How Soofa Signs Work

 
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Soofa is a female-founded company, launched out of MIT and Harvard in 2014. We make cities smart, social, and sustainable by responsibly introducing technology into the public right of way to improve the citizen experience.

Our Soofa Sign displays relevant content from the community, local advertisers, and national brands, connecting viewers to their neighborhood and city.

But what does that mean, exactly, and how does it work?

 
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Soofa Sign screens display content that people care about.

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Soofa screens display rotating content on the top 75% of the screen, as well as applets on the bottom 25% of the screen.

Applets on the bottom of the screen are typically real-time transit updates, events calendars, or a city Twitter feed.  

The content that rotates on the top 75% of the screen is a mixture of community posts, advertiser and local business content, and city content. There are anywhere from 6-10 advertisers running on a Soofa Sign neighborhood network, and there is always a percentage of airtime saved for the local community.

On the top 75% of the screen, Signs change content every two minutes. All Signs are wirelessly connected with a cell network and communicate back to Soofa HQ at all times. When content changes, E Ink uses a screen transition that helps clear the old content and replace with the new. You can think of this as similar to how you might shake out a picture from an Etch A Sketch.

 
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Sign content can be posted or scheduled on our self-serve platform called Soofa Talk, or directly with our account team for enterprise users. Soofa Sign content is hyperlocal and relevant to the audience it reaches—the people who live, work, and play in Soofa Sign neighborhoods.

We work with our brand partners to optimize all creative to not only look great but to be relevant for the community it’s running in.

Signs use electronic ink for a unique, crisp display.

Soofa Signs use a 42” black and white electronic ink display, the same you see on a Kindle. The screen boasts a 150 dpi resolution that is more crisp and clean, and is easier to read than traditional LCD displays, due to it being reflective instead of  backlit. The technology is not only beautiful but also low-energy and sustainable, allowing us to power our Signs with solar as well as reduce light pollution in cities.

 
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Engineered, built, and tested by us.

The original idea behind the Soofa Sign was to create a simple, friendly design with a minimal footprint–something that blends into its surrounding but also pops out.

Here at Soofa, we develop both the hardware and software that goes into our Signs.

Our engineers created the Sign in house, including designing our own sensor board and power board. We are always experimenting, redesigning, and prototyping in a constant iterative process.

 
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In order to get new Signs installed, we work closely with city leadership as well as private landowners and developers.

We aim to place Signs in a wide variety of neighborhoods and cities across the country.

Sign installation takes only 30 minutes – Since the Signs are solar powered, all they need is four bolts in the sidewalk to stay in place.

Once a Sign is installed in its new home, we monitor digital data every day, and have a team that inspects and cleans every Sign once a week.

 
 
Sandra Richter