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Harman PA and safety systems equip Canada’s Fort McMurray airport

The new international terminal building at Fort McMurray International Airport features Harman Professional technology throughout including PA and life safety systems installed by the Vancouver division of AV integrator PJS Systems.

The new $258m, 160,000sqft terminal can accommodate 1.5 million passengers a year and opened in June 2014. It has six gates, two baggage carousels and hosts five airlines, it also has 16 retail, food and drink outlets. The Harman Professional PA system covers the entire facility.

“Each of the gates, ticket counters, offices, the baggage claim area and other locations has its own zone, so communication to passengers and even internally among the airport staff has to be carefully coordinated,” said Fazle Quasha, IT systems coordinator at Fort McMurray International Airport. “In specifying the system, we were looking for something that would be absolutely effective in serving our needs, yet is easy to use and requires little maintenance.”

To meet the brief, airport management and PJS Systems chose an all-Harman integrated communications solution based around the IDX Information Delivery System. The IDX is a complete hardware and software system that provides paging, background music, pre-recorded message and life safety capability for airports, transit facilities and other commercial applications. Among the system’s key components are the IDX GBS-1 Gate Boarding System, PDC400 Server, DAC-8 Digital Audio Controllers and TTS-2 English and French Text-to-Speech Language CS-1 Libraries. The installation also includes 18 BSS Audio DT720 Desktop Touchscreen Stations, a BSS Audio RM720 Rack Mount Touchscreen Station, BSS Audio signal processors, AKG mics and Crown DCi Network amplifiers.

A key requirement was that the system could be controlled and managed by just one person. “I handle the system and all the software personally,” said Quasha. “I manage all the zones, adjust the volumes, oversee signal routing and everything else that’s required. It’s a huge system, yet the routing and switching is unbelievable. The cable mapping feature alone makes everything really easy to refer to and understand. The BSS desktop touchscreen stations offer an extremely simple and straightforward yet effective user interface.”

Quasha concluded: “The system can readily be switched to deliver emergency messages and there’s an emergency announcement button that instantly raises the volume by 10dB so that everyone can hear it. We did not have that option before. It’s one of the many details that exemplifies the way that every single aspect of the system is completely thought out and designed for maximum usability and effectiveness.”