Airports wing passengers to their destinations, but they're not often known as destinations themselves. All that may change with the dazzling architectural entertainment aspects of the new Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles Airport (LAX), for which Smart Monkeys, Inc. provided technical consulting, systems design, programming and implementation. People may start buying plane tickets just to view the innovative media features enhancing passenger departures and arrivals.

The Integrated Environmental Media System (IEMS) has been designed to create both an unprecedented passenger experience and a new source of non-aeronautical revenues for LAX. Developed by MRA International in concert with Los Angeles World Airport's (LAWA) executive team, the IEMS built within the Bradley West terminal architecture offers the first corporate sponsorship programs in a U.S. airport.

The IEMS consists of seven media features, designed by Sardi Design, The Welcome Wall greets arriving international passengers as they exit passport control and descend to baggage claim. A dramatic 80-foot portrait-mode LED wall bisects the passenger departure bridge with content ranging from stunning atmospherics to joyful scenes of greeting.

The Bon Voyage Wall delivers a unique send off for departing passengers as they clear security and cross the departure bridge to the Great Hall. The Story Board is a 120-foot long multi-panel LED display that spans the west end of the Great Hall and is suspended on custom trussing so the panels appear to be floating.
The Time Tower is built around the Great Hall's elevator tower. The 72-foot high, four-sided media feature has an upper surface composed of high resolution 6mm LEDs and a base of 10mm LEDs behind diffused glass panels whose interactive surface reacts to the gestures of passengers as they approach. Above the Time Tower is the curved Destination Board, which displays flight departure information while entertaining passengers with visual data on destination cities. An arched LED crest displays graceful patterns related to the display.

Two Portals provide a transitional experience as passengers leave the Great Hall en route to their departure gates. Each Portal consists of ten 28-foot tall columns of vertically-stacked 55-inch LCD monitors. As passengers walk by the Portals their movement causes the content to move and transform.

Montreal's Moment Factory was executive content producer for the features; LA's Digital Kitchen was content co-producer, and Electrosonic was the integration company for the entire system.

To ensure the redundancy and robustness of the IEMS, Smart Monkeys, Inc. devised a strong network backbone, created control and data management systems, and specified video servers and players that would withstand the rigors of almost constant operation.

At the heart of the system is the Smart Monkeys, Inc. ISAAC platform (Integrated Scheduling and Automation Controller). This platform is a Virtualization cluster that allows for unparalleled reliability, redundancy and scalability in an incredibly compact system.

The project has received global attention as the most provocative example of a fully integrated, intelligent media environment.

Partial List of Equipment:

  • Smart Monkeys, Inc. ISAAC platform
  • Daktronics indoor LED walls
  • Grass Valley K2 Servers
  • Moment Factory X-Agora Interactive Servers

  • Spinetix HMP200 Signage Players
  • Medialon Manager Show Control Software

  • Vista Spyder X20 video processing
  • Pesa and Extron video matrix

Design Team:

  • Smart Monkeys, Inc. Lead Designer: Stephan Villet

  • Smart Monkeys, Inc. Technical Director: Alan Anderson

  • Smart Monkeys, Inc. Control Architect: Mitch Schuh
  • Smart Monkeys, Inc. Network Architect: Dennis "DJ" Cole
  • Project Director: MRA International
  • Design Director / Creative Producer: Sardi Design
  • New TBIT Architect: Fentress Architects
  • System Designer and Technical Consultant: Smart Monkeys, Inc
  • Executive Content Producer: Moment Factory

  • Content Producer: Digital Kitchen

  • Systems Engineering & Integration: Electrosonic
  • Display Technology: Daktronics