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Posted on March 07, 2018

First smart bus stop in Japan using electronic paper

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E Ink Holdings, a leading innovator of electronic ink technology, and Papercast Ltd, a provider of solar powered passenger information display technology, has announced their partnership to deploy Japan's first smart bus stop displays, piloting in Aizuwakamatsu city, 135 miles from Tokyo. The next generation smart bus stop leverages E Ink's ePaper solution and low power wide area wireless technology to provide real-time information such as bus arrivals, timetables, route data, route transfers, planned and unplanned service changes. For more information see the IDTechEx report on display forecasts.
 
Managed remotely by Papercast's data management platform, the smart bus stop displays will replace traditional paper signage, reducing the high cost of manually updating information. Digitally connecting bus stops will also provide passengers with a more convenient way to access transportation information in real-time. In addition, the displays provide multi-language services for travelers, creating a better travel experience.
 
"By utilizing E Ink's ePaper display solutions, we have developed a platform that is cost-effective, low-power and easy to use," said Rado Skender, director of Business Development at Papercast, Ltd. "We anticipate that this partnership will enable widespread adoption in Japan and other countries as it improves the customer experience and encourages the use of public transportation among residents and out of town visitors."
 
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The inherent paper-like properties of E Ink technology make it ideal for bus signs as the display will be easily viewed under direct sunlight, and due to E Ink's bistable technology, displays can hold an image without power since power is only required when the image or content is changing or being updated. This attribute allowed Papercast to create a solar-powered sign that alleviates the need for electrical wiring.
 
The project is administered by Aizu Riding Car Development, a consortium initiated by Michinori Holdings, operator of the Aizuwakamatsu bus service, Aizu Bus. The goal of the consortium is to improve service convenience and reduce ongoing costs by digitally connecting bus stops. In Japan, there are over 500,000 bus stops with 90 percent having no power source, so it was a pre-requisite that the display technology used is low-power and can be easily installed without connecting to the grid or using network cables.
 
"As cities become smart, E Ink will continue to play an integral part in the development of smart signage for transportation, retail and architecture," said Dr. FY Gan, executive vice president of sales at E Ink Holdings. "E Ink's technology allows integrators to leverage alternative power sources, such as solar, saving municipalities the cost of not only ongoing electric fees, but the cost of construction to run new power lines for installations, and the impact to citizens as the construction occurs. Our partnership with Papercast is another perfect example of how we're enabling more convenient and cost-effective innovations that positively impact user experience and the environment."
 
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Top image: Papercast
Learn more at the next leading event on the topic: Printed Electronics USA 2018 External Link on 14 - 15 Nov 2018 at Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, USA hosted by IDTechEx.