By Jamie Munks, Las Vegas Review-Journal
A new city of Las Vegas partnership with the Boston-based tech company Soofa is helping take the guesswork out of public transportation downtown, with a little help from the Southern Nevada sun.
Solar panel-powered digital boards are going in at each of the city’s seven Downtown Loop stops, giving riders updates about when the next shuttle will arrive and other downtown-relevant content.
The “electronic paper” appearance of the screens, similar to Amazon Kindle displays, is distinctive as signage amid the neon free-for-all of downtown Las Vegas.
That provides a juxtaposition for people to regard the displays as information versus entertainment, Soofa CEO and co-founder Sandra Richter said.
“It’s kind of like a hipster kiosk,” Richter said.
Solar-powered signs were installed at some of the Downtown Loop stops Thursday morning, when Richter and Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the plan in the Innovation Room at City Hall.
The signs align with the city’s energy-saving initiatives as the city in December 2016 reached its goal of powering all city facilities with renewable energy, Goodman said.
Soofa is rolling out its signage in less sunny cities, Atlanta and Boston, Richter said.
The pilot program is the latest technology being tested in the downtown Las Vegas Innovation District, which city officials created in 2016.
Las Vegas Chief Innovation Officer Michael Sherwood highlighted safety, air quality and energy-saving technology that is being tested in downtown, such as street lights that dim to 25 percent when no one is nearby but brighten when sensors pick up an approaching pedestrian.
The city will have a similar setup to the City Hall Innovation room at the CES show to tout some of the technologies being tested in the Innovation District.