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Vornado Realty Trust's Times Square billboard uses mobile for real-time interactivity

Vornado Realty Trust wants to transform the media landscape via a digital display in New York's Times Square that uses a combination of art, commerce and mobile technology for real-time interactivity. 

SapientNitro?s Second Story, in collaboration with Universal Everything, helped to produce the experience that includes an abstract graphic narrative broadcast for the screen, containing more than 23 million pixels. The screen will ultimately serve as a media space for retail and other commercial advertisers.

?This platform is not just a screen but an opportunity for digital interaction with the audience,? said Donald Chesnut, chief experience officer of SapientNitro, New York. ?Using backend technology, including mobile, camera and motion-detection capabilities, the installation has the potential for visitors to contribute to and alter the content being displayed in real-time. 

?The combination of technology and user engagement creates participatory storytelling in an immersive environment,? he said.  

Visually enticing
Selected participants at an exclusive event last night co-created an abstract film that was revealed on the display to demonstrate the screen?s interactive capabilities.

The display hopes to push the boundaries of storytelling for brands and redefine what is possible in creating digital experiences for consumers in physical spaces with the use of mobile technology.

The interactive technology enables a variety of participatory experiences that blend physical and digital properties, including the ability for pedestrians to use their mobile devices to influence and select the content that appears on the screen.

The screen is installed on the Marriott Marquis at 1535 Broadway in Times Square. The interactive digital display stretches eight stories high and wraps the entire city block.

Creators believe the capabilities of the display will represent the next frontier for creating immersive experiences that will allow ?always-on? consumers and audiences to customize the brand content they want to interact with in real time.

Second Story, is a network of innovation labs that pushes toward interactive experiences across digital channels, such as the Web, mobile and physical installations.

Leading up to
SapientNitro is a constant motivator for innovation.

A digital executive at the ad:tech New York conference called for more creative ideas and customization in mobile mass messaging to connect with consumers on a more emotional level.

In the ?Reaching Creative Addressability at Scale: Myth or Mass Messaging? session, the executive claimed that most brands are relying too heavily on data instead of leveraging creative to develop better brand awareness and emotional messaging that resonates with large audiences. Unless a consumer is already on the verge of making a purchase, auto-messaging will likely not offer that extra call to action to buy an item or service (see story).

The new ad screen is just another effort to continue innovation.

?The sheer size, resolution, scale and interactivity of the world?s largest 4K, LED screen provides an outstanding platform in an already media-rich environment,? Mr. Chesnut said. ?Advertisers that are willing to take a bold approach, using a display the size of a football field, can engage with millions of viewers in an immersive way.  

?The interactive technology allows brands to create a variety of participatory experiences that blend the physical and digital, including the ability for pedestrians to use their mobile devices to influence and select the content that appears on the screen,? he said.

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York