Times Square bus terminal getting wrapped up in digital signage

May 10, 2011 | by Christopher Hall

Times Square in New York City is already awash in digital signage, making a midnight stroll through the landmark square nearly as bright as a noontime one.

And now even the bus terminal in Times Square is getting lit up.

LED media display specialists A2aMEDIA recently announced an agreement to install a 6,000-square-foot digital display on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's Times Square bus terminal.

The bus terminal will be draped in Mediamesh, an open-weave LED mesh, digital-motion graphic product that will be integrated into the terminal's architecture.

The Mediamesh will display information, emergency alerts and provide a platform for local, regional and national advertising, according to Brian Schuvart, A2aMEDIA's vice president of Sales & Marketing. A2aMedia has been working with the Port Authority for about a year, looking for ways to enhance the bus terminal with the Mediamesh product, Schuvart said.

"Mediamesh is a really cool technology that allows us to, effectively, wrap buildings with giant television screens," he said.

Mediamesh was invented, patented and is manufactured by Duren, Germany-based GKD and Cologne, Germany-based ag4, and Boston-based A2aMEDIA will install and operate the display on the bus terminal through a partnership with Hartford, Conn.-based Garage-Media.

And the price is right for the Port Authority, Schuvart said.

"There is zero cost to the Port Authority, and they do derive revenue directly from the advertising sales through our company," he said. "So there is significant passive revenue that the Port Authority receives from the display itself."

Port Authority officials also are anticipating the Mediamesh deployment, which is set to go live in late June. They're looking forward to the potential revenue to be reaped from advertising. Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman called it "a very worthwhile project":

"The biggest benefits we see for us are that, assuming that they're able to generate a significant amount of advertising for the Mediamesh screen, it's going to generate revenues for us — which we can then put back into the bus terminal to upgrade the facility or to possibly build some new additions to that bus terminal that we've been looking to do for quite a few years now."

The ability to cover buildings with the very lightweight and transparent mesh offers numerous possibilites for architectural deployments, Schuvart said. The Mediamesh material weighs in at about 1 ¾ pounds per square foot compared to 15-30 pounds for other LED technologies that are generally also more opaque, according to Schuvart.

The company also has deployed the Mediamesh product in a large installation in Milan, near the Duomo, or Cathedral of Milan; at California State University, Fresno; and on the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Schuvart said.

"What's nice and a key feature at American Airlines Arena, when the Mediamesh is turned off you don't even know that the Mediamesh is actually on the building," he said.

All of which allows deployers to preserve the architectural integrity of the building on which its deployed and the integrity of the views from inside the building, Schuvart said.

"When you're inside looking out it's like you're looking through an open-Levolor blind, but from the outside looking in, the images are actualized on the surface and appear to flow over the surface of the building," he said. "With the display, any content that you could put, literally, on your laptop computer screen or television screen we can put up on the display, so there's no limitation from that standpoint."

A2aMedia focuses on the integration of the technology and the building itself, according to CTO Kevin Beaulieu.

"We really pride ourselves on being able to enhance the architecture of the building ... rather than sort of overpower the particular architecture," he said.

The lightweight, transparency and breathability of the mesh also offer benefits, Schuvart said. The Port Authority required that the building covering be breathable enough to vent bus fumes and exhaust and transparent enough to allow light into the building, he said.

"Because it doesn't need to be air conditioned, because it doesn't need any fans and because it's an open-weave product of high-grade stainless steel, it only requires about one-sixth the electricity of conventional LED technology," Schuvart said.

That's another feature that also makes it highly desirable for advertisers and brands, he said.

"A lot of the advertisers that we're talking to right now are actually drawn to the platform knowing that this technology is so energy efficient," he said. "It goes in concert with some of the programs that they're doing that are about energy efficiency, so it works nicely with some of their objectives."

Topics: Advertising , Display Technology , DOOH Advertising , Entertainment Venues , Hardware , LED Signs , Outdoor Signage , Transportation / Travel

Christopher Hall / Christopher is the editor of DigitalSignageToday.com. A longtime freelance writer and reporter, he's bringing a fresh perspective and critical take on the industry.
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