What If A Big Building’s Construction Wrap Or Hoarding Was A Display?

April 17, 2024 by Dave Haynes

The German company LightnTec has been steadily refining its unique LED display technology, which I’d inelegantly describe as a rugged tarpaulin that can double as a dynamic display.

The Karlsruhe company has been at it for a few years now, and as happens with display tech, their products over time have become  lighter, brighter, thinner and finer. LightnTec now has a 7.8mm pixel pitch display – which brings it in line with the pixel pitches used for lots of digital OOH billboard displays in big cities.

That pitch for an outdoor LED would normally be a big “Yeah, whatever” –  except that these things are not stacks of tiled LED cabinets permanently affixed to built structures, with all the engineering and cost associated with that. They’re tarps, that weigh about 4 kilograms per square meter, and they are IP66 rated for the elements.

The display is rated at 5,800 nits brightness, which is more than enough to win visibility battles with direct sunlight.

The opportunity for this tech, I think, is with all of those buildings, all over the world, that get covered up by massive tarps or wooden hoardings when they undergo major repairs, upgrades or extensions. A historic building might be covered up for three years, and most of the time, there’s nothing on them. Once in a while you see a stylized replication of the form of the building, so passersby have a sense of what’s behind the covers.

Using a dynamic tarp means sections, or the whole darn thing, can be active and changeable. And because it is a tarp, the weight load doesn’t require structures to be reinforced. The tarp aspect also means the thing gets decommissioned easily, and quite possibly re-used somewhere else.

By-laws differ by jurisdiction, and there will be cities that would never allow it, but where it could be done, this kind of tech could make much more of big structures that get covered up.

I have done a podcast in the past with founder Florian Kall, and finally saw the product in person last summer at the Digital Signage Summit in Munich. This is a video I shot that shows a version of the product.


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