Making cities smarter with ePaper
As technologically advanced urban areas, designed to take on 21st century challenges, smart cities have the potential to meet the needs of a global urban population growing at an astonishing 3 million people per week.
Making the right investments in smart city projects can mitigate the frustrations city-dwellers and tourists typically feel towards archaic systems for public services, run down signage infrastructure, traffic and pollution.
However, to ensure a city’s evolution is truly smart, any technology investments should be energy efficient, independent from the power grid and visible under any conditions, all features and benefits boosted by ePaper technology.
ePaper supporting a more sustainable future
Over the years, ePaper has established itself as a proven technology with genuine use cases for a variety of different applications, including smart cities.
Despite glass being a common choice for digital signage due to its low price point, glass displays are susceptible to damage in poor weather conditions and vandalism. Consequently, it’s perhaps no surprise that ePaper is becoming a fitting alternative, with its daylight readability and low power consumption functionalities, making it perfect for the delivery of smart city information.
An ePaper display offers perfect readability in less than ideal light conditions, such as under direct sunlight. Unlike LCD and OLED displays, which become virtually unreadable in bright sunlight, ePaper uses a bi-polar pigment beneath its non-reflective surface as opposed to backlighting, making it more user-friendly for outdoor signage like timetables and retail signage.
Another noteworthy advantage of ePaper is that its screen will only draw on its power source when changing content. It will not use any electricity to retain an image that is already being displayed.
This paves the way for a smart city solution that not only has extremely low power consumption but that can also function independently from the power grid. ePaper displays are powered by a rechargeable battery or, in some cases, local solar, which allows for cordless installation at remote locations, while maintaining seamless updating to show real-time departures and travel updates at bus or train shelters, for example.
ePaper signage is also an affordable and customisable technology, which can be connected through a cellular network to refresh the information being displayed in smart cities in real-time. This forms part of a hassle-free online process that takes place at a central location, requiring very little effort and cost for the city operator, which is fitting for even the most demanding city environments.
ePaper smart cities in action
From the traditional information systems that we were typically used to (printed maps and notifications) to the modern digitalised displays that are smart and effective, smart city technology is saving citizens 125 hours per week. Here are some examples of ePaper for smart cities in action.
Trialled by TFL (Transport for London) in 2015, four London bus stops embraced ePaper technology to create digital timetables that displayed travel information for passengers. The timetables were created using an ePaper display, which seamlessly updated to show real-time departures and travel updates. Thanks to its low power consumption, these displays can easily switch content while remaining ‘on’ over a long period of time – a sustainable solution for a smart city environment.
Another example comes from Dresden Elektronik, built on a similar idea by using our technology to create ‘deZign’. The ePaper timetable for bus stops was implemented across urban stations and remote countryside roads, throughout Dresden and its outskirts. Coupled with solar power tech, the displays can remain on for an even longer period of time and this makes them particularly attractive for advertisers looking to engage local communities around the clock.
However, ePaper displays don’t just lend themselves to applications in travel. More and more companies are looking for durable materials that require minimal maintenance, such as those used for billboards and retail advertising.
As we move further into 2018 and as cities become increasingly smart, Plastic Logic will continue to play a pivotal role in the development of smart signage for transportation, retail and architecture, particularly with the reduction in manufacturing costs and increased demands within the industry.