The Silicon Valley media start-up Firefly, which puts car-top media screens on taxis and ride-share cars, has started using 2mm pitch LED displays that it says delivers 4X the visual crispness of competing display systems.
The new product – called Sunrise – supplants previous car-toppers that used 4mm pitch LED. This will sound nerdy, but going to 2mm makes it fine-pitch LED, and means brand advertising is going to look a lot better on the cars, even at relatively close viewing ranges.
A quick web search indicates there are companies marketing 2.5mm units, but 4, 5 and 6mm are more common. There are also companies like LG-MRI that have rugged LCD taxi-toppers.
The great majority of direct view LED that we all see outdoors is 6mm pitch or even coarser pitches, but those displays tend to be up high and at a distance where tighter pitches are unnecessary.
I reference all this because it is another indicator of how competition, production volumes and lowering costs are combining to mainstream fine pitch LED and make it feasible even on things like car-toppers.
An interesting wrinkle with Firefly is how the display units have temperature gauges, accelerometers and air quality sensors, which provide insights on things like traffic congestion. That data is open for government planners, and others, to use.
The new devices will roll out in all of Firefly’s current markets, which include San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, and Chicago. Firefly says it will 2X its number of screens in the New York area, and add coverage in suburban Westchester County.
This is what the original toppers looked like … not bad, but definitely less crisp.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 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, on Canada’s east coast.