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Blynk Digital Media and AC-ET Supply Ground-Breaking LedGo Curved Store Fascia for the World Duty Free Store in Heathrow Airport’s New Terminal 2
UK – As part of the design and development of their World Duty Free store in Heathrow’s new Terminal 2 – The Queen’s Terminal – leading travel retailer World Duty Free Group (WDFG) commissioned a remarkable LedGo FLEX curved LED solution to provide a unique and highly adaptable fascia for their tax and duty free store, creating one of the UK’s largest fixed-installation LED walls.
Concept visuals of the new store revealed curved surfaces running along the front of the entire shop fascia. This gave World Duty Free Group and Blynk Digital Media’s Neil Muir the idea to fill the surfaces with LedGo’s innovative FLEX curved LED panels, to display eye-catching, moving content, visuals and tailored messaging to visitors in the new terminal.
Blynk Digital Media approached A.C. Video, a specialist sales division of A.C. Entertainment Technologies (AC-ET) Ltd., to supply them with the LedGo FLEX curved LED solution. In addition, A.C. Video supplied LedGo’s Blackface high-contrast, LED video panels for the project’s six other separate screen elements.
The project involved extensive collaboration between Blynk Digital Media, A.C. Video and LedGo over a period of two years. During that time, Blynk Digital Media arranged several demonstrations to WDFG of the proposed LedGo video screen solutions – including a huge LedGo video wall on the A.C. Entertainment Technologies stand at PLASA London 2012, and a visit with A.C. Video to two major broadcast studios in Holland featuring the LedGo FLEX curved LED system.
LedGo FLEX 4.8mm pitch, curved panels create a seamless LED organic shape running 27m in length and almost 1m in height, producing a massive digital display surface of 5696 by 160 pixels.
A downward-facing flat LED screen, which immediately adjoins the FLEX undulating screen, consists of LedGo Blackface 4.8mm pitch panels which in turn is connected to a 13.5m wide LED screen installed above the storefront, featuring more 4.8mm pitch panels. This section is connected to a 4m high fixed external pillar covered in Blackface 4.0mm pitch panels.
Inside the World Duty Free store, a prominent central pillar is clad from the ceiling down to an adjacent point-of-sale counter with more LedGo Blackface 4.0mm pitch panels creating a 2m high by 1m wide, innovative wrap-around screen on all four sides of the pillar with almost seamless corners, to display digital content.
In addition, a feature wall utilises LED flat panel screens arranged in portrait and landscape configurations, to show various images against a backdrop of more LedGo Blackface 4.0mm pitch panels in a 6m wide by over 3.5m high digital wall.
Due to the 24 hour operation of both the store and the airport itself, the LedGo panels needed to be quick and easy to remove for servicing and maintenance. LedGo developed an alternative solution to the usual screw-mounted LED modules, by mounting the panels on magnetic strips and utilising push-on power and data connectors, making it simple to remove the LED panels from the front.
The magnetic framework in which the FLEX curved LED panels are mounted was specially water-cut using leading-edge technology by LedGo to extremely precise dimensions matching the exact curvature of the shop front fascia. The positioning of the framework only allowed for a tolerance of a few millimetres along its entire length when it was fitted into position, particularly the extensive curved section.
One major consideration was to ensure the LED panels specified passed strict British Standard requirements concerning flammability and would therefore be approved by the airport authority. A.C. Video worked with LedGo to have samples of the video panel materials undergo the necessary lab tests. As a result, the manufacturing process and materials were altered slightly to ensure that all LedGo video products now meet the most stringent British Standards.
The digital content for the entire location is delivered, controlled and scheduled remotely using the ~sedna software system, provided by Blynk Digital Media, which is already in use at many WDFG locations.
In addition to specifying, sourcing and installing the entire audio-visual infrastructure, Blynk Digital Media’s dedicated in-house scheduling team also programmed all the digital content for the screens and continue to provide real-time remote control over the entire system from their Yorkshire base.
AC-ET's audio visual director Peter Butler comments: “AC-ET was appointed the exclusive UK dealer for LedGo back in October 2012 – we really like their products, but also their company philosophy. LedGo are rare in that they have extensive experience working in broadcast environments, as well as entertainment venues. They are also specialists in video content, so there is a real synergy to their product portfolio. LedGo also push the boundaries of technology and are continually developing new and exciting products, such as their Black Spinel interactive LED floor and there are more innovative products on the horizon. Working with Blynk Digital Media and LedGo on the technically challenging WDFG project in the new Heathrow Terminal 2 was tremendously exciting, and I'm really very pleased with the end result.”
Blynk Digital Media’s senior project manager Neil Muir comments: “World Duty Free Group are constantly pushing the boundaries of what is technically feasible and that’s one of the reasons why they lead the field in airside retail. We’ve provided the technical expertise and 24/7 backup for most of their locations for a number of years and this installation using the remarkable LedGo products is just another step – albeit a very significant one – forwards in innovation. We’ve learned a lot from the LedGo team and there’s no doubt we’ll be specifying their products again as the results are just sensational.”
LedGo's business director Winnie Meijer comments: “LedGo were delighted to work on this prestigious project in collaboration with Blynk Digital Media, AC-ET and WDFG. Our in-house team worked hard to ensure that the LedGo video solutions fully met Blynk Digital Media’s brief, were delivered on time, and were within the project budget. We also developed solutions to overcome a number of technical challenges associated with the unique environment where the LedGo LED video panels are installed. All-in-all it was a very exciting and rewarding project to be involved with, and we are proud to be associated with the internationally-renowned Heathrow Airport on such a prestigious retail project for World Duty Free stores, showcasing the capabilities of LedGo video solutions.”
World Duty Free Group (WDFG) comments: “This was a complicated brief involving many stakeholders and regulations. It aimed to bring further innovation to the unique digital media platform devised by World Duty Free Group and also represented a first in airport retail store fascia design. It is fair to say we all are pleased with the result and the project has demonstrated what a collaborative approach can achieve.”
A.C. Entertainment Technologies are a leading reseller of over 200 professional technology brands, and LedGo’s exclusive UK dealer.
10th February 2015
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