Digital Signage Goes Green
Interactive digital signage kiosks are rapidly becoming a major force in helping consumers, tourists and residents get step-by-step directions to their destination. The touchscreen kiosks are found at trade shows and expos, in shopping malls, tourist centers, museums, airports, hospitals, model home sales offices, even memorial cemeteries.
The University of Florida in Gainesville recently implemented an interactive digital signage kiosk program with an environmentally-friendly aspect. Drawing on the Sunshine State’s most noticeable attribute, UF is now helping students and visitors navigate the campus with solar-powered directional signage kiosks.
Known as “wayfinding” in the trade, the technology allows users to touch a destination on an interactive screen and instantly receive directions and other relevant information. In UF’s installation, solar panels are strategically placed around campus to capture the sun’s energy and power the screens, directing students and visitors to destinations around campus. Information is refreshed four times each hour. Visitors can find their way to each of the solar “farms” as they are called, as well as access to the UF website and to their destination.
The company behind the installation is Ireland’s EcoTech Computers, and their brand is Eco. The Eco solar kiosk is a self-contained system that draws its power requirements directly from the sun and stores energy collected in its battery bank, so the kiosk is fully functional even on those rare Florida days when the sky is cloudy. The self-contained system stores the collected energy in its 135AH deep cycle battery bank. Its fanless Intel Atom N270 processor and 21-inch LED high contrast monitor operate without the need for a traditional power supply.
John Lawson, UF’s physical plant department director, explained that the project was an attempt to provide information to the general public as well as to UF students and staff on how much energy the project produced and to offer more education on solar power. Of course, campus directions and additional information are also key to the system’s usage. He noted that a goal of the University is to be carbon neutral by 2025. The program was funded by a grant from Duke University’s SunSense® Schools program. UF was selected in 2012 based on three factors: student population, energy consumption and plans to use solar arrays as educational and research tools.
EcoTech’s solar-powered outdoor kiosk at UF saves up to 9.2 tons of CO2. Additionally, the technology offers access to the internet or stored media, a secure lock-down browser, remote management and a stainless steel casing for vandal resistance, security and weatherproofing.
The company installed its first Eco Kiosk in July 2010, at the entrance to Trim Castle in Ireland, providing 60,000 annual visitors with information about the castle and its surrounding areas. The company states that there is considerable interest in U.S. companies, schools and retail establishments to “go green” with the touchscreen wayfinding technology.
About EcoTech Computers
EcoTech Computers Ltd was formed in 2009 to develop, prototype and manufacture new and inventive ways to bring the use of modern technology to a more environmentally-friendly standard. The company’s North American office is located at 6508 E Museum Blvd. in Gas City, IN 46933. Phone 977-494-9356, email email@example.com or visit www.ecotechcomputers.ie.