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Lighting displays exploit GPRS


Johannesburg-based Firewater Light  recently developed an innovative customised marketing display system by making smart use of the RLOG GPRS modem from local developer, Clever Devices and Designs.

Lottery numbers sent to LED ball via GPRSFirewater describes itself as a new-age technology driven company that creatively utilises various lighting technologies to create eye-catching promotional and marketing displays. Alon Berman, managing member and self-proclaimed gadget connoisseur, has been lighting up brands for nearly 10 years utilising lighting technologies including electroluminescence, chemical-luminescence (glow sticks), neon, LED, plasma, phosphorescence (glow-in-the-dark) and others. “Our initial idea eight years ago was to find a way to draw more attention to alcohol promoters in night clubs and to make a brand stand out by being a topic of conversation. We now see opportunities in nearly every environment, day or night” he says.

Four years ago, the company introduced a range of intelligent LED displays that include spherical 360 displays, digital ceiling fans and subliminal light sticks to address the issue of having fixed installations but with varying messages – all with standard RS232 serial interface. These displays are found in many casinos, clubs and retail outlets where the LED lights stand out against all lighting conditions. Initially the company would prepare artwork at its head office and send out the displays, but to change them required physically being on site with a laptop and serial cable. A workaround using micro SD cards was then instituted but they still required a human to insert them.

RLOG offered an effective and convenient solution by offering a ‘virtual’ serial cable to connect to these devices from literally anywhere in the world over GPRS networks. With a custom 3G modem built to fit into existing displays, there is very little visible evidence of the data-enablement other than a thin antenna. Updates are done online, 24/7, and national campaigns can be rolled out in a matter of minutes instead of weeks. Any message can now be promoted on these displays whenever required, from jackpot values, lottery numbers and SMS competitions to specials for that hour or even stock prices. The RLOG custom software allows for distributing one message to thousands of devices or even running regional campaigns with unique artwork for different regions.

Berman concludes: “With the ever reducing mobile data tariffs and increased coverage, we will utilise this solution for years to come and are already exploring using it throughout Africa.”


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