Passenger Information Systems (PIDS) are digital information systems that display real-time information for passengers. Train operating companies are constantly striving to improve passenger satisfaction by offering more than just arrival and departure times. They also offer news and entertainment content as well as safety and emergency announcements and much more.

These days, advertising is an important revenue stream for train operators and that’s why PIDS are becoming more and more indispensable. A national train operator in Belgium was looking for an effective solution to upgrade their existing and outdated passenger information system, whilst providing extra value to their customer experience.

System requirements

  • Powerful image processing for graphic displays and various digital multimedia formats
  • Low power consumption and efficient cooling
  • Intel AMT / VPro technology for remote management
  • An excellent TCP / IP LAN solution through which the PIDS database, input terminals and displays all connect in real-time
  • Simple maintenance and great reliability, stability and connectivity
  • Compact form factor
  • Future-proof system

Project implementation

To provide passengers and visitors with up-to-date real-time information, Clear Channel International chose Advantech for its digital signage network in Belgian’s railways and subway stations. This was just the first part of a much bigger project, which forecasted a five-year contract and a network of IP54 – 70in multimedia totems in different configurations and with different customisations.

The PIDS displays were integrated with AIMB-270 Mini-ITX motherboards inside. The 70in displays were installed indoors in the main station aisles and used to convey digital signage content and other information. In addition, 46in touch-screen totems were also installed from the SNCB railway company directly on to their outdoor train platforms.

The displays receive real-time train timetables as well as news, weather and advertising. Because of its highly compact design, the AIMB-270 was easily integrated into each display. Advantech developed customised APIs to support FHD (full high definition) resolutions for larger displays and provided dedicated programmes to run diagnostic applications.

Featuring real-time displays, the PIDS database, input terminals and display monitors are all connected via a TCP/IP compliant LAN. The AIMB-270 fanless and energy efficient design ensures utmost reliability, keeping passengers well informed and their travel experience easier, safer and more convenient.

Conclusion and benefits

AIMB-270 high performance Mini-ITX industrial motherboards proved to be the perfect solution for passenger information display systems in the Belgium railway stations. Dual independent displays, rich I/Os, support for DDR3 up to 4GB, and of course Advantech’s renowned industrial reliability, made these compact boards the ideal fit for the train operator’s current and future requirements.

Advantech technology created an intelligent PIDS display that showcases passenger information and entertainment news.

The system has been successful, with several key benefits:

  • Provide extra value to customer experience providing real time information
  • AIMB-270 was easily integrated into each display because of its highly compact design
  • Advantech developed customised APIs to support FHD (Full High Definition) resolutions for larger displays consumption
  • Energy efficient design of AIMB-270
  • Industrial reliability and efficiency