Friday, March 03, 2006

E-Paper Finally coming?

Although the promise of e-paper, e-books etc is not materializing, and catching on as fast as expected, companies such as Hitachi, Xerox, Sony and others are finally making good progress in the space. After Hitachi released a prototype the dimensions of a normal sheet of paper, weighing in at one pound, very soon e-paper will be a reality - flexible, lower power consumption, and cheaper to make. I don't think e-newspapers are in store in the near future, but there are many other applications that could provide significant possibilities to company who take advantage of it. Store signage for example. Today most store still get new adds mailed, or they download and print themselves for smaller ones. Flat panel displays exist, but are expensive and offer limited use. E-paper allows for store signage to be posted anywhere, with content from HQ or even B2B partners, just like real paper. New content will be loaded wirelessly to the signs. E-Paper brings a new dimension to in-store marketing. Competition for in-store space takes on a new twist, if signs could be changes throughout the day or week. Analytics could even drive this. Real time sales data could adjust signage based on products that are selling well or not selling well. Buyer profiles at different times of the day or week, could allow e-signage to adjust, or eventually if the e-signage knows who the customer is, can generate targeted ads. It is also likely that companies such as Google will get into this game pushing advertising or other content to e-paper if predictions of their media dominance come to fruition.

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