Transport for London, the UK capital’s urban transport authority, is trialing solar-powered epaper displays for bus timetables. According to the BBC report, these signs consume less power than existing LED displays, as well as having superior information display capabilities. The initial trial comprises four stops, with the potential to roll out the system across all 19,000 stops if the economics prove viable.
Note that this is not the first time that such tech has been tried in the UK. An earlier trial at a single bus stop in Birmingham was launched as far back as 2013. The prototype cost then, according to the BBC, was £50,000 ($74,440). Hopefully, prices will have come down since then, since as I reported earlier, chain stores are now carrying epaper signs as standard shelf fixtures.
Digital signage requiring regular updates is obviously a potentially viable application for epaper. Will that have any repercussions for ereaders and ebooks? As said elsewhere, my thinking is that the more ubiquitous epaper becomes, the cheaper and better the ereaders will be, and greater acceptance of ebooks will be almost unavoidable. I still expect to see the day when a sheet of epaper will cost very little more to produce than an equivalent size sheet of plain paper. At that point, you’re likely to hear very few voices still dissing ebooks.