Sitting smack in the middle of the bowtie in Times Square on the hotel's east façade, this display is impossible to ignore - quite a feat, considering the forest of signs that is synonymous with the location. This noticeability is partly a function of its massiveness; the 23 by 100-meter (75 by 328 foot) display is roughly half the size of an American football field. It is so long that it spans an entire block, from West 45th Street to West 46th Street. The display is also sharp, even from up close, thanks to a 4K-beating resolution of 2368 by 10048 - a pixel count of nearly 24 million. It also comes with two curved corners, dispensing with the typical flat-panel television aesthetic we associate with digital signage, to offer a seamless 270-degree view.
As you can imagine, a canvas this large provides marketers with ample visual horsepower to cut through distraction and grab the attention of the 300,000-or-so pedestrians who pass through Times Square every day. Impressed? Here are nine other equally mind-blowing digital signage installations.
Infinity Wall - Nexen UniverCity, Seoul
Most people tend to think of digital signage purely in marketing and informational terms. However, signage can also be used to add visual interest to an interior. One of the most breathtaking implementations of this idea, dubbed 'The Infinity Wall,' can be found in the lobby of the UniverCity, a complex in Seoul that houses the research and development offices of the South Korean tire maker Nexen. The seven by 30-meter (23 by 98.5 foot) light emitting diode (LED) media wall is used to display virtual waterfalls, data-driven weather visuals and other custom graphics developed by professional ad agency and managed by robust digital signage software, giving the lobby a striking touch.
3D Video Wall - Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li Shopping District, Chengdu
This curved, 900 square-meter LED signage installation is located on the exterior wall of a mall in the Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li shopping district in Chengdu, China. It has a fascinating party trick; a USS Enterprise-like spaceship emerges from the screen and hovers in front of it. While the hologram-like effect is most apparent when seen from a particular angle, viewers do not require special glasses to enjoy it, in contrast to commercial 3D theaters and consumer 3D televisions.
Coca Cola's 3D Robotic Billboard - Times Square, New York
Designed, engineered and constructed by Coca Cola, this 12 by 20-meter (42 by 68 foot) electro-kinetic LED signage installation features an innovative take on the 3D concept. It consists of slightly over 1,700 robotic LED cubes that can be moved to create striking 3D choreographies. This innovative installation won two Guinness World Records - the first 3D robotic billboard and the largest 3D robotic billboard.
Pedestrian Walkway Canopy Screen - The Place, Beijing
Opinion on Tripadvisor’s comments section is unanimous; what differentiates The Place, an upscale mall at 9 Guanghua Lu, Beijing, from other luxury malls is not the shopping and dining experience, satisfying as that is, but the jaw-dropping LED signage installation that tops its pedestrian walkway. The installation, which also includes a sound system, features a massive 30 by 250-meter (98 by 820 foot) LED screen that is used to display marketing content, animated videos, text messages and uploaded photos. While attention-grabbing enough during the day, the screen really comes into its own when the sun goes down.
Viva Vision Canopy Screen – Fremont Street, Las Vegas
The great-granddaddy of canopy LED signage, the Viva Vision screen was revamped in 2019 and now features a one-of-a-kind collection of jaw-dropping imagery and 3D graphics. The chart-topping screen spans five blocks above Fremont street and is the largest single video screen on the planet. Outfitted with nearly 50 million LEDs for richer detail and better contrast, the screen has a 5000-nit peak brightness, ensuring visitors can be wowed even in the sunniest of days. The installation also comes with a 600,000-watt concert-quality sound system for an enhanced aural experience.
Interactive Media Wall - Terrell Place, Washington D.C.
This installation at the Terrell Place in downtown Washington D.C. takes the signage-as-a-decorative element concept and kicks it up a couple notches. It consists of nearly 5 million LEDs embedded on a total of 1700 square feet of the main lobby wall. Thanks in part to this high LED count, the installation packs the visual punch needed to display graphics - which include compositions of Washington's iconic cherry trees - to stunning effect. This installation has another ace up its sleeve; it comes with 15 ceiling-mounted motion-sensitive infrared cameras that detect any movement within 20 feet of the media wall. This information is fed to a software program, that determines which effects to show, adding an element of interactivity to the installation. Visitors are thus able to influence visuals that play on the wall, even though they may not be aware of this at first.
TeamLab Borderless Art Exhibition - Tokyo
Most digital signage installations confine their magic to a particular location - a wall, a lobby, next to the checkout line, a street corner. Not teamLab Borderless' digital exhibition at the Odaiba district of Tokyo. Ensconced in the MORI building digital art museum at the aptly named Palette Town shopping and entertainment complex, the exhibition consists of a collection of artworks that interact with each other - and with museum visitors - to create boundless, ever-changing, ultra-immersive dreamscapes. The exhibition covers an area of 10,000 square meters, or about 108,000 square feet, and requires 470 projectors, 520 computers and numerous sensors to create.
Smart LED Signage - Callao, Madrid
Strategically located at the Plaza de Callao, which is to Madrid what Times Square is to New York, this massive digital signage is hard to miss - a good thing, since the whole point of having such installations is to draw attention. This noticeability is, in part, a function of its 6 by 37-meter (19 by 121 feet) footprint. It also stands out because of its quality; the installation combines advanced LEDs, a wide viewing angle, a 960 x 5760 resolution and a rich color presentation for striking visuals. The signage is built to withstand the elements, ensuring that it will be wowing the 113 million-or-so pedestrians who pass through the plaza every year for a long time.
Piccadilly Lights - London
Revamped in 2017, this digital signage installation is about 17 by 44 meters (56 by 144 feet) in size - 11 times taller than Guy the gorilla and four double decker buses high. This refresh is made up of 5500 individual LED tiles and features a sharp 5,490 x 2,160 resolution. The screen can display up to 281 trillion colors, guaranteeing that it can faithfully reproduce the shade of any brand. What sets this signage apart, though, is the facial recognition technology that works with live data gathered from a series of cameras pointed at the square. Installed digital signage software is able to determine mood, age to within five years, sex, and even figure out who is looking at what ad. It is also able to measure temperature and keep track of time. Using this information, the technology determines which ad to run - choosing, for example, to run a commercial about convertible cars when the weather is warm. Nifty, huh?
The average city dweller is exposed to between 6000 to 10000 ads a day, according to click fraud detection software specialist PPC Protect. It is not surprising that many have learned to tune them out - which makes digital signage, with its ability to grab attention at the point when people are most receptive, downright critical. The best installations on the planet have an important lesson to teach marketers; to stand out, serve up an experience, not just ads. All the best!