We asked Amscreen’s Head of Technology Steve Whitehead to share the journey behind the evolution of digital sensor technology. From where it all started, to the present day.
Find out how digital sensor expertise has directed Amscreen’s vision to become leaders in Smart City technology across the UK and Europe.
Sensor Technology is not new to us. We were developing end-to-end IoT systems over 20 years ago to enable our customers to remotely monitor and manage their equipment. We developed a web-based platform to do this so we could quickly and remotely monitor any type of equipment. We were successful in monitoring vending machines, beer dispense monitoring equipment, utility meters and environmental systems.
The sensors would relay information to us and deliver it to our central web-based platform. In short, we could collect and analyse the sensor data, from any machine; raise alarms and automatically notify contacts to fix the problem in order to minimise any downtime.
We applied the same IoT technology to our own in-store advertising screens, where we successfully deployed over 15,000 in the UK and across Europe in petrol stations.
It was important for us to sense that the screens were ON, in communication with our servers and playing out advertising content. We were able to do this remotely using our IoT technology platform. The challenges grew when we deployed large format 75”, high brightness screens in outdoor roadside locations, such as bus stops.
This is a much harsher environment (than in-store), obviously subject to more extremes of sunlight, weather, dirt, moisture and possible water ingress.
That resulted in us now monitoring over 250 sensor points within the screens including;
– Environmental sensors which measure screen temperature and humidity
– Operational characteristics such as fan speeds, backlight & ambient light levels and mobile signal strength.
The 250 sensors we now have make sure that every aspect of the sign is operational at all times.
Our sensor technology has extended even further with the advent of our large outdoor Digital Billboards
We’ve extended our monitoring capabilities to monitor every pixel on a 3m x 5m digital billboard – each with over a million LEDS! Our sensors can pick out individual LEDs, identify particular issues and address them as necessary to ensure consistent top quality signage to our clients.
As we develop our Smart City products, we’re moving from sensors inside the product to outside of the screens.
Our sensor technology reaches OUTSIDE THE SCREEN to the local environment so that we can monitor things like pollution, air quality and noise. Because we have got an end to end system we can monitor sensors not just on an individual product but across a network of products and are able to analyse and report on a City or even National basis.
As you see, we are coming full circle back to our IOT roots.
To us it’s just data… we can sense, monitor, manage, analyse, report on and share any data that’s valued by our clients and for the good of the local community.
About Steve: Steve has been at Amscreen for over 13 years and is responsible for Amscreen’s system architecture and patents. He provides technical assistance to bridge and support the sales team, customer projects, network operations and engineering. He is a chartered engineer and has over 30 years’ experience in information and comms technology.
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