My start in digital signage came when I left the newspaper business (wisely) 21 years ago and joined a company that was putting in small LCD screens on the door header or in the corner of office tower elevators.
I did not think, a generation later, that LCD tech, computing and WiFi would have progressed to a degree that the entire walls of elevator “cabs” would be huge HD screens behind glass.
I definitely did not envision short-throw projectors on the door header pushing video images onto the closed doors of the elevator interior.
This is a company called Eastidea, from Shanghai, promoting something called the EL-Mini. Its solution includes CMS software, with the primary application being advertising.
The solution comes as a kit, and includes a roll of light reflection film that can be applied on the stainless steel doors (necessary because the projector only pushes about 260 nits, which is pretty feeble).
This leaves me with mixed feelings. A ton of direct experience tells me people do indeed look at screens in elevators, because it’s looking at that, or their phones, or their shoes. Putting this into an all-in kit with relatively minimal impact on elevator weight or operation is going to work better for both building owner and elevator safety people, who don’t like extra weight, gear or protruding things people might bonk their heads on.
But a kit is not as simple as it presents itself. You still need to power these things, and that means (outside of China) getting VERY expensive elevator mechanics to tap into the elevator power, and then (likely) adding something in between that will level out power that is loosely termed as dirty (it can spike and kill sensitive electronics).
I also think 260 nits is the sort of not-brightness you get from those $40 pocket projectors on Alibaba.
There’s also a reasonable question to ask about reliability, as projectors use mirrors that need to be precisely aligned. Elevators are like 24/7 shake tables, that are vibrating away as they run up and down.
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.