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Viability verification and market launch preparations for outdoor electronic message board displays

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Riding the wave of solar-powered electronic signs

Outdoor electronic signs and message boards (OEMBs) powered by solar energy are a sterling example of green advertising, providing a strong alternative to current light-emitting diode billboards populating the cities. Capitalising on a successful EU-funded project, European companies helped commercialise this highly sustainable technology and make a long-lasting impact on the EU economy.


The large-area outdoor display module with wireless data connection and solar panels successfully built during the predecessor project E-SIGNAGE could not be directly commercialised without carrying out extensive market launch studies. With this in mind, the EU-funded E-SIGNAGE-D (Viability verification and market launch preparations for outdoor electronic message board displays) project explored the commercial viability of the OEMB display module. Overall, the aim was to reduce time to market. After conducting extensive market investigations, project partners verified the potential of solar-powered OEMBs for three targeted applications: a real-time passenger information board, an electronic shelf label and a variable speed limit sign. The novel electronic display devices providing paper-like images sport Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) technology for wireless communications. In particular, the technology exploits twist-ball e-paper material together with carbon nanomaterials developed by partners. The e-paper enables active front-plane layers for outdoor signage and the carbon nanotubes and nanobuds are used in the front-layer and back-layer electronics. Carbon nanomaterials proved robust and flexible, of low electrical resistance and exceptional optical properties such as high transparency, low haze, colour neutrality and excellent refractive index matching. According to estimates, the passenger information system market is expected to reach EUR 18.2 billion by 2019, and the market of variable speed limit road signs is currently worth EUR 5.5 billion. These high figures reflect the potential high impact of the E-SIGNAGE-D investigation into these market segments and allow project partners to provide turnkey innovative devices that meet customer and user expectations.


Solar-powered, electronic signs, message board, display module, E-SIGNAGE-D

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