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Transportation’s New Found Friend, the Laser Projector

Projectors gain new life as digital signage solutions in transportation.

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Transportation’s New Found Friend, the Laser Projector

By Richard McPherson

When it comes to advertising, image is everything.  For transportation agencies exploring digital advertising, that adage is especially true, as these agencies seek to use the vast spaces of their venues and technology to raise additional revenues.

If an advertiser is not happy about the brightness or clarity of an ad, however, then that could spell doom for the agency’s long-term digital advertising prospects.

This issue is one reason why, historically, incorporating projectors for digital signage applications in the transportation industry has been a struggle. Lamps, their traditional light source, tend to burn out quickly under the strain of long hours. They simply cannot sustain the power and brightness required to meet industry demands. This is a major problem in a high usage environment like transportation where projectors typically run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Replacing lamps is a costly endeavor, and translates to steep labor costs when lamps reach their end of life after 1,500 to 4,000 hours of use. And the accumulation of dust typical in projectors that use lamps further accelerates their demise.

However, laser phosphor projectors, which emit a more consistent light output over their lifetimes, are changing the game. With lasers as their light sources, these distinctly modern projectors offer up to 20,000 hours of projector life at maximum brightness.

Lamp-less projectors also offer flexibility that is a major benefit in an environment that experiences heavy foot traffic on a daily basis. They have given users more placement options for display signage installations, for example.

With their robust durability and convenient flexibility, laser phosphor projectors are positioned to shine a bright light on digital signage in the transportation industry.

As Heat Rises, Lasers Keep their Cool

Typically, there is a great deal of ambient light present in transportation environments, from sources including windows and natural light at an outdoor bus stop. Images projected onto surfaces must compete with that light. This leads to high power requirements and stress on lamps, and shortens lamp life. As a result, users have to replace lamps every month to two months. Comparing the typical eight hours per day usage of a lamp-based projector, laser lifetime will be approximately seven years longer than a single lamp.

Because laser phosphor projectors operate at lower temperatures, they require a lower level of airflow than lamp-based projectors. As a result, they generate less dust, reducing the cost of labor. Given the lower level of stress on the equipment, parts last longer, in turn decreasing consumption costs. Users can save even more on parts consumption costs with laser phosphor projector models that do not require filters. This spares them the cost of replacing filters every few months.

In Advertising, Appearances Matter

Clarity and color can make or break advertising relationships, particularly in the case of logo quality. Companies strive to perfect their brand identities and their logos as powerful representations of who they are.

Laser phosphor projectors optimize advertisement imagery in several ways. Their solid state light sources protect colors from degradation, preserving the integrity of the brand. They also emit maximum levels of brightness, further supporting the desired color palette.

Near or Far, Lasers have it Covered

Laser phosphor projectors give users more options for distance and placement. And in an environment where digital signage competes with a constant flow of traffic and shares space with travelers, flexibility is everything.

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Richard McPherson is the Senior Product Manager for Projectors at NEC Display Solutions.  He can be reached at