Digital Signage As Crowd Control?

December 31, 2014 by Dave Haynes

Photo - Pioneer Press: John Autey

Photo – Pioneer Press: John Autey

I’ve spent lots of time meeting with shopping mall operators talking about the wide variety of uses for digital signage around their facilities, but I never thought of crowd disbursement as one of them.

This is what was on the screen at the Mall of America, in Minneapolis-St. Paul, at the height of a protest inside the mega shopping center on Dec. 20th. The protest, timed for the the Saturday right before Christmas, saw 1,500 people disrupt shoppers to draw attention to the massive rift between local police services and African-Americans.

Police turned up in riot gear, and orders to disperse issued, including on screens in the mall’s main rotunda.

Interesting application of screen messaging. I’m not sure THIS IS A FINAL WARNING is a great choice of words for a crowd surrounded by police in riot gear. But then, “HEY PROTESTERS, When you’re done, check out the BOGO deals at Old Navy!” would have resonated.



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