The future of street advertising

Tourist guide pillar at Ste. Catherine and Peel

Tourist guide pillar at Ste. Catherine and Peel

Earlier this month, the city installed a new one of those tourist guide pillars on Ste. Catherine St. just east of Peel. Since that’s just outside the Gazette office, my colleagues quickly took notice. A bit bigger than the three-sided pillar it replaced (but not as big as those giant cylindrical ones), it is noteworthy because the map side is actually an interactive touch screen.

An information screen above a larger touch screen with tourist information

An information screen above a larger touch screen with tourist information

In fact, it’s two screens working in concert, though the top one is easily ignored because its black background blends in so well.

It’s a prototype developed by Astral Media, which owns the other pillars. Right now the touch screen consists solely of a downtown map and some buttons that allows you to locate various types of locations on it (metro stations, hotels, etc.). There’s also a video camera to deter vandalism or attempted theft.

Ads are slightly less static too

Ads are slightly less static too

The other two sides have static display ads. Though there’s some “innovation” there too. The ads are actually scrolled (I mean that literally) back and forth to either allow some timesharing or just impress some marketing executives.

Tourist information runs on Windows

Tourist information runs on Windows

Oh, and in case you didn’t notice, the touch screen runs on Windows. Here it’s asking me to help install new hardware (perhaps the touch screen itself, since touching didn’t work).

7 thoughts on “The future of street advertising

  1. Saraline

    Ewwwww, why would anyone want to touch a public touch screen? Have you seen how nasty the plastic over the old maps looks? They’re all covered with spit! Ewwwwwww!

    Reply
  2. Jody

    Wow, that fails so much compared to a large map I can, you know, just look at. Before I lived here I always loved those when I visited. Coming to think of it, I still love them when I get lost trying to find an obscure side street downtown.

    Any idea who I can complain to? Astral? I really don’t want to see fancy touch screens except maybe as a SUPPLEMENT to a printed map.

    Reply

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