What is FIDS and How Does it Work? (Plus, Some Airports' Innovative Use of FIDS)



Airport display screens and announcement boards have been waiting there for tardy travelers for eternity!

Every time you have a flight to board, what follows is madness. You dash at the nick of time, reach the airport deranged, erratically you start looking for your flight details on those airport schedule boards, and somehow finally get to the right terminal. Phew!

This is a common story.

However, the modern digital version of the airport flight information board, the FIDS, hasn’t been around for long. In fact, many may still don’t know what FIDS means, even though they have been looking at these screens for years.

What is a flight information display system?

FIDS or Flight Information Display System is any screen within an airport premise that shows passengers information about their flights, such as live flight status, ETA, gate number, and more.

Since its inception, FIDS has undergone many transformations striving to provide an upgraded, aesthetically-rich experience to passengers. But beyond that, the changes have led to airports sharing accurate information at the fastest possible time with maximum automation.

Modern FID Systems use system integrations with digital signage solutions that make it super-convenient for the staff to manage the airport screens remotely and play other content simultaneously.

What information is conveyed through flight information display system?

We may have an impression that FIDS is used only in airports. However, several luxury hotels and convention centers use FIDS owing to substantial business flyer footfall.

Here are some of the different types of information that can be shown using a FIDS:

  1. Real-time flight updates like flight origin, arrival and departure time on screen, airline code, flight status as in landing, delayed or early, gate number, and things like that

  2. Non-airline related information like weather forecast, baggage drop information, security check guidelines, wayfinding map, etc.

  3. Interesting feeds and infotainment, including local news, sports news, popular travel hacks, entertainment videos, and social media feeds.

How does FIDS work: data gathering, designing & distribution

A flight information display system essentially functions through digital signage software that puts together and delivers media information on dynamic LED screens at airports. The technology is not only used at airports alone; digital signage system finds its application in all types of transportation hubs like railways, bus terminus, and subways.

The flight information display system software gathers data from internal and external sources. The major ones are the Airport Operational Database (AODB), Resource Management System, Public Transportation Data Feeds, and Alert & Warning Systems. The software assimilates with these management systems via data integration & API to pull the required data.

Next, system operators custom design the FIDS screen layouts or use handy templates to arrange, design, and publish the data on the airport display monitors. The digital signage software vendor may also design custom applications with the airport’s branding and other unique necessities.

The FIDS software further allows automation and scheduling content on the airport announcement boards. The airport system operators can use the display software as a content management system to schedule different types of content on each screen.

Examples of airports using advanced FIDS architecture in exciting ways

Many airports have embraced digital flight information display systems in the last few years and used them in unique ways. We are here talking about three such airports that are quite the trendsetter.

Singapore’s Changi Airport

The management division of Singapore’s Changi Airport recruited an experienced team to bring a passenger-centric approach to its flight information displays. They wanted to set the bar higher by informing, engaging, and entertaining the passengers in the most innovative ways.

The Singapore airport placed large LED displays to offer detailed flight information along with digital signage kiosk booths where passengers can get only the information they are looking for.

These flight information kiosks allow passengers to scan their boarding passes and get flight information like which terminal to head to and how to reach there. It even shows an animated direction using a 3D wayfinding map.

See how it works in the video below:

Heathrow Airport

In 2018, Heathrow Airport celebrated Star Wars Day using FIDS in an innovative, out-of-the-box style. And it was mind-boggling for the passengers!

The airport arrival & departure boards displayed the schedule of flights to Jakku, Alderaan, Death Star, and places like that. YES! To the galaxies!

Take a look at this airport screen and say if it doesn’t amuse you beyond your imagination:

Heathrow Airport celebrating Star Wars Day brilliantly with FIDS display of flights to the galaxies
Source: Twitter

Dubai Airport

Dubai Airports shifted from traditional FIDS and embraced a new cloud-based flight information display solution along with system on chip (SoC) technology to provide passengers with an extraordinary experience.

Dubai Airports using cloud-based flight information display software
Source: Samsung

The new flight information screen system at Dubai Airports allowed easy operation via the internet browser without any local software installation. The staff could choose a variety of screen layouts and select specific contents for different zones in that layout, and display multiple contents simultaneously at the same time.

Thanks to cloud-based software, everything stood manageable from a remote location and from any device. The deployment of the new FID system improved operational efficiency and enhanced passenger experience at the same time.

How do flight information display systems benefit airports?

Digital flight information display boards upgrade airport management, operations, and airport aesthetics in many ways. It also helps airports by offering an improved passenger experience. Let’s find out how many ways FIDS contributes to escalating airport functions.

  • Crowd management becomes easier with current and to-the-point flight updates.

  • All the information is readily available for all using a multi-lingual display system.

  • Besides informing about flight status and other details, airports can entertain travelers by showing live news channels or broadcasting a live event on screen.

  • Airports can cut the cost of hiring ground employees to answer passenger queries, most of which include flight status and timings. They can now easily communicate via digital screens.

  • Airports can use FIDS screens for advertising themselves and promoting their services. Also, they can utilize the dynamic FIDS screens to collaborate with brands and let them run their ads on those screens alongside flight information.

  • Lastly, airport staff can manage the heaving number of passengers easier than before by displaying security check guidelines, flight updates, general FAQs, and essential travel information on the airport monitors.

Parting words

A traveler’s journey from arriving at the airport to boarding the flight home should not feel intimidating. When information is handy, travelers are more relaxed, and there is less chance of disruption in day-to-day operations. With airports looking for ways to deliver a smooth transition experience, flight information display systems have a huge role to play.

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Pramita Banerjee

Pramita’s journey as a writer began in 2012. Almost for a decade now, she has been writing pieces on technology, marketing & business. Her belief is, "Creativity never goes out of style".

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