Dynamic signage network goes underground in Toronto

Fourth Wall Media is teaming up with Viacom to deploy real-time screens on subway cars
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State-of-the-art wireless technology enables narrowcasting news, entertainment and Transit Commission information in real-time on Toronto’s planned underground signage network.

Working in partnership with Viacom, Fourth Wall Media is bringing dynamic digital signage to some 850,000 commuters riding Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) subway cars. That’s roughly two percent of Canada’s population, notes Michael Girgis, Fourth Wall’s president, who spoke about this first-of-its-kind signage deployment in an interview with Digital Signage Update last week.

The network will allow the TTC to communicate to its passengers, who ride an average of 17 minutes per train trip, Girgis said.

In conjunction with Viacom Outdoor’s master advertising contract with the TTC, Fourth Wall subsidiary oneSTOP Networks has been awarded a seven-year agreement with the TTC to provide information, entertainment and safety messaging on a wireless protocol-based signage network on subway trains and platforms throughout the TTC’s train system. Anticipating a large advertising revenue stream, the network is being installed with private-sector funds, without cost to the TTC - or Toronto taxpayers.

After more than two years in planning, the project now moves into a three-month trial deployment. Though the network has been dubbed by some in Toronto as “TV on the TTC trains,” there’s no audio. Instead, the TTC signage network will provide more flexible visual content than traditional broadcasting.

Soon subway platforms and subway cars across Toronto will feature dynamic digital signage displaying a constantly refreshed flow of commuter information, advertising, news and entertainment.

Screens will display a mixture of local and international news, features, advertising, and sponsored programming, stock and sports crawls, with dedicated areas for the TTC to provide commuting-related information and the TTC's own promotional messages. In an emergency, it can instantly override the programming directly from transit control, reaching commuters in real time with messages directed to a specific station or train line.

The trial deployment will enable commuters to provide feedback on what they want to experience with the new communications medium – and also enable Fourth Wall and its soon-to-be-named content and technical partners to work out any possible kinks in a difficult transmission environment.

For more information, visit www.fourthwallmedia.com.

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