The Queen Mary in Long Beach selected Insteo with AOPEN to create digital signage aboard this historic cruise liner.
Rich in history, the Queen Mary dominated transatlantic passenger transportation before the jet age circa late 1950’s. Long retired from sailing the seas, the interior has been well preserved to its former glory of pleasure cruises for royalty, dignitaries, and celebrities and now serves as a unique museum including a venue for guest to celebrate special occasions and/or stay aboard.
Deploying digital signage in a museum might be a challenge in and of itself. Add to this the task of blending art deco with today’s technology then it becomes a quite an undertaking. The Queen Mary and Evolution Hospitality wanted a unique method for educating and informing visitors to replace signage from the 1970s retrofit when the ship arrived in Long Beach. The signage was tired and outdated, and didn’t fit the richness of the interior.
In replacing this signage and the more modern pop up banner stands that began to be used, the Queen Mary historical staff had to ensure that their beautiful ship doesn’t appear like an electronics store.
Mounting signage in place of existing printed poster locations would not be allowed. The Historical Consultants made a mandate – drill no holes in this ship! The Queen Mary is protected by numerous historical societies and affixing signage to the interior would have meant damaging irreplaceable veneers and marring the historical interior. This meant custom cabinetry that had to blend into the Queen Mary’s Art Deco interior.
Beyond these design challenges were the physical wiring and networking concerns. Signage was placed on numerous decks and had to be installed in areas where WIFI or 4G would be impossible, meaning pulling networking cable through decades old raceways and conduits.
The Queen Mary chose Insteo with AOPEN Digital Engines to help modernize and engage with visitors of this majestic ocean liner all while preserving its’ charm.
Project commenced in early 2013, consisting of numerous meetings with Events, IT and Historical consultants to ensure all parties were heard. Insteo began with a focus of not only minimizing the impact to the original interior, but creating custom cabinetry that looked as if it had always been there to enclose displays, some with touch enabled capabilities.
Insteo custom cabinetry design matched the Streamline Moderne style in use during the height of the Great Depression. Utilizing veneers and creating custom stain and varnish mixes that matched textures and techniques used decades ago, each cabinet was custom designed to fit its location.
In addition to cabinetry, Insteo developed the unique content presentation for the screens, including historical content, way finding, attractions and event lists running on AOPEN Digital Engines connected to displays including touch enabled monitors. Insteo designed custom touch applications using graphics and veneer photos to help the digital sign itself further work in harmony with the décor.
Working in conjunction with Queen Mary IT staff, we selected locations for the cabinets that would provide the best placement for visitors, but also minimize the impact of cable runs.
This was a complex project which meant staging of the installation over several months. We noticed that almost immediately on install people would begin to interact with the screens, browsing the historical timelines and using the wayfinding solutions. Visitors find the cabinets very approachable, as they blend in with the rich historical feel of this amazing old cruise liner.
Final installation took place in September and October 2013, but early results point to visitors being better informed about events and better educated about the ships rich history.