“Where I live, the sign tells me that there’s no parking between midnight and 7 a.m. on the 1st to the 16th of the month, except for November to March when there is. No wonder the bulk of the parking tickets I get are from misreading the signs. Then there’s the visual clutter. They are just ugly.
That’s why these new electronic street signs that were installed in Sydney, Australia, are so interesting. They are made with E-Ink, the stuff of Kindles and Nooks, which is readable in sunlight and uses 99 percent less power than LEDs. That’s because it is ‘bi-stable’ — it only consumes power when it’s changing from one color to the other, as if you were flipping a coin. It’s also reflective, not pumping out light like an LED does. So once the sign is set, it holds that message until it’s changed.
Changing signs is expensive. According to Visionect, the company that built the Sydney signs, Los Angeles spent $9.5 million putting up 558,000 temporary parking restriction signs in a single year, ‘a strain on staff and resources that can be reduced by implementing permanent e-paper signs with content easily customizable via cellular networks.’
The signs are not being used everywhere yet; the company told The Register that “the technology came about through staff who saw the potential of e-reader technology to display real time information about clearways to manage traffic flows during special events.” It’s still too expensive to use for every parking sign, which is a shame; they could do so much more.
I’m reminded of Steve Martin’s wonderful movie, ‘L.A. Story,’ where the road signs offer all kinds of useful advice. This could be a start of a whole wonderful new world of urban interaction and communication.”
— Lloyd Alter, MMN
“…Netflix’s latest out-of-home campaign lets Snapchat users in France swap faces with its TV characters including House of Cards’ Frank Underwood and the namesake of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Urban passersby can take selfies in front of a Netflix billboard. By using Snapchat’s face-swapping feature, they can then create split-screen photos…”
—Christopher Heine, Ad Week
“When smokers walk by a certain billboard in Stockholm, something strange happens: The billboard coughs at them.
The innovative advertisement is paid for by a Swedish pharmacy chain that wants to encourage smokers to kick their smelly habit.
At first glance, the digital screen positioned outside a metro station shows only a simple photo of a model. But walk by with a lit cigarette and the man in the picture starts coughing, clearly bothered by the smoke.
The screen then changes again, offering various products sold by pharmacy chain Apotek Hjartat that can help smokers quit. Akestam Holst, the agency behind the campaign, created the effect by attaching smoke detectors to the digital advertising screen. They chose a location where people often smoke — Stockholm’s Odenplan square — and let the coughing begin.
The agency filmed the reactions of smokers — some express surprise, others react with laughter. The resulting video has been posted online and is being shared widely.
‘The purpose was to drive the conversation about this topic, documenting the reactions, encouraging people to live a healthy lifestyle,’ said Fredrik Kullberg, marketing director at Apotek Hjartat. ‘The reaction has been mostly really positive.’
The timing of the campaign was deliberate. “We released this initiative that aims to help people with one of the most common New Year’s resolutions — quit smoking,” said Ida Persson, spokeswoman for the agency.
According to the World Health Organization, over 20% of Swedes aged 15 and over smoke. Chewing tobacco is very popular…”
— Ivana Kottasova, CNN Business
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