The Net goes up and down
December 10, 1999
December 10, 1999
by James A. Martin
(IDG) -- Here's a multiple-choice question: When riding in a crowded elevator, do you typically look at: a) the floor, b) the ceiling, c) the door, d) the dandruff of the person standing in front of you, or e) all of the above?
Chances are, you picked "all of the above," because there's not much else to do in an elevator. But that's about to change. Early next year, Otis Elevator Company will begin displaying Internet content in elevators in New York, Sydney, and Paris.
The Net-wired elevators will feature a flat-panel color screen, usually positioned above the doors. Elevator occupants (also known as "captive audiences") will see full-motion, full-color content that changes every 5 to 10 seconds. The content will include news, sports, and weather headlines, building information (such as announcements for upcoming fire drills), and local traffic updates.
And because Otis has the largest installed base of elevators around the globe--some 1 million and counting--the displays will also include, you guessed it, ads. No advertising partners have been announced, however.
Next Generation Network, a Minnesota company with video screen installations in convenience stores and delis around the country, is delivering the content. The information will be transmitted over the Internet to monitors in Otis elevators via phone lines. IBM's e-Business Solutions unit is supplying the hardware, software, and networking capabilities.
Otis isn't the first company to put video screens in elevators. That distinction belongs to Captivate Network, a small, privately held company. But with 1.2 million "vertical transportation systems" installed and operations in 222 countries, Otis says its service will be "the first true global application of Internet technology inside an elevator."
The service, called e*Display, will be integrated into new models of Otis elevators and will be available as an upgrade to existing elevators as well.
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