The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - ALWYN VILJOEN

GER­MANY’s Road­Ads is tak­ing or­ders for e-ink dis­plays that are mounted on the back of trail­ers.

Un­like the ink-on-tarp ad­verts on the more than 10 000 trucks that use the N3 each day, the e-ink dis­plays au­to­mat­i­cally change con­tent de­pend­ing on which prov­ince or coun­try the truck is driv­ing through.

Road­Ads has created the elec­tronic dis­play boards in part­ner­ship with Mercedes and the elec­tronic sig­nage com­pany Vi­sionect.

Vi­sionect said the Truck­side ads gen­er­ate 2,5 times more attention than static bill­boards, with an ad­ver­tise­ment on a truck or trailer re­sult­ing in be­tween 30 000 to 70 000 views a day in Ger­many.

Each board uses four 32-inch e-ink screens, joined edge-to-edge to cre­ate a 0,9 x 1,5-me­tre dis­play. Like the words on an e-reader’s screen, the e-ink dis­play can be seen in bright sun­light, and they use the truck’s bat­tery when they are chang­ing dis­play con­tent.

Be­cause they don’t emit light, they won’t daz­zle driv­ers who are fol­low­ing be­hind at night. Each unit comes with a GPS, In­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity and Wi-Fi so that ads can down­load and dis­play only lo­cal ad­ver­tis­ing from Road­Ads’ server.

If up­dat­ing via 4G, the bill­board con­nects to a server to re­ceive new con­tent, with a sub­set of all pos­si­ble ad­ver­tise­ments al­ways pre-buffered on the bill­board it­self in case of mo­bile net­work un­avail­abil­ity. When con­nect­ing over Wi-Fi, the bill­board is con­trolled lo­cally on any mo­bile de­vice.

Apart from ad­verts, the trucks can dis­play information on the road or even re­lay images of the traf­fic in front of the truck to the driv­ers who are fol­low­ing in the rear, as Pana­sonic is do­ing now with a sim­i­lar pi­lot in Rus­sia.

Road­Ads will be test­ing the screens in Novem­ber and said it ex­pects the first 1 000 elec­tronic pa­per truck dis­plays will be sold in June next year.

Elec­tronic e-ink bill­boards on the back of trucks are be­ing tested in Europe and can be ex­pected to reach South Africa soon.

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