Sharp Collaborating With E Ink On “ePosters” For Digital Signage

March 29, 2023 by Dave Haynes

Japanese electronics giant Sharp has announced what it calls a collaboration with e-paper market leader E Ink to sell what are called ePaper posters as a green alternative to more conventional digital displays.

The first step in the collaboration will see Sharp selling a 42-inch monochrome “ePoster” digital paper display in the Japanese market, starting in April.

The companies are highlighting a couple of key benefits: low energy consumption (e-paper is reflective and doesn’t use power in bright conditions), and a light physical weight that takes away worries about mounting and weight-load capacity.

From the PR:

Digital signage is becoming increasingly popular, not only with advertisers, but as a communication tool in public spaces and facilities for transmitting information in a timely manner. However, it is still common to see paper posters used in areas where it is difficult to install digital signage, whether it is due to an electrical supply not being available, or the surface on which the signage would be installed does not have the necessary load-bearing capacity.

E Ink has revolutionized a variety of markets—such as e-books, digital notepads and electronic shelf labels—with their proprietary digital paper technology that features the visibility and portability of paper in a digital display format that requires no power to display an image. Since entering the digital signage business in 2005, Sharp has become a market leader with their “Changing city scenery, changing office scenery” theme. They have done this not only through the development of displays, but also through offering a one-stop solution for digital displays—from planning, production, consulting, and system construction to installation and maintenance—that can fit any given installation location.

Three years ago, the companies began collaborating with the goal of combining their strengths to contribute to the carbon-neutral era by popularizing digital posters. The potential of these digital posters has been confirmed through marketing activities, such as exhibiting prototype displays at exhibitions both within Japan and around the globe. As the first step in this collaboration, Sharp will release their 42-inch monochrome “ePoster” digital paper display in the Japanese market in early April 2023.

In addition to having a power consumption of 0 W during display, it also uses light reflected from outside sources to display its image, providing optimal visibility even in bright environments. The display is also thin and lightweight. Using their expertise in installing and operating digital signage, along with their extensive service network across Japan, Sharp will offer digital poster options to replace paper posters in locations where digital signage has been previously difficult to install.

“We are excited to work with Sharp on the expansion of their ePaper ePoster,” stated Naoki Sumita, President, Sales & Marketing, Japan, of E Ink. “As cities and communities look to reduce their carbon footprint, E Ink offers a grid-free solution to enable their sustainability efforts.”

Tetsuji Kawamura, Sharp executive officer and BU President of Smart Business Solutions BU, affirmed, “We are honored to be able to contribute to the development of the digital poster market with E Ink, the leader in digital paper technology. When it comes to digital signage, the achievement of digital posters with a power consumption of 0 W during use is a ground-breaking step in working towards creating a new market suitable for the carbon-neutral era.”

In addition to working towards future advancements, such as larger or color displays, both companies plan to strengthen their collaboration. The two companies plan to expand their efforts worldwide and develop a market for ePaper posters to serve as a new tool to disseminate information in the carbon-neutral era.

*1 Power is consumed when the power is turned on and images are changed (Including system standby time). 

I am not sure if this is just a Sharp thing or whether it is Sharp NEC, the joint venture the display companies went into back in 2020. Sharp is owned by Taiwan contract manufacturing giant Foxconn (Hon Hai), which has existing business ties with the owners of E Ink (also Taiwan-based) for the design of e-readers.

Leave a comment