Original article by Nicholas Sakelaris from Dallas Innovates.
The days of static storefront displays with neon signs, stickers or posters could go the way of dial-up Internet if Daniel Black has anything to say about it. The 27-year-old entrepreneur is the founder and CEO of Glass-Media Inc., a Dallas startup that makes storefront glass as immersive and easy to change as a website.
Here’s how it works: They use a proprietary window cling and projection coating to adhere to the glass and a projector is installed in the business.Digital, cloud-based content is projected onto the glass so everyone passing by the business can see it.
It could be anything from daily specials and promotions to Yelp reviews or Twitter comments. Compare that to traditional storefronts that are only changed out every few months, can’t respond to things in real-time and have no measurable return on investment.
“We’re trying to bridge the gap between the physical and digital space,” Black said. “It’s about convincing brick and mortar brands to engage with pedestrians and vehicles alike. In the physical world, most businesses have thousands of consumers passing by each week.”
Glass-Media has partnered with Panasonic and is rolling out the technology through pilot programs with Fortune 100 retail and restaurants brands. The team of eight employees work in the West End in Dallas in the same building as the Dallas Entrepreneur Center, where they got their start three years ago. Much of the content will be generated in-house by Glass-Media for its clients.
“We really look for early adopters,” Black said. “We look for brands that are leading edge.”
He envisions all kinds of uses as the storefront becomes an extension of their website. A fast-food restaurant could seamlessly switch between breakfast, lunch, dinner and even late-night promotions. A sports bar could react to a team winning or losing, making an instant connection with fans. Pet adoption facilities could post pictures of pets. Businesses could post 5-star reviews, which encourages more people to post reviews.
The projectors are designed to be bright enough to compete with the sun, making them fully visible even on the brightest day. Older technology, such as using a flatscreen television, can cause glares when the sun is out.
Cities each have their own sign regulations and some are more strict than others. Black said they’ve made everything customizable so they can get the right dimensions, refresh rate, and other regulations.
“We’ll adhere to all the laws beforehand so won’t have any conflict with the city,” Black said. “All it takes is the click of a button to change the content to adhere to the local signage law.”
Black, who is from Silicon Valley, studied government and economics and working in digital marketing and advertising before founding Glass-Media in 2012.