Interactive customer information systems at St Pancras International with Analog Way's Scalers

San Pancras - London
San Pancras - Google Wall

St Pancras station opened in 1868. The famous station remains one of the greatest Victorian buildings in London, with impressive Victorian Gothic architecture. The station has been restored and houses the 400-metre-long Eurostar trains since November 2007. To make St Pancras a destination on its own, special attention has been paid to the ambiance of the station, especially to the Departure Lounges to entertain travelers with the integration of interactive tools.

Interview with Hugo Roche, President of Sysco.


Hugo Roche: “We worked on the installation of interactive customer information systems in the Eurostar departure lounges, including the Business Premier Lounge, at St Pancras International station in central London. The installation was completed in May 2008. This was our first installation for London & Continental Railways, the owners of St Pancras International, which is a new building.”

What were your customer’s requirements in terms of audiovisual systems?
HR: “The AV installation contributes to the overall ambience and customer experience provided by the Departure Lounges and the Business Premier Lounge as part of the spectacular St Pancras International station, which was designed to be “a destination in its own right”.”

What is the primary usage of the AV system within the facility?
HR: “The Analog Way equipment is used for one of the AV interactives, the “Google Wall” in the main Departure Lounge. The ‘Google Wall’ concept was developed by Land Design with Studio Simple, and in partnership with Google.
 Based on Google Earth technology, this permanent digital installation allows travellers to call up a 3D ‘fly through’ of Eurostar routes and destinations using 24-inch Winmate LCD touchscreens with Surface Acoustic Wave touch elements, driven by Studio Simple’s custom user interface software. It was an early example of the way the project evolved through collaboration between designers, proprietary technology partners and, as integrators, Sysco.
The software communicates with Google, allowing users to search for a particular Eurostar destination, which in turn triggers the Google map to animate and zoom in to that destination. There are also pre-formatted fly-throughs of towns on the Eurostar route. As a result of that technology, travellers can get a bird’s eye view of anywhere in Europe, follow high-speed rail routes, fly in 3D through the centres of cities such as London, Paris, and even search for their own home.
The visualisations are played out on a display formed of four 84-inch bezel-less plasma screens from PSCo and 32-inch NEC 3210 LCD displays, driven by Sysco custom PCs with high-end graphics cards and using Geffen Extender technology from the fibre optic networks.
Other key elements include an Analog Way scaler, the Quattro D that provides display splits, scaling and geometry corrections for the 32 inch and the 84 inch screens, each running a different resolution. Cue Show Control controls the Google PCs with a rack room touch panel that allows the technician or client to view assess and maintain the system at the PC level. The PC also links into Sysco’s email system, and on boot-up each morning it runs self-diagnostic routine and, if a fault is found, emails a distribution list including Sysco’s system engineers, the client’s IT team and NS Systems.”

What challenges did you encounter during the installation? How did you overcome them?
HR: “The greatest challenge was achieving the total integration of these complex systems and their infrastructure into the new terminal building, which automatically acquired the same Grade 1 listed status as the original Victorian St Pancras building next door. A lot of care had to go into integrating screens, cabling and other technical infrastructure into the fabric of the building, to ensure that the entire installation is in keeping with the Grade 1 listed building – an exceptionally sensitive environment for integrating technology. The installation is considered a success and our customer is satisfied by the results achieved”

Did Analog Way products allow you to meet your requirements? Were you satisfied by the result?
HR: “Thanks to the Quattro D seamless switcher, we managed scaling between various screen resolutions. We’ve been using Analog Way’s products for three years now. They are useful and well-engineered products which have helped solve specific integration issues.”

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