Meet George Jetson. If that name rings a bell, or you are now singing the theme song, you must remember “The Jetsons,” an animated TV show that aired in the early 1960s about a family living in a futuristic world, living above ground in sky pad apartments, traveling in an aerocar, and having a robot for a maid.
Today, thanks to Elon Musk, we are coming close to driverless cars being the norm, and thanks to Helen Greiner, the Roomba is washing some of our floors. Yet there is booming technology that is available, affordable, yet being underutilized by the Jewish community. Digital signs – information systems that display images, videos, provide information, and/or enable interactivity – are an excellent marketing and communication tool that is within reach of most businesses, large and small.
The fifth annual Digital Signage Expo (DSE) was held this month in Las Vegas and the exhibitors did not disappoint. There were over a thousand attendees and the convention center was packed more than 60 international DS companies displaying their eye popping, innovative digital hardware and software. Undoubtedly, you have been seeing more and more digital signs (adding to or replacing print advertising) at venues everywhere from model homes to restaurants, airports, universities, hotels, sporting arenas, schools, synagogues, and corporate events. This is a multi-billion dollar industry which is growing exponentially.
Several new technologies were unveiled at DSE 2016 including LG’s OLED. These incredible signs have a curved design that link two, three, or four tiles together. They can be paper thin (under 9 mm in depth). They are dual-sided so viewers can have a two-sided multi-media experience. Also displayed at the expo were fully bendable screens and panels.
Several DS companies featured eyeglass-free 3D signage. Images like Coca-cola cans appeared to come right off the screen. Dreaming of having an iPad or cell phone where 3D images float in front of you? You don’t have to pretend because these devices are available for sale for under $500. Particularly impressive was Dimenco, a company based in the Netherlands (recently sold to a Chinese company) which was selling the mobile three-dimensional phones and iPads at the show.
Solus Robots featured digital signs on wheels. The robot can use facial recognition to identify the age and gender of the party. The robot can answer questions, shake the hands of humans, and wave. In a retail environment, the robot can play information about a product and can do a price check. Shoppers loved Solus’s virtual dressing room. They could see themselves in any dress or outfit. GDS displayed signage used at a drive-through so you can see and talk to the person taking your order.
If you are worried about how these signs would fare in various climates, GDS’s solution is optical bonding (a process which fills the air gap between the glass and the LCD with a special material.) Baanto introduced their state of the art touch screen technology which results in reliability for professions such as engineering, aerospace, manufacturing, and medical fields. The VP of marketing for the company Get Woven explained how they provide content from media (comedy such as Jimmy Fallon, sports, or music videos) so that your personalized content will appear as a real TV network. The expo was filled to the brim with exciting and impressive new technologies.
How could digital signage be used to benefit Jewish life? Synagogues could generate more revenue using donor boards and advertising banners. In schools, uploaded content could enhance lessons, and security robots that are kid-friendly could maintain a 24/7 visual presence in classrooms, hallways, and at doors. These are just a few of the ways this digital sign technology could advance our lives.