency. Support for video bit rates up to 50Mbs ensure high quality HD images and its dedicated video hardware design guarantees reliable operation year after year.  As a dedicated HD playback appliance, the MS9500GL has the horsepower and reliability to decode high quality HD video without ever having Windows error messages appear on the screen.

Identical “mirror” systems have also been set up in Florida, at DFA’s corporate headquarters and at a consultant’s office, for content approval purposes.  All of the systems are run and monitored from Electrosonic’s headquarters in Burbank, California.

Designed for use in education/training, medical, museum, retail/digital signage, and theme park applications, the HD digital signage system comprises a suite of software offering a simple way to manage a virtual private video network.  It includes easy-to-understand tools to efficiently and securely ingest video, catalog and index scenes and takes, schedule multiple channels, and distribute content – all with industry-standard protocols.  The software is capable of managing HD and Standard Definition video content.

“We manage all the content for DFA,” says Thomas Brighton, media support specialist and studio manager at Electrosonic.  “Because of airport security, it’s extremely difficult if not impossible to have remote access to DFA inside the airport from our location outside the airport.  The solution was to have DataMirror, the software tool on the MS9500GL HD media players, call out to the remote content file server every 15 seconds to check for schedule changes and new content.  When DataMirror detects something new it pulls the content and new schedule back to the players.”

Brighton is tasked with encoding content received from DFA and remotely uploading those files to the content server.  Much content still originates as Standard Definition, which Brighton has to upconvert to High Definition for playback and then he creates a content playlist for client approval.  Once DFA approves the new playlist, DataMirror automatically detects the new content and begins downloading the necessary files.  DataMirror is smart enough to manage hard drive space and download only new items significantly reducing bandwidth requirements.

“Currently content changes monthly but the system is also capable of running content for special days and special times,” notes Brighton.  “The MS9500GL HD media players have the ability to turn the videowalls on and off, too.  The videowalls run between 6am and midnight daily and have been up 100 percent of that time since they were installed last October with no downtime.”

DFA plans to install Electrosonic systems in multiple stores at JFK International Airport in New York and Miami International Airport and in the company’s Latin American locations as well.

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