Screens, it seems, are everywhere these days. Printers and watches, tablets and smartphones all have high-resolution digital displays; front rooms and shared spaces across the globe are being furnished with increasingly large monitors. It’s a consequence of the relationship between increasing fabrication quality and falling prices, reducing what might be called the ‘threshold of suitability’ – simply put, the point at which deploying a screen becomes cost effective.
Unsurprisingly, this model is not only affecting broadcast media but also retailers, sports and entertainment venues, hospitals and university campuses. Sometimes the need can be quite simple: for example, consider the use of digital screens to show up to date bus times at transit points. Doing so saves a not-insignificant amount of rigmarole, from printing and distributing timetables, to maintaining a list of what has been updated where.
Once such a facility is in place it can serve as a basis for additional features – in this case, pushing out service changes or problems, serving adverts, updating the bus location in real time or even reporting emergencies. A screen is also just one step away from being an interactive terminal, accessible via a smartphone, watch or other device.