The E in Ink
Taxis in Boston have been attracting more attention lately. Not only do the cabs systematically haul people to and from the famous tea party site, but display screens on the roofs of many test vehicles boast their own T1 tendencies. Called VID (Vert Intelligent Display), the changing screens were launched by indoor/outdoor Eller Media to test whether e-media would attract attention in an otherwise saturated advertising culture. And while signage atop taxis and buses is certainly not a novel method of reaching urban consumers, the electronic varieties presently being launched are touted as being the next generation in signage with an accent on the "e."
Unlike static ads, Eller reports that electronic signage can be customized to deliver the most advantageous, changing message to any local demographic. So, a cab rolling through Cambridge will not bark the same advertisement as if it were navigating from the airport. The 1984-like test had reeled in promising results last winter when it debuted. Since then, dozens more taxis have been equipped with VID.
Beantown isn't the only place where e-media is stretching its legs, however. More recently, TOPPAN Printing Company, a marketer of color filter arrays in the flat panel display industry, and E Ink Corporation, a developer of electronic ink technology, are both developing color electronic ink displays. To attract international audiences, TOPPAN and E Ink demonstrated the feasibility of color electronic ink displays recently in Tokyo. TOPPAN also made an initial equity investment of $5 million in E Ink. In return for funding and development collaboration, TOPPAN will receive exclusive global rights to manufacture and supply color filters for electronic ink displays over the next few years, anticipating much success in the burgeoning market. The companies are also investigating possible collaborations on other strategic projects, such as plastic-based color filters and flexible displays.