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Electrosonic Supports Integrated Environmental Media System at LAX


Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX includes new digital media system supported by Electrosonic.

International audio-visual company Electrosonic has supported the Integrated Environmental Media System (IEMS) at the new Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX.  The (IEMS) includes seven digital media features providing entertainment and information for passengers.

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) retained Electrosonic to perform the detailed engineering and system integration of the IEMS components; the build out of the IEMS control room and integration and the installation of the complex digital playback system that supports the multi-channel synchronization needed for display on the media features.

Electrosonic account executive, Bryan Hinckley, says, “This is one of the largest international terminals in the U.S., and its first priority is as an airport, a hub to the rest of the world.  Our experience coordinating with different trades and vendors, and our expertise in integrating complex systems and new playback technology, helped make the IEMS system a success.”

Electrosonic Supports Integrated Environmental Media System at LAX

Electrosonic project manager, Janne Hammel, notes, “Because of the type and scale of work Electrosonic does for multiple industries around the world, we were uniquely qualified to act as conduit between LAWA and the design and content producers, serving as a translator and helping to facilitate communications and manage expectations on all sides. It was extremely challenging and incredibly rewarding.”

“You can talk about physical dimensions and number of pixels, but until you’re standing in that space experiencing the media and how it integrates with the terminal's passenger activity and flow, you don’t realize how it exceeds your expectations…  L.A. is a world destination and that’s reflected in the content of the media features and their integration into the physical structure of the new international terminal.”


The IEMS is based in the Antonio Villaraigosa Pavilion, and combines specific services for travellers with advertising opportunities for marketers.  The Welcome Wall, the Bon Voyage Wall, the four-sided Time Tower, the Destination Board and Story Board and two portals for the departure gates are integrated into the terminal’s architecture.

Hammel says, “We had to balance how to integrate the systems into airport operations and security.  We spent a lot of time working with the airport IT representative to deliver a system that maintains absolute security.

“All of the media features were custom designed to support individual creative visions.  The ability to roll out large-scale custom projects is all about attention to detail and time management.  It takes a certain amount of imagination to go from design to fabrication to hardware integration, where the smallest thing can have a big impact as the project evolves.  That’s our business.”

Electrosonic Supports Integrated Environmental Media System at LAX

The Welcome Wall

With scenes of greeting for international arrivals, the Welcome Wall is a high-resolution 6mm LED Daktronics wall measuring approximately 26 by 84 feet, divided into two screens and surrounded by a decorative glass frame.  

The Bon Voyage Wall

The Bon Voyage Wall includes content inspired by photographer Philippe Halsman’s Jumpology photographs, measuring 13×23 ft.

The Destination Board

An 80-foot wide high-resolution 6mm LED screen displays flight departures from LAX’s Flight Information Display System database.  Informational side panels displaying real time flight information and a low-resolution crown of LEDs surround the main screen .  

Electrosonic Supports Integrated Environmental Media System at LAXThe Time Tower

The four-sided Time Tower, built around an elevator tower, is designed to tell time and also to explore time as part of the travel experience with a 72 ft high base of diffused glass panels and an interior layer of 10mm LEDs.  Sensors create constantly changing patterns in response to travellers’ gestures.  The upper surface features high-resolution 6mm LEDs and integrates a functional clock face with entertaining content incorporating a time theme.

“The display is very large and has a number of video content sources which have to synchronize seamlessly on the four sides of the tower, ” Hinckley says.  “Electrosonic and Smart Monkeys spent a lot of time with the content creators and Daktronics on pixel-for-pixel consistency from media creation through playback, processing and display.  There’s no video scaling involved.”

Electrosonic also coordinated with the LAX audio system, which uses very complex zoning, and delivers safety and emergency messages to ensure proper audio playback for the Time Tower clock strike at the top of every hour.

The Story Board

Along the west side of the Villaraigosa Pavilion is a 120 ft Story Board with high-resolution 6mm LED tiles forming five display walls of varying size and shape across a structural frame.  

Electrosonic worked closely with all the vendors to achieve pixel-for-pixel consistency in a huge palette of pixels comprising custom content that tells ambient narratives about travel.

Electrosonic Supports Integrated Environmental Media System at LAXAs passengers move from the Villaraigosa Pavilion toward either the north or south concourse, a series of ten 28-foot-tall columns form a visual portal to their destination.  Each column, consisting of six vertically stacked 55-inch Planar LCD monitors, displays content themed around the art traditions of various destination cities.  Speakers and motion sensors are embedded in the base units of each portal to enhance the experience.

“It was an integration challenge to make sure the sensor and playback gear could co-exist in the limited space within the portals, ” Hinckley says.

Main Equipment Room (MER)

Electrosonic also designed the layout and installed the Main Equipment Room (MER), which is comprised of a control and rack room. Miles of optical fiber from all over the terminal feed into the MER, where over a 1, 000 individual connections provide the capability to display and control the content displayed on each feature. Cameras in the terminal that show the content-display status of each feature allows a single operator to monitor all features simultaneously.

Additionally, a 65-inch display was installed in the control room where new media content from prospective partners can be reviewed prior to public display.

“We have people on site for 24/7 operation and maintenance of the system, ” says Hinckley.  “Since this is a working international airport, the only time we have access to the field equipment is between 2 and 6 am, so we not only need a quick response team on site to remedy any potential problems, but we also need to staff the graveyard shift to make any necessary repairs.”

Electrosonic Supports Integrated Environmental Media System at LAX

LAX Integrated Environmental Media Systems (IEMS) Team: Electrosonic; MRA International, IEMS Project Director; Marcela Sardi of Sardi Design, designer of the media features and Creative Director; Smart Monkeys Inc., Technical Consultant and system programmer for the content delivery system; Daktronics, display supplier; Moment Factory, Executive Content Producer; and Digital Kitchen, Supportive Content Producer.

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