East Japan Railway Company (JR East) and East Japan Marketing & Communications Inc (JR Higashi Nihon Kikaku) have started a joint test for still image digital posters using ten 65-inch vertical LCDs at Tokyo Station.
The test will be conducted from July 14 to Sept 30. "This will be our hottest topic of interest in this year," said Yoshiaki Nakamura, manager of the PR Dept in the Administration Division at JR Higashi Nihon Kikaku, showing his enthusiasm.
Testing the effect of still images
The digital posters have been set up in the internal concourse on the first floor of Tokyo Station's Yaesu South Entrance, on the way to the Keiyo Line platforms in front of the Yaesu South Ticket Gate for the JR Tokai Shinkansen. Attaching square frames to five of the existing columns, which are about 150cm in diameter, the 65-inch LCDs have been hung on two different faces of each column facing the flow of the foot traffic.
A total of ten LCDs are in use. The LCD panels are Sharp Corp's "PN655R," a 65-inch business-use LCD information display with 1920 x 1080 resolution.
In this digital signage experiment, the companies will evaluate the advertising effects of still image ad posters using large LCD panels displayed in a relatively busy gateway. Advertisers during the test period include six firms and the screen images will be switched every minute (they were switched every 15 seconds at the press conference on July 14).
The posters will be displayed between 5:00 to 24:00, almost the same as the period between the first and last trains. Other than minor effects when switching the screen display, there is no video or audio being used in the test.
Data delivered wirelessly
The content and schedule data is delivered wirelessly. The advertisement delivery center sends data to a PC housed in one of the five columns using HSDPA (high-speed downlink packet access) technology. Then the data is forwarded to STBs (set top boxes) in the other four columns via IEEE802.11g wireless LAN.
Each STB stores the data and outputs it to the two LCDs on the column as programmed. Wireless communications are carried out only when updating the data and transmitting the state monitoring information.
Diverse signage devices being tested
JR Higashi Nihon Kikaku has tested a variety of digital signage devices thus far. It verified an information display using an electronic paper device at Ebisu Station Ticket Gate in February 2008. The company installed a horizontal digital signage application using the same 65-inch LCD panel in Shibuya and Shinjuku Stations in 2007. These signage displays are still operating, the company said.
"As part of our verification tests for diverse signage applications, we chose still image advertisement using large LCD panels," said Takashi Yamamoto, manager of the Development Dept in the Transit Media Division.
The LCDs have been installed on a busy concourse with a relatively low ceiling. "There is a 50-50 chance that we will continue to operate the digital signage displays in and after September. We might change the columns where the displays are set up, for example, after discussing the matter with JR East, but we hope to continue to operate them," Yamamoto said.
The display's rated power is 560W, but "We lower the brightness of the backlight slightly" as they look brighter than standard film posters, Yamamoto said.
The display employed this time is 15cm thick, but it became 30cm thicker in total after being attached on the existing columns with a diameter of 150cm. "We expect manufacturers will develop slimmer displays for commercial use," Yamamoto added.
"Digital posters" on the concourse inside the Yaesu South Ticket Gate of Tokyo Station