Once you start thinking about how to make things less, well, dumb, the possibilities open up all over. Here’s when the dialogue between our streetscape and its furniture (including signage) begins to become a reality.
Sure, the system here is based on the mobiles’ owner sparking the conversation via an sms, but think about that as just the beginning. And while this is ostensibly an ‘arts’ project, this new form of literal – as well as legible – situation can only help spur us on to.
Here’s the full article in Creative Review: Bristol, the city that talks back.
Sometimes a simply idea can be subverted to great effect and traditional sign forms and formats lend themselves to this – here’s a great example for the UK’s National Trust, turning from tut-tutting nanny to positively encouraging you to pick the flowers.
Tip of the hat to The Click Design Consultants
More on the future of mobile wayfinding.
Ok, so I can’t really stop you losing your shirt at the roulette tables, but in future, finding your way around indoors – by relying on more than signage – is beginning to be cracked with developments in mobile mapping.
“Lighthouse Signal Systems announced that it has mapped the WiFi signals covering the nearly 2 million square meters of casino and hotel space in the gambling mecca. The result is WiFi fingerprints that enable a mobile device to determine its location to within 5 to 7 meters”.
Indoor navigation technology is going to be quite a bit different from its outdoor counterpart – you can’t us GPS without a direct satellite line. So developers are turning to other tools to bridge the gap, some external – like WiFi spots – but increasing incorporating “information from sensors within the phone, like gyroscopes that determine direction, accelerometers that count steps, and even atmospheric pressure sensors to provide an estimate of altitude”.
The days of having to generate standalone apps for mobile signage may soon be superceeded by the simple power of the combined investment muscle of tech companies (mobile manu’s and the data-miners). With the added ease of uploading siteplans to Google as well, maybe the times overdue for internal wayfinding components to get smart and start talking to our mobiles.
Excellent new application – with plenty of other solutions that spring to mind (signs that are ‘doors’ that open on approach, for example) – to extend the role signage plays in the space between information and environmental graphics. All kicked off by a humanitarian demand:
“We had a fire in the tunnel, motorists ignored the warning lights and signs and continued driving towards the fire. These drivers exposed themselves to smoke and toxic fumes from the fire and then to compound the situation they turned around (in a one way tunnel) and drove back out of the tunnel against incoming traffic… This fire was the catalyst for… the solution.
Tunnel Holdings’ general manager, Bob Allen
The future for signage (part 2), Israeli startup company OrCam has built a camera-based system that helps the visually-impaired ‘read’ signs and numbers.
Finally, an alternative to high-contrast signs that shout and another example of the emerging relationship between signage and technology.
Plus this example is only really useful in the rainy North of Europe, but here’s some neat thinking about something I’ve coined as the ‘socialisation’ of Signage, While this particular version doesn’t rely on any digital media, it just goes to show how the hands of a brand can be extended into the landscape and provide a situation that transcends simply information or broadcast messages.
How could your signage show it cares?
I’ve been looking at where signage and the influence that technology has begun to exert for a few years. Here’s a great example of the types of signs I think we’ll begin to see emerge over the next decade.
Check the video for how this works, it’s simply brilliant.