As an explosion of skyscrapers continues to alter the skylines of the world’s largest cities, a Hong Kong developer forecasts that their facades will too.
EDOOH has developed a new Video Glass technology which can transform ordinary glass panes into projection screens, offering a new digital platform for advertising.
The energy efficient design of Video Glass would replace existing LED advertising platforms on the facades of skyscrapers with the potential to transform the entire building into a projection screen.
EDOOH chief information officer Crystal Fok detailed the technology to CCTV.
“LED light is quite concentrated, and if you were to look directly at it you would feel uncomfortable,” she explained. “But in the glass the light is diffused, so even if you are standing in front of the screen, you are able to watch it directly.”
“Video Glass is more environmentally-friendly as light intensity can be fine-tuned to reduce light pollution, and it is also more cost effective.”
Developed in South Korea, the glass features a plastic polymer film. An electrical current then runs through the pane, frosting the glass and enabling it to display images from a projector mounted approximately one metre away.
Beyond its vertical advertising attributes; there is also an opportunity for retailers to use Video Glass in their shop windows.
The technology is currently being tested on a ground-level shop window in Hong Kong’s Times Square – Causeway Bay – with the shop front's window clear by day and illuminated at night.
The Video Glass has also been applied to a mobile truck parked in Sha Tin which the developers will use as a selling point for a new building project.
The innovation has already been rolled out in hotel bathrooms, where glass shower doors can become frosted via sensor or on switch demand.
According to Fok, other advancements in the pipeline include the possible installation of motion sensors to make the interface interactive.
There is also an opportunity to allow shoppers to scan their body, create a 3D virtual model of themselves and even purchase items via the Video Glass screen using QR codes and a smartphone.
Along with its light projecting aesthetic, Video Glass provides an economic benefit to retailers. Passersby can admire, shop and be on their way quickly even when a shop is closed.
The Hong Kong government is supportive of the technology being rolled out across Hong Kong’s urban buildings, which could bring in funding of approximately HK$12 Million (AU$1.7 Million).
In terms of a price comparison, Fok reveals that where a 100-inch TV would hold a HK$100,000 price tag, Video Glass screens measuring twice the size would cost a mere third of the price.
Utilising building facades as an advertising medium is certainly not new, with Times Square in New York City the most renowned example. The first electronic advertisement in Times Square is credited to The New York Times, which implemented an electronic news ticker known as the Motograph News Bulletin (or the zipper). The ticker wrapped around the base of the Times' headquarters through the use of 14,8000 light bulbs.
Today the zipper has since been replaced by LED technology and the square still remains an advertising mecca.
Last year, Jan Edler of collective realities:united told Emporis she believes Mediatecture (media in architecture) and dynamic facades provided through innovations such as Video Glass will be a dynamic trend.
“Interest in ‘media facades’ appears to be on the increase,” he said. “We view media surfaces as forerunners of buildings that can actively change and adapt themselves. In this respect, the future potential of such developments is not to be underestimated.”
With technology like Video Glass and its associated costing, skyscraper facades could be a very considerable instrument for advertisers.