How billboards and tech can intersect for a better world

by Sharna Bregman

billboard billboard

With innovation and some cleverly integrated technology, billboards can do much more than simply deliver messaging via copy and images.

Some even go so far as to provide a physical, tangible benefit – whether that be in the form of delivering you a drink of water in the midst of a drought or physically encouraging you stay out of the melanoma-producing hot sun.

Here’s five of the best that we’ve discovered:

  1. Making clean drinkable water out of thin air

    This Peruvian university’s billboard aimed to inspire potential students to pursue an engineering career by showing the power engineering can have in solving local problems. A significant issue in Lima is the lack of running water. However a potential advantage is that the humidity levels are high. Putting two and two together, the team engineered a billboard that actually produces clean, drinkable water using a reverse osmosis system.

  2. Showing you the consequences of speeding

    Elm Grove Police Department in Wisconsin created interactive billboards to show drivers the consequences of speeding. The billboards were triggered when drivers went over 25mph.

    slower-is-better-bills slower-is-better-hospital

  3. Encouraging you to adopt a dog

    With a mission to increase adoptions of its cats and dogs, the Battersea Dogs Home gave out flyers to passers-by embedded with RFID chips. As the person proceeded to walk around the shopping centre, the dog would follow them across multiple linked screens.

  4. Preventing skin cancer while delivering you Wi-Fi

    With the aim of increasing awareness and prevention of skin cancer, large structures delivering Wi-Fi were placed on beaches in Peru. The Wi-Fi signal follows the direction of shade so users needed to stay out of the sun if they hoped to connect

  5. Accepting your donations and making you feel good about it

    The Social Swipe is an interactive billboard with an embedded card reader. Swiping your card not only takes your donation, but also triggers an engaging and satisfying interaction on the screen.