The city of Calgary in western Canada now has smart city-ish digital posters along four new rapid transit bus lines – showing next bus information in rotation with booked advertising.
The screens went in on the nickel of the media company PATTISON Outdoor Advertising, with 87 freestanding structures across the three and soon four new lines of Calgary’s MAX Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service. In all, PATTISON now has a combined total of 172 screens running on the city’s bus and light rail system. At least some LRT platforms already had screens with next train information.
The ‘Next Bus’ Automated Passenger Information System (APIS) uses 55-inch portrait mode outdoor displays – which have to handle everything Calgary weather throws at it, which is everything, anytime. Every city, everywhere, has residents who joke that if you don’t like the weather, just wait 15 minutes, because it will change. In Calgary, it really does, with things called chinooks and mountain air that can produce snow in the city in July (seen it).
Much of the next bus stuff I have seen lately has been E Ink-based and small, so it is interesting to see big 55″ LCDs deployed. It is reasonable to think adding a “smart” component to the pitch for the media concession helped win the deal against competing media companies.
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.