‘Digital everything’ and its impact on the transportation experience



Garry Wicka

Head of Marketing, Commercial Division, LG Electronics USA, Inc




You have likely heard a lot about transportation in the news recently, specifically within the airline industry: United’s forceful removal of a passenger, a scorpion stinging a passenger (again United) and a stroller-related incident on American Airlines. With all of these issues hitting both traditional and social media faster than a speeding bullet one has to wonder…what are the main drivers? Is it an issue of reduced customer service (staffing/training) at airlines? Is it smaller seats on every plane? Is it the lack of consideration for others when traveling? My guess is that it’s likely a combination of all the above.

The one common thread within all of these instances – they were captured digitally, with personal cell phones.

Digital engagements have become ubiquitous when traveling. Everyone has a digital device with them and digital advertisements are all around us. Digital wayfinding is growing in popularity, digital menu boards are part of the landscape at transportation hub food courts, and even some bathrooms are starting to get their own digital signage telling you if they are open or closed for cleaning. Just this week, the NYC Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced it will integrate informational digital signage on its On-the-Go interactive kiosks in the NYC subway, and JFK airport just unveiled a 30×10-foot LED video board to show flight arrival times, advertising and other information.

One of the key ingredients for many of these digital experiences is the actual display – from the small 3-inch displays on your phone to the enormous video walls you can find in all of the transportation hubs around the country.

The importance of the display was highlighted in a 2015 whitepaper titled Improving the Customer Experience where it said, “Information for customers who are underway is most useful when it is in real time. Ways to deliver this information include mobile devices (cellphones or smartphones), public display signs and audio messages.”* And Dziekan and Kottenhof have noted that there are seven main effects of real-time information displays: reduced wait time, positive psychological factors (including reduced uncertainty, increased ease-of-use and a greater feeling of security), increased willingness-to-pay, adjusted travel behavior such as better use of wait time or more efficient traveling, effects on mode choice, increased customer satisfaction and, finally, a better image of transit service.**

As the transportation industry continues to recognize the importance and benefits of digital displays, so do the manufacturers of these displays. The needs of the transportation sector are often unique and manufacturers who are responsive to these needs will be able to offer the best customer experiences. Some of these needs include: high brightness options for both indoor and outdoor usage, new display formats such as ultra-stretch models that can fit into unique areas, better protection for displays to allow longevity, and innovative display designs that can become iconic fixtures in a transportation hub. Absolutely mesmerizing examples of the latter can be seen in the Incheon International Airport in South Korea with the LG OLED hanging arch experience, and what you are seeing in the Orlando Airport with one of the longest video wall experiences being deployed in the check-in area.

Clearly, digital is everywhere and ties into all aspects of the transportation sector. Hopefully, the success of digital displays will take a little pain out of the process of traveling.

*White Paper: Improving the Customer Experience

**Dziekan K, Kottenhof K (2007) “Dynamic at-stop real-time information displays for public transport: effects on customers” Transportation Research Part A 41 (6) 489-501