Commercial Integrator magazine recently ran an article entitled the “10 Wacky Uses of Digital Signage”. It’s a fun and interesting look into a diverse set of interactive digital signage applications. The article describes displays that range from users posting photos on a McDonald’s media wall for free food, to a 44×42 meter display projected on the side of buildings for Nike’s “Write the Future” World Cup soccer ad campaign.

While the range of applications is impressive, none of the examples seem that “wacky” to me. In fact, there are two common threads in all the examples:

1) the ability to deploy a large number of pixels in a challenging venue, and

2) make those pixels publicly available for people to use rather than just look at.

Not that wacky because there’s a whole ecosystem of companies (including Mersive) working towards a vision of interactive, publicly available, and lower cost digital media environments that will impact the way we work, learn, and play. A lot of progress has already been made on lowering the cost and complexity of some truly amazing display systems. Displays that were relegated to elite research centers, and never seen by the general public, are now finding their way into conference rooms, entertainment venues, and public arenas. (Mersive’s conference room has a 12 million pixel video wall that cost us less than $50K).

The next shoe to drop will come from advances in media interaction and interoperability. Beyond touch and gesture, a set of companies is exploring how to seamlessly interconnect public displays into an interactive fabric that will provide mobile devices with the ability to access and control all those pixels. At that point, a new public infrastructure (and all the things that implies for everything from how we communicate, elect officials, advertise and entertain one another) will be born.

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About Christopher Jaynes

Jaynes received his doctoral degree at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he worked on camera calibration and aerial image interpretation technologies now in use by the federal government. Jaynes received his BS degree with honors from the School of Computer Science at the University of Utah. In 2004, he founded Mersive and today serves as the company's Chief Technology Officer. Prior to Mersive, Jaynes founded the Metaverse Lab at the University of Kentucky, recognized as one of the leading laboratories for computer vision and interactive media and dedicated to research related to video surveillance, human-computer interaction, and display technologies.

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