We’ve talked a little bit about digital signage in our previous articles about it. It’s a market that’s expected to grow up to 18,2% CAGR by 2021. However, we still haven’t discussed one of very promising solutions – ePaper display.
If you haven’t read our two previous articles, we recommend reading those first:
- Digital Signage Management – How to Manage Your Commercial Display?
- Dynamic Digital Signage Content – 7 Amazing Features to Look For
What is ePaper?
EPaper is an electronic device that is designed to look a lot like real paper. Is main difference to a regular display is that is reflects light instead of emitting it.
E-ink corporation is the main provider of ePaper and it started its huge success by producing e-book readers. Because they don’t emit a light, they’re very easy on eyes and use very little energy. Since then, digital signage market has found many more ways to utilize ePaper.
How Does E-Ink Work?
Many people might wonder how exactly e-ink works. This question arises when we mention that ePaper doesn’t need a power source to sustain an image. So how does it work?
E-ink contains two types of particles: black and white. Black particles have negative electrodes and the white ones have positive. Because they’re suspended in a fluid (mostly water or oil) they can rotate depending on the charge. And that’s a short story of how e-ink works.
What is E-Ink Used For?
E-Ink has been around for a few years now. It started as an e-book reader but it’s much more than that now. Because E-Ink technology is still not quite ready to display dynamic images, it’s mainly used for static ones.
It’s important to remember that ePaper as the name says it itself, is a next generation paper. It’s not aiming towards LED displays etc. Yet.
Here’s a few examples:
- Transportation Signs
It turns out that a great place to utilize ePaper is transportation industry. Using E-Ink to present bus routes and timetables is a step towards smart city. It uses very little energy and is easy to manage. Moreover, it actually lowers the operational costs thanks to remote control and the ability to change the image.
The next step is also implementing ePaper displays as traffic signs. Sidney has been using e-ink to inform citizens on parking restrictions in some areas. This eliminates the need to use temporary signs.
- Menu Boards
There’s quite a few things that are considered a static content but still are being displayed on regular digital signage. For instance, menu boards are rather permanent. Most of them doesn’t need to be displayed on LED monitors. This creates a lot of power usage and in inefficient in comparison to ePaper display.
Not the other hand, it’s way better than traditional paper because it allows changing the display just like a regular digital signage. There’s no extra costs involving it like it is with traditional menu.
There’s a lot of different places there we can use e-ink as our wayfinding signage. It’s being used in smart cities as a tourist information but we can also find it inside the buildings.
Places like museums, airports, shopping centers etc. can easily use e-ink to navigate its visitors. It’s easy to maintain and doesn’t create any extra costs. Moreover, the image can be easily changed what is very useful in places like museums where the exhibits are often temporary.
It’s becoming more and more popular to use ePaper display as a label. Stores spend a lot on print. It’s a constant cost that consumes a lot of budget. That’s why it’s so important to find ways to limit that.
E-Ink can be a solution to this problem. Because the image can be easily changed, there’s no extra costs over time.
The same solution can be used in places like offices or hotels. With the help of ePaper display we can present informations about conference rooms bookings etc.
These are only the most common uses of e-ink as if now. Later in the article we’ll show you a few of newest solutions that will definitely revolutionize ePaper market.
Benefits of ePaper displays
- Low energy usage – because of its specific ePaper displays use very little energy. Regular displays are very expensive in energy usage so e-ink is a great alternative for that.
- Bistability – EPD (Electronic Paper Display) is known to retain an image without a power source. The energy is needed only to change the display. That’s why it consumes so little energy.
- Reflectiveness – Another reason why e-ink is so energy friendly is that it doesn’t emit any light – it only reflects it. This makes the ePaper display perfect for reading in a direct sunlight.
- Readability – besides reflectiveness there are also other advantages that improve readability. For example, ePaper display has a very wide angle of visibility and a very high contrast. This makes the e-ink great for outdoor usage.
- Flexibility and light weight – ePaper display is designed to be very flexible and light what makes it great for many different solutions. Lately, there has been a lot of innovations involving flexible screens.
ePaper Display Innovations – What is The Future of E-Ink?
Advanced Color E-Paper (ACeP) is E-Ink development that is set to target digital signage industry. It’s still in the process of making so it’s not available for purchase. Yet. However, when that happens we can expect a huge increase in usage on a much wider scale.
Thanks to ePapers foldability we can expect a lot of new developments in foldable tech. A lot of corporations is working on it intensively so we can be sure it’s only a matter of time before things like that will be available for purchase worldwide.
Interactive ePaper displays
There’s definitely a goal to implement interactivity into ePaper displays. There are some developments like that already being created but they’re not really commercially available yet. However, this will open a whole another chapter for e-ink displays.
There’s definitely much more that e-ink will have to offer in the near future. We’ll have to wait and see – or maybe develop it ourselves?
The demand for displays is increasing significantly whether it’s for the purpose of implementing smart solutions in cities or simply to make everything around us more modern and tech based. The huge issue for regular displays is mainly energy usage. That’s exactly why ePaper displays have become so popular.
If you’re looking for a win-win solution, we recommend considering E-Ink. It might be exactly what you need.