Ask the Board – February 5, 2018 | DOUG ANDERSON


If you could magically ask the digital signage industry for anything at all, some new innovation that would dazzle and amaze your clients and peers, what would it be?”

I have a very specific response for this, and it partially exists today. It’s by a company that is winning awards for the innovation – namely a digital display that can replace a window, an LED display on one side that can be function as a window when viewed from the opposite side. I know that at least one company (ClearLED) that has this technology for buildings and static structures.

What would rock my world (the transit field) would be to have this technology for mobile vehicles. Suddenly vehicles of every kind could become a mobile advertising or messaging device with exposure to vast numbers of people in multiple geographic areas – and with GPS in the media players – could even change or target the content to fit the locale or demographic.

As long as passengers, commuters, riders, inside the vehicle could still see out the “window” all would be well. Obviously, there are other considerations for such a design such as sufficient power to drive the device, and robust waterproof mounting etc.

In the transit world – trains and buses are covered with paper advertising on the outside to generate additional revenue. If the expansive windows on these vehicles could become signage the revenue generation could dramatically increase – quite possibly more than sufficient to pay for initial acquisition costs of the displays. 

Just like replacing paper billboards along the expressways with digital displays, more content could be displayed for given surface area, digital displays can be seen from a farther distance thus expanding the audience, and can be viewed in the dark, further expanding the viewing time. By integrating GPS into the solution, advertising could be more effectively demographically targeted thus raising revenue per ad still further.

Why replace windows? Why not just stick displays on the side of a vehicle? Doing so is easier but it’s ugly and fraught with problems like sealing from the elements, vibrations, problems washing via automated washers and frankly windows already consume most of the outward facing real estate. Since window installations have already solved these problems it just makes sense to integrate and add purpose while keeping everything clean, orderly and stylish.

I’m ready to pilot this technology today – and will do it in a heartbeat – if somebody will step up.

About Author

Senior Director – Information Technology
LA Metro Transit

End User Council

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