Smart City Technology – The Rise of Digital Signage

Jul 17, 2019 | Wayfinding

Alistair Cousins

Alistair Cousins

Smart cities are becoming more commonly talked about with smart city technology on the rise. How long will it be before we see digital signage software in smart cities? How will it be adopted? This blog will attempt to answer these questions. Showcasing how digital screens and digital signage software can increase the overall effectiveness, efficiency and communication of communities within cities.

Communication through smart city technology

For the most part, cities can be extremely fast-paced atmospheres with lots of events going on and holidays being celebrated. Sometimes it can be hard for city events organisers to keep up and deploy posters and banners to let everyone know what is happening. There simply isn’t enough time or workforce to get all of this done. However, smart city technology such as digital screens can be placed all around the city – connected to a single hub.

City events and marketing teams could roll new content out in a single click of a button to every screen. This saves time and money in labour costs and materials, making the lives of organisers easier. The main beneficiary will be residents who will be kept better informed and engaged with their local area.

A great example of this would be if a surprise event was coming to the smart city. For example, a band might decide last minute to play at the city due to high demand. Traditionally there would not be enough time to create, print and pin-up posters and banners to let people know in enough time to buy tickets and book time off work etc. Smart city technology utilises digital signage. Allowing content to be created and sent out to the screens on the same day. This would cover a huge area, allowing as many people to know about the surprise gig possible.

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Digital signage could enhance communication within smart cities by effectively letting local residents know about new laws or regulations. Local councils are often rolling out new regulations or procedures which makes keeping everyone informed a challenge. For instance, a local council may decide to make mixing recycling with landfill waste punishable with a fine. When the regulation comes into effect local residents will want to know about it so they don’t get penalised. By using digital screens around the city, the council can make sure as many local residents know about the new regulation as possible. It is a unique way to circulate information and only complements traditional methods like fliers.

Increase the effectiveness of emergency services

The emergency services do a fantastic job keeping cities safe. However, smart city technology can make their job slightly easier and can play an important role in keeping local residents out of danger. Smart city technology such as digital signage can warn locals in a calm manner about dangers so they do not enter the proximity of where the emergency is. Announcements concerning the site of accidents can have a great impact in avoiding congestion and save travellers time as they go about their day.

Smart City Technology - The Rise of Digital Signage TrouDigital

In built-up urban areas, the risk of fire is heightened by nearby buildings and limited access. Although firefighters do an amazing job in tackling the flames and helping people reach safety, they often do not have the time or resources to warn people nearby to not come closer and to stay away from the danger. Within a smart city, nearby screens could tell residents to avoid the area until the fire is over. Although it may seem small, giving firefighters space they need to do their job allows them to carry it out more effectively and keep as many people safe as possible.

Transport and travel

We have all been there. At a bus stop and the departure board reads ‘due in 1 minute’. Then you check your watch and it turns out 5 minutes has gone by and the bus that was due in ‘1 minute’ hasn’t arrived. Checking the departure board again, it says ‘next bus due in 15 minutes’. You end up getting frustrated, wondering why the bus never came.

This may be because the departure board may not be linked to the live location and traffic conditions relating to the bus. Using smart city technology such as digital signage these bus stops can display the live times of buses that will let locals know exactly when the bus is arriving without having to second guess. Smart city technology isn’t limited there. The bus stop could also feature a digital screen showcasing the exact location of the bus, helping to increase customer satisfaction.

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The same smart city technology can also be applied to other travel facilities such as city airports, train stations and city marinas. There are no limits to what a city can do with digital signage software which can help increase the attractiveness of the city and therefore boost tourism too.

Smart city technology can help make visitors’ stays as pleasurable as possible. Information about tourist attractions can be displayed on digital kiosks or screens to point out where the nearest bus or train station is. With greater access to tourist-centric information, visitors will find their way around better and have an enhanced visitor experience.

Smart city technology and the future

The idea of a smart city a few decades ago seemed novel or like something from science fiction. However, digital screens and software are becoming cheaper each year, making the concept of smart cities more welcoming. Although it does involve some investment, the benefits that come with a smart city are huge. This includes more efficient communication, more effective emergency services and increased tourist satisfaction. All of which will have an impact on the economy and reputation of the city. We are starting to see smart cities to be implemented all over the world in places such as Singapore and Barcelona. With research suggesting that digital signage will become a ‘large part’ of these smart cities.

Smart City Technology - The Rise of Digital Signage TrouDigital

To conclude it is an exciting time for cities, with the potential to create amazing places for tourists and residents alike. With lower prices than ever before, there has never been a better time for a city to consider revolutionising its operations through digital signage.

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