ISS 2014 Abstract: Professor Nigel Davies, Lancaster University

Open Public Display Networks: A Communications Medium for the 21st Century 

Professor Nigel Davies
Professor, School of Computing and Communications
Lancaster University

Public Display Networks could emerge as a new communications medium for the 21st century, but this transformation can only occur if the technology moves from its current, closed model to a new, open one. Most public displays deployed today literally disappear: people have become so accustomed to their low utility that they have become highly skilled at ignoring them. In contrast to Mark Weiser's influential vision of the Computer for the 21st Century, however, public displays of the 21st century should not disappear. Rather they should become the backbone of a new global communications medium that provides valuable information to viewers who are motivated to actively embrace the technology. 

In this talk I will argue that the transformation of public displays to this new communications medium requires significant innovation that can only occur through opening display networks to applications and content from a wide range of sources, such as city officials, local residents, and visitors. Based on this idea I will discuss our work in creating the building blocks to realise this vision and reflect on 16 years worth of experiences of creating experimental public display systems.