By: Steve Blom
If you find yourself driving down the Meridian Park Boulevard in Concord, California, and you happen to be thinking about buying a car, one dealership may have a technological edge that will catch your eye-literally. No. You're not in Las Vegas. You're looking at the latest innovation in retail exterior signage.
Concord Mitsubishi just installed a unique LED display at the dealership which seems to be custom made for a futuristic movie. Instead, with a candle power and visual display strength originally designed for homeland defense applications, John Arnaudon, President of Concord Mitsubishi, is grabbing the attention of nearly anyone driving by his dealership.
"Concord Mitsubishi installed the living window? sign system in our showroom on May 13, 2005. I want to let you know how excited we are with the results. In the first week it was up running, we have sold 4 new vehicles directly from the message on the living window?", says Arnaudon. "It's like having our own secret weapon". The living window? display, developed by Onscreen Technologies (www.onscreentech.com ), is a unique example of the confluence of new visual and wireless technologies combining to revolutionize the signage industry.
With the expansion of visual display technology, nearly every retail storefront uses some type of attention getting device. That is to say, every storefront that doesn't find themselves drowned out by their competition. The challenge now for many retail operators is how to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack.
Digital signage technology, one of the newest kids on the signage block, seems to continue the trend in the evolution of public advertisement. While traditional advertising and other business signage remains static, displayed on screens like signs and posters, dynamic digital signage involves taking static content and displaying it dynamically -- in full-motion -- on devices such as LED and plasma screens.
Anyone who has visited Las Vegas in the last 15 years has witnessed the beginnings of this technology. But the signs in use there are far too expensive to be afforded by most businesses.
OnScreen Technologies, Inc, a publicly traded company that owns the patent pending OnScreen display architecture, has developed an affordable, yet equally effective alternative to the expensive dynamic digital signage seen on the Strip. For the first time, nearly any business can afford to have eye-catching, futuristic dynamic digital displays.
OnScreen originally began developing emergency signage in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attack. The need for clear and powerful communications systems, using LED technology, that could be rapidly deployed, was at the heart of Onscreen's signage product. "We knew that we had to develop signage that could be used in either a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, or after a terrorist attack", states Charles Baker, CEO of OnScreen Technologies, Inc. "Commercial development of our breakthrough technology was bound to happen".
Onscreen also set out to incorporate wireless technologies within their emergency signage package so that one could remotely change the messaging on the display. This has also proved to be quite useful in commercial applications. Now a storefront can easily change their promotions hour to hour, if needed, with a few strokes on a lap top computer. It is so easy to change the message. Palaua Sparacino, Owner of Richard's Motors, LLC, found that this feature of the living window? was exactly what his dealership needed and said so, "We were able to advertise specific units or give general information (in real time). This concept is truly unique."
Al Monro, a leading expert in the digital display field, states that, "While it is a nascent market and people are feeling their way, we believe it will begin exploding over the next 12-18 months. The global market for digital displays is now worth over $400 million, and set to reach over $2 billion by 2009 according to iSuppli/Stanford Resources, the largest and most experienced market and technology research firm specializing in the electronic display industry."
Monro sees the digital signage technology continuing to improve, becoming more sophisticated and more affordable - especially in relation to screen and content quality. He sees a move toward more specific in-store promotional advertising and away from in-store TV because the technology needs to affect people at the point of purchase rather than just show moving images.
The future looks bright for companies like Onscreen as more and more retailers realize that effective optical communication solutions are now affordable and are also going to overtake and replace static signage and displays. Next time you're driving down the road you may even see more and more Living Windows beaming out the latest special of the day.
Bruce Prokopets, Executive Editor of Press Direct International. Go to www.pressdirectinternational.org for additional articles written by Bruce Prokopets
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