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Viking Line takes digital signage on board boats, ferries

MARIEHAMN, Finland — Viking Line, a Finnish operator of ferries and cruise ferries, has partnered with digital signage software provider Scala to implement digital signs onboard its seven vessels. The digital signage features both informational and ad-based programming and reaches passengers at various points on its ships.

The ad-based network shows tax-free promotions in the most trafficked areas of the boat near the shops, restaurant and casinos. The information network shows content on large touch screens, including opening hours, restaurant menus, weather, news, entertainment programming, conference information and possible delays.

Viking Line started to look into digital signage for two main reasons. It was printing about 2,000 sheets of paper every day for the cruise program, and screens that could show this information would reduce printing costs dramatically. Viking Line also wanted to use digital and dynamic posters to increase tax-free sales. It felt a digital network would also raise the professional profile and brand image of the ferries.

Scala was first chosen to do a pilot in one of its ferries, Mariella, and has expanded the network to seven ferries. Currently, Mariella runs 15 screens and six channels. By summer 2009, all of its ferries will have digital signage networks installed.

“Viking Line is impressed with the potential in the software, and so far we have not discovered any limitations. We are very satisfied with the user interface, and I also want to emphasize the latest Photoshop plug-in that has been added to convert Photoshop-layered elements to Scala script,” said Kenneth Kronström, technical project manager of Viking Line.

Viking Line has reduced its printing costs dramatically, and the company now feels much more environmentally friendly.

“Sales of promotional products have increased remarkably since the screens were installed. We clearly see that the customers perceive the message, and they more frequently purchase the promoted products,” said René Engman, Viking Line’s deputy director of IT.                 Viking Line has already started to think about new digital signage projects. Its next plan is installing screens at the terminals. This is an area where people are typically waiting and would be receptive to information such as the cruise program and promotional products.

Viking Line also wants to develop a new script together with Scala that could show passengers exactly where the boat is at sea. A screen with a sea map and coordinates showing the boat’s position would be continuously updated along the trip.

digital signage on board boats, ferries