Electronic paper-based, solar-powered bus stop digital signage just got a big endorsement from a major world city – as the governing body for transport in Sydney, Australia has signed off on a rollout of what are called eStops across that city.
The rollout comes on the heels of a six-month trial at a pair of busy bus stops in that city.
The displays use eInk technology developed by the Slovenian firm Visionect and a design by Australia-based Mercury Innovation. You can think of these units as nicely packaged and ruggedized Kindles, in terms of the core concept.
The bus stop signs are run entirely off solar panels, and are IoT-connected using mobile networking or WiFi. The panels are updated in real-time, in part, by GPS tracking information for buses. It also seems to have a cool feature that shows how full the buses are – as in “will I get in or not?”
The next deployment, shortly, will be permanent signs on Sydney’s busy airport route. I am told by Visionect there is a plan to go system-wide in Sydney with these signs.
This is the kind of smart cities stuff, involving networked screens, that offers genuine value and doesn’t exist, in some way, to support or justify an ad model. They’re just better versions of what have been around for decades in transport systems everywhere.
Mercury and Visionect see enough potential in this that they have started marketing and taking pre-orders on a “place and play” ready-to-go digital bus stop.