My introduction to digital signage many years ago involved what remains one of the toughest kinds of installations for screens and PCs.
Elevators are nothing but bumps and jolts, dust, grease and carbon, spiking voltage and wildly expensive elevator mechanics. I project-managed and cut the POs on about $8 million worth of elevator screens one year.
So when I read about people trying to put big screens in elevators, my instinctive reaction is: “Poor bastards.”
The costs have come down ginormously in the last 15 years, but the complications – like rough environments and extraordinarily expensive, required labor – have not changed.
An Israeli company called DigiGage is marketing a product that installs large flat panels on the back or side walls of elevator cab interiors, and uses motion sensors to play out content based on the elevator’s movement. So when you are going up, the content could look like a window to the outside of the building, or something visually grand like climbing up to the tops in a redwood forest.
The company has announced a partnership with the display solutions provider Primeview USA to offer a set-up that blends DigiGage software with Primeview’s industrial displays.
“DigiGage provides the software and the sensory technology that detects the movement of the elevator and adjusts the content accordingly and controls the information layer while Primeview provides the custom display technology that synchronizes with the DigiGage software for high-impact and quality visual experiences,” explains DigiGage co-founder and COO Ben Kidron, in a press release.
The DigiGage software and sensor analyzes the height, speed and floor locations of the elevator in real time and adjusts the digital view in correlation with the elevator’s movement, thus turning the display into a digital window.
There is also an information layer, says the release, that includes building messages, floor-based messages, floor numbering, news feeds and social media. The system is controlled from the cloud, by the building, using any Internet-connected device (even a mobile smartphone).
Primeview’s display technology options for the elevator solution includes mirror OLED displays, 4K Ultra-HD displays, and LED LCD video wall displays with IPS (in-place switching) for portrait and landscape modes.
It’s actually kind of interesting, and I have seen installations like that here and there. But the costs of renovating an elevator and putting in OLED screens or commercial 4K displays would be insanely expensive. Never mind the unplanned costs, like some elevator service sales guy saying the weight added on one side by the screen means the elevator is out of balance, so they need a forklift-load of money delivered so they can fix that real or imagined problem.
As you might guess, I don’t miss doing elevators …
The company has partnerships and test units with several of the big elevator companies, which is a smart way to go at this. Big new buildings have overall costs that come with a lot of zeroes, so adding big screens is often just rounding error money.
The two companies say they’ll have a demo system set up next week at InfoComm.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than 13 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia.