Digital signage is a unique prospect in the realm of wellness tech. For companies like Blackdove, it’s a means of creating a beautiful, artful space on-demand. In collaborations between companies and designers, like a recent display done by Samsung and Korean design firm d’strict, it’s used to introduce natural elements and scenery into manmade centers. And yet still, companies are exploring combining digital signage with soundscape applications to create meditative, restorative spaces in hospitals and care centers.
That being said, when one says “digital signage” it’s hard for people to imagine it as anything but a sign on an LCD screen. Yet another issue comes in with the fact that often times, what spaces are able to employ digital signage can be limited based on layout. That’s because, traditionally, the pieces of the system have remained the same.
Digital display screens and video walls have typically been the apparatus for viewing in most digital signage systems. Not only does it create a certain limitation regarding its applications, but it also takes away a level of immersiveness when trying to transport people away to a new space. Unless the screen takes up an entire wall, which can get costly, most scenes will be relegated to a noticeable frame at the end of the day.
The solution? Projection might be the first thought in the evolution of immersive scene-setting. It’s bringing excitement back to the digital signage category, and the “well” minded should be able to piece together some of the exciting opportunities this offers. But, it’s projecting onto one medium in particular that is proving to have the most exciting opportunities, and that is: glass.
ActiveScene and Glass Projection
As an example for glass’s potential, one need only look at the new ActiveScene from Sharp/NEC, which transforms the average glass wall or partition into an on-demand digital signage screen. Through a partnership Avery Dennison’s Vela Dynamic System, ActiveScene provides a turnkey solution that allows integrators to retrofit any existing glass wall with projector and film solution to transform plain glass into a transformative digital scene.
“We’re trying to change the way people look at signage and what they can do with it,” says Richard McPherson, senior product manager for projectors, Sharp/NEC. “To offer them something different.”
Every Pane a Painting (and More)
While ActiveScene is capable of everything a digital signage screen is capable of in terms of content, it really shines through in terms of versatility and fluidity. In boutique environments it can display mood-setting scenes to excite and comfort. Then, in corporate boardrooms, libraries or even schools, it can frost over for privacy and turn back to transparent when no longer needed. In healthcare, hospitality or large venue environments it can even be used for wayfinding initiatives.
“Any of those applications where you have glass partitions, instead of putting a flat panel on the wall we’re putting a film on the existing glass that’s electronically controlled,” says McPherson. This allows for three possible states: transparent for everyday usage, opaque or frosted for privacy, or a digital signage application with any messaging or scenes being displayed on that space.
No longer are spaces confined to digital signage based on layout. There is no need to limit installations to walls – glass surfaces become just as capable of displaying moving images, allowing designers and integrators to get creative. Imagine a staff hallway with great panes of glass allowing large amounts of rejuvenating natural light during the day that then shifts to calming waves or forest scenes late at night.
How it Works
Installation is very similar to having windows tinted in a car. Wipe down the glass, place the film over it, connect the electronics to it, and change its state accordingly. The film is offered in 42-inches wide or 48-inches wide at present.
The glass acts similarly to a rear-projection screen. Standard throw projectors as well as short-throw and ultra-short-throw projectors can be installed on the opposite side of where the content will be shown. A digital media player pushes content to the system the same as it would for any digital signage application.
The Future is Clear
As natural lighting factors so heavily into wellness-focused design, it’s a given that glass will be present in a building seeking to bolster occupant wellbeing, and ActiveScene provides an opportunity to double down on the design when combined with its new-age technological advancements. Not to mention, it certainly possesses a “wow factor” for clients.
Another version of this article originally appeared in Commercial Integrator.