The Toronto Zoo, located in beautiful Rouge Valley, is home to more than five thousand animals of a whopping 450 species. As one of the largest zoos in North America, it is also a sought-after destination for adults and children alike to spend a day taking in the sights and sounds of nature.
When Charles Duncan, manager of computer & telecom services at the Toronto Zoo, was looking to install new digital signage displays at the entrance to the park, he looked for energy-efficient displays that could withstand Canada’s harsh temperatures.
The SunBriteDS Marquee Series of outdoor digital signage displays fit the bill.
SunBriteTV launched the line of dedicated digital signage displays for permanent outdoor installation during InfoComm 2014, calling SunBriteDS “a whole sub-brand of digital signage models.” The Marquee Series models are fully weatherproof and energy-efficient, making them a perfect choice for the Toronto Zoo.
Earlier this season, four 55″ SunBriteDS displays—each one a DS-5507ESTL-BL Marquee Series model—were installed at the park’s admission gates. Today, the displays are used for signage, information, wayfinding and even advertising.
“Beyond providing guests with crucial information such as various daily events and special exhibits, our displays give us the ability to advertise our sponsors and partners,” says Duncan, who oversees nearly all the zoo’s technology and first installed SunBriteDS seven years ago.
The four displays that now welcome guests to the zoo are paired with Technovision media players, after an installation process that Duncan calls “a breeze.” Each display runs a Full HD image at a high 1920 x 1080p resolution.
Not So Green on Going Green
“SunBriteDS displays would not be a part of our facility without fulfilling each of our needs, especially our green energy initiatives,” says Duncan.
The Toronto Zoo spans 710 acres and welcomes more than 1.3 million yearly guests. Because of its size and attendance, the entire park requires more than 11 million kWh of electricity per year.
Duncan and zoo staff are committed to energy conservation and lowering overall energy use. The zoo employs many alternative energy sources including solar power, geo-thermal heating, green roof technology and energy efficient equipment.
“As soon as our digital signage software stops transmitting a VGA signal when the park closes, the Marquee Series models are automatically powered off and then on again when the park opens the next morning thanks to the automatic Power Save feature,” says Duncan.
Protecting Against Mother Nature
The displays also need to withstand Canada’s extreme temperatures and winter conditions. Equipped with automatic internal cooling and temperature regulation systems, SunBriteDS’ digital signage displays are fully functional from -40 degrees to 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
The displays feature 2,000-NIT, high-heat tolerant LED panels designed to be easily viewed and read no matter where the sun is in the sky.
The exterior cabinet, manufactured from durable powder-coated aluminum, includes gasketing and filtration systems to keep out moisture. The zoo itself presents additional threats, like the possibility for insects and spiders to get inside the display. The exterior cabinet protects against this as well.
“Spider silk is extremely conductive and can cause arcing across internal electronics,” says Jonathan Johnson, director of brand marketing, SunBriteDS. “SunBriteDS’s Watertight Cable Entry and filtration systems guarantee that no unintended foreign objects or organisms tamper with the interior.”
Panels of similar kind of are unable to protect the LCD crystals from direct sunlight, which can cause temporary dark spotting on the screen. This is commonly called isotropic blackout, which the zoo’s previous outdoor displays did not protect against.