Smarty | Display


  1. Small companies do not have a large revenue. To advertise for a couple of hours would already be enough for many;
  2. Outdoor advertising renting process is not a straightforward process;
  3. Analog outdoors do not allow quick change of what is being shown;
  4. Lack of visible ways to publicize parish/city specific events;
  5. There are no outdoors in Portugal allowing direct interaction with the user;
  6. Most of elders do not have access to social networks. And TV channels do not preferentially advertise local events, but national ones;
  7. Many digital outdoors do not regulate brightness accordingly to day luminosity and are not powered by solar systems (implying underground wiring and related settlement costs). Cheaper maintenance will decrease advertising prices;
  8. Buyers do not have a complete organized list of outdoor places across each city/country in order to be able to rapidly choose the most favorable location to place their advert.


Such a smart screen may be used having in mind commercial or social purposes.

Commercial Insight
   In a quest to stimulate small enterprise development, a simple add in a key place for a short period of time would be enough. One way to decrease the cost of advertising is by turning the costs of ad changing null. This way, besides the slow maintenance such smart screens would need, along with the (eventual) electricity costs, it would be very lucrative to maintain such devices on the streets.
   Another part of the solution would consist in an app. By using it, users should be able to submit the content they desire to show (images/videos) for a 24h (maximum) approval. I am still not completely aware about the legislation these ads should comply with, but certainly to place an ad on the streets will be much faster than using analog outdoors. Depending on the duration of the ad, the period of the day, season and location, the user will be able to promptly know how much it would cost and decide if he really want to submit it for approval or not. A complete list of smart screens displaced over the city might be shown in the app and the buyer may opt by picking a cheaper screen (of course, it would be in a less visible area). With this functionality, the buyer may easily pick the best screen accordingly to the specificities of the area. In other words, to show it near a university if the target public is young adults.
   These screens would need to big enough to be catchy. They could be double faced depending on the specificities of the area. LED displays would be used to decrease energy consumption. Luminosity sensors would need to be present to regulate screen brightness accordingly to the environment. Color changing strip lights all around the screens would turn them even more attractive. Eventually, speakers could be added to communicate different type of messages. Although, this needs to be checked because I am not totally aware if this is allowed by legislation. Thinking in a future appliance, we could integrate UHD cameras in the screen. This would give us enough resolution to use face recognition algorithms and the ad would interact with the transients based, for example, in the number of people looking at it. Or, based in image processing algorithms (already available), to assess for how long people looked at the ad and to capture and perform some action, accordingly to their facial expression.
   5G would have a crucial role, once the smart screens would exclusively stream UHD content over the internet. Consequently, every image, video and data processing would be done in the cloud. This decreases the cost of each screen because, the simplest, would only require a 5G internet connection and 1 led screen. This communication method would also allow the creation of an app to interact in real-time with the display.

Social Insight
   In this case, those screens were intended to be preferentially displaced in areas highly populated and where the population is predominantly older.
   It is important to find a solution such as local events are promoted among this age group that is incessantly growing. This would empower them to choose and enroll in their favorite activities without the need of external help. Giving them autonomy and free choice.
   In each screen would be displayed a set of activities and their timetables available for the present week. For sake of simplicity and cost-containment, it is not thought to be touch-reactive. The screen could include small videos of each activity or just a static image. Then, the users would have 2 ways of enrolling on them:

   These activities could be indoor/outdoor. In case of being outdoor, the place of the screen could be a meeting point and also the place where the activity would have place. In the former case, it could be a spot where some method of transportation would pick them up and leave them, after each trip. Depending on the number of enrolled people, they would be realized or not.
   These activities may include excursions to remarkable places such as zoos, gardens, nature or cultural events. This would be game changing. It would have a strong impact in social exclusion. Such a big issue among elders. It is likely that parish councils would promote this initiative by providing guides and transport necessary to these events. A month pass could lead to an enhanced engage of people and will decrease money transactions. Although, should also be provided a pay-per-activity in order to englobe people from all economic backgrounds.
Finally, the app developed in this context would focus exclusively in integrating a payment method, a detailed preview of every available activity and the number of people already enrolled.
   5G would have a crucial role, once the smart screens would exclusively stream content over the internet. Consequently, every image, video and data processing would be done through cloud computing. This decreases the cost of each screen because they would only need a 5G connection and 1 LED screen. Finally, the app will empower users and simplify enrolling processes.

Other Applications

  1. It would be also interesting to explore which social experiments these displays would allow;
  2. Hand drawings/photo expositions, and unimaginable contests could also take place on those.
Fig. 1 - Smart Display.

BIG Smart Cities

BIG Smart Cities is one of the biggest entrepreneurship competitions organized in Portugal. This year, it counted with more than 200 projects from all over the world.
   Smarty is the name of the project I decided to submit. Mine was the winner in the category of "5G University Challenge".
   Besides having received mentoring from Vodafone, Ericsson and Municipality of Cascais, it was given me the opportunity to have an internship in one of the 2 first companies. Plus, a monetary award to accelerate the project.
    You can check below the final presentation: