Massport and Art of Context announce the arrival of Infobar in terminal A at BOS. Infobar combines advanced technology with an eye-catching user and maintenance friendly enclosure. Infobar uses HTML5 and AOC’s Directory Management Studio to provide travelers with up-to-date information. It incorporates QR codes and SMS for personalized wayfinding.
Art of Context, with their client Boston Logan Airport, has developed innovative and passenger-focused digital signage for the last five years. For the Infobar project, the goal was to create a more inviting information delivery system, one that took advantage of the latest technical advances while remaining easy to use and maintain.
Infobar innovates and excels in many areas including the perfect location, an accessible form factor and a welcoming enclosure that says “I can help” instead of “I perform transactions.” Things break. The unique enclosure addresses the often daunting challenge of hardware maintenance. Interface and usability are where Infobar really shines. The interface was built from the ground up as a HTML5 Chrome application. The map is made up of scalable vector graphics (SVG) so it does not lose resolution upon zoom. Nothing kills utility faster than outdated content. Infobar utilizes AOC’s Directory Management Studio to make keeping content fresh a snap.
The Infobar project faced three main challenges:
Challenge 1: Create an approachable, personalized information station. Last year, AOC and BOS rolled out large interactives in Terminals B and C. While well received and attention grabbing, observation and data suggested that passengers liked the large form factor for viewing the map, but were reluctant to interact with such a big interface.
Challenge 2: Creating an eye-catching, user-and-maintenance-accessible enclosure. We knew we’d need an innovative and unique enclosure for Infobar, the team worked with Design Communications Limited [https://www.designcommunicationsltd.com/] to create an eye-catching, accessible enclosure that complemented the designated space.
Challenge 3: Implementing a new technology to achieve a superior product. To achieve the next iteration of the map, AOC turned to HTML5, Google Chrome and the Chromebox. As with any venture into new technology, there was a learning curve and some bleeding edges.
The team engaged Design Communications Services Ltd. a leading Boston, custom signage manufacturer. They determined individual adjustable screens were the best choice. Aesthetically, they wanted to avoid access panels so DCL designed a circular enclosure with a top that easily rose to allow access to the electronics stored inside. The whole package is enhanced by a LED-lit light ring to attract travelers.
Our Solutions Architect, a consummate student of technology, led the charge to utilize HTML5 and a Chromebox along with SVG to create a fully interactive map that users can pinch and zoom without losing clarity. Since SVG is pure data underneath, every aspect of the map is programmable. This, in conjunction with tight integration of real-time flight data, enables us to change the plane icons at the gate to match the color of their status: green for on time, yellow for a change and red for delayed.
Infobar launched on October 16, 2015, and passengers were immediately drawn to it. Murmurs of “wow” and cries of “that’s awesome” abounded. Data and anecdotal feedback is positive. Infobar is receiving four times the traffic of nearby large-scale interactive digital signs.
User engagement is also up with users spending twice the time at Infobar screens than they spend at larger screens. We are also seeing deeper engagement since users can transfer flight data to their mobile device via QR codes or SMS.
The launch of Infobar in Terminal A marks the beginning of an all-campus consolidated wayfinding system for Boston Logan. Future deployments will be made at regular intervals in the next 12 to 18 months.
Art of Context won the DSE 2016 Silver Apex Award in the Transportation category.