Displays put moving pictures on the tube
Novel multiscreen e-signage system allows escalator passengers to see a type of short film for the time they are on the walkway or stairs.
Escalator users normally spend one to three minutes on the stairs, during which time they like to be entertained as there is nothing else to do apart from allow oneself to be transported up or down.
However, the time spent in front of individual posters on the side walls amounts to only a few seconds, which too short to appreciate their content in any real sense.
To provide efficient advertising alongside escalators and moving walkways, Esprit Digital has developed an e-signage system where images are "passed on" from screen to screen, thereby allowing viewers to see a type of short film for the time they are on the walkway or stairs.
The system consists of several special screens developed by Esprit Digital for this particular escalator application.
At the core of the screens are e-signage LCD panels made by Sharp, which come in various sizes from 23 to 65in.
"We decided to work with Sharp as our partner as the Japanese manufacturer's e-signage LCD panels are the most robust displays with the best image quality features on the market today", says James Brenner, Esprit Digital's Director Screen Technology.
In fact, all e-signage TFT LCD panels by Sharp are designed for a continuous operating output of 50,000 hours at ambient temperatures between 0 and 50C.
Contrast ratios of up to 2,000:1 and a viewing angle of 176 degrees in all directions create an optimum image representation of the panels.
The panels are contained in special housings, in accordance with the IP65 standard, which protect the display from vandalism.
A powerful computer featuring a 1.66GHz processor and 1Gbyte solid-state Flash memory has also been integrated to control the monitor unit and to provide the image content in digital video format.
The individual screens are synchronised by a central computer.
The ImageFlow software developed by Esprit Digital synchronises the video loops on the individual displays with the escalator speed so that viewers see an advert running across the various monitors.
In addition, the mainframe computer serves to update the content of the connected screens, regardless of the number of monitors used.
Several hundreds or a thousand monitors may be controlled via the system.
The e-signage escalator technology has already been tested in live applications.
The first project was installed in 2005 at the Tottenham Court Road Underground Station along a 40m escalator shaft and featured 66 x 23in screens.
The system has proven hugely reliable.
Since its startup three years ago, it has been delivering a reliability rate of 99.97% and won the Campaign Outdoor Innovation of the Year Award in 2005.
Since then, e-signage escalator applications with a total of about 1750 screens have been installed in the London Underground shafts.
Transport contractors in Paris, Barcelona, Moscow, Shanghai and Hong Kong have already shown interest in digital escalator advertising.
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