Transit Screen Arrives, But Is It A Few Years Too Late?

May 31, 2013 by Dave Haynes


A small company in Washington, DC is trying to expand the footprint for a digital sign application that displays everything a commuter in that market might want to know about getting around.

It appears to look and work great, but it’s hard to wonder why people wouldn’t just tap this information on their smartphone.

Digital Signage Connection has a post up about how Transit Screen does a real-time snapshot of all Metro, Capital BikeShare, Metrobus, Circulator, and ART bus transit arrivals at a given location, puts that up on anything from a desktop and tablet to a large screen in places like coffee shops, office lobbies and residential block entrances.

The company taps into the APIs of transit and other services and extracts and organizes the data to appear on screens, and provides  steady updates. It’s just squirts of data so it does not chew up a lot of bandwidth.

I really like stuff on screens that’s useful and well presented like this. But I would have liked it much more 5-10 years ago, before there was relatively cheap and easy broadband and many people were walking around with smartphones. Yes, not everyone has a smartphone, but a very large percentage do.

The company is now planning to kit out San Francisco in the same way. Unfortunately, San Francisco probably has the highest smartphone penetration on the planet, so the potential user base is even smaller.

It works on tablets already, so it’s probably HTML5. I’d be pushing this thing as a free mobile app with geo-location, and making a paid one available with push alerts or something to create a revenue stream. The problem is, not surprisingly, that there are already several apps out there doing just that.

I’d also think about going to someone like ScreenFeed and getting the capability licensed to networks through them as (and if) markets get added. It’s good, sticky content that is a lot more important – depending on the venue and context – than news feeds.



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