Boston enters new era of wayfinding with solar powered e-paper screens

Visionect, 20 Jul 2016

America’s Walking City embraces the most advanced wayfinding sign in the country: a real-time information board of walking routes and local events developed on eco-friendly electronic paper technology.

Boston, Massachusetts is a city of firsts: it is here that the first subway system in North America was constructed and it is here that the country’s first outdoor wayfinding sign on electronic paper has now been installed.

Nicknamed ‘America’s Walking City’, Boston streets are compact and dense, with walking an extremely popular mode of transit. As much as 13% of the city’s population are pedestrian commuters, the seventh-highest percentage of any city in the United States, making clear and interactive wayfinding information a must.

Solar-powered, Boston’s new e-paper wayfinding sign will provide visitors with real-time information on local events and help locate nearby landmarks.

Unveiled on Boston’s City Hall Plaza, the new e-paper wayfinding sign will provide visitors with information on local events and help residents and visitors locate nearby landmarks.

Featuring a 32-inch electronic paper display, the sign is easily readable in even the brightest sunshine and is solar powered, the technology requiring less energy than a traditional digital screen to run. Water resistant, it is perfectly suited to even the most unexpected summer thunderstorm and the harshest Boston winter.

The electronic paper wayfinding sign on Boston’s City Hall Plaza displays real-time information about local events and locations of nearby landmarks. Image source: E Ink®

Boston’s milestone wayfinding sign is designed and manufactured by Global Display Solutions (GDS) and is developed especially for driving electronic paper signage in demanding outdoor environments, using Visionect’s software and electronics for driving the display.

Advanced hardware and software allow the epaper screen to withstand the harsh elements and use up as little power as possible, creating an energy-sustainable solution that does not require access to the electrical grid. The connectivity options integrated within the display driving board allow the sign to easily connect to the cloud, making it seamlessly updatable with real-time content and providing Boston with a versatile tool of engaging with its citizens.

Developed to support demanding outdoor installations, the sign to uses up as little power as possible, creating an energy-sustainable solution that easily connects to the cloud.

“Over the past two years we have been taking steps to improve our city services and make City Hall more inviting for residents and visitors,” commented Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh when unveiling the new wayfinding acquisition. “By providing residents with real-time information that is both helpful and easily accessible, we are building on our commitment to providing excellent City services to the people of Boston.”

Boston’s new wayfinding sign is a result of a partnership between the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics (MONUM), E Ink® and Global Display Solutions (GDS). Joining the project to refine the wayfinding design is WalkBoston, an advocacy group focused on pedestrian issues.

Visionect is excited to be working with GDS and E Ink, who have reached an important milestone and deployed the first electronic paper outdoor sign in Boston.