Tomorrow’s Digital Cities – Today


cITTA2Visualplanet partners – Città Digitale – have created a ground breaking Digital City concept, where multiple through-window displays have been integrated into retail windows throughout Italian cities, providing interactive, informative displays for both residents and tourists.



The displays have been designed to create informative and engaging communications with users in high footfall areas throughout key cities.These locations were handpicked by the Città Digitale team – in exchange, the selected retailers were incentivised with free advertising on the screen installed in their store, as well as all the others throughout their city. The applications are easy to use Info Points which allow users to search for information about the city and local businesses: viewing local news, accessing opening times, making reservations for restaurants and hotels and checking out the latest promotions and deals has never been easier.

Filippo Ferruzzi, President of Città Digitale comments; “When I experienced an interactive window for the first time, I immediately thought about how it could change our habits when trying to find information whilst out and about. I imagined a world where you can inquire and be informed “from the street” – with a free tool – available to all 24/7.” 1


Following initial analysis it was concluded that the technology could add most value via the installation of information points in retail settings. Testing was carried out to ensure that a high quality bright screen was selected to compete with ambient light to ensure optimal viewing clarity for users. The screen deployment was originally funded by partners and supplemented with revenue from on-screen advertising. From inception there has been a strong belief in the screens as an exciting and futuristic addition to metropolitan areas. A commercial success, the project has been self-funding through advertising revenue ever since.


Città Digitale multi-lingual displays are a powerful, one-to-one marketing tool; available in Italian, Spanish, English, French, German and Russian, these customised installations enable the city to truly connect with its residents and visitors. The unique power of touch sensor technology provides access to users at times – and in situations – when they couldn’t normally be reached. The digital format means they are also a perfect advertising medium; they can be tailored to the audience, set to run at certain times and adapted to show local and current promotions and campaigns. Users can leave details to request further information or make reservations using the touch system – and can even speak with an operator! The application is cross platform and accessible on smart phones and tablets for the ultimate in convenience.


The installs have popped up in Italy on business and shop windows, as well as at points of cultural and tourist interest. The content is stored on a central server cloud and is kept current through nightly uploads. Creating a universal communication tool that is intuitive and fun to use has made areas more welcoming to new tourists, increased accessibility, and made the cities’ hidden gems easier to explore – increasing the overall enjoyment of both first timers and regular visitors



Although there has been strong backing for the screens,each city has different rules and regulations, so there were inevitably some hurdles to overcome in the process of installing and commissioning the systems.The success of the installed base has, however, boosted the case for wider adoption, making it increasingly attractive to new cities to embrace the digital era.It has been important for the team to obtain backing for the project to enhance its credibility; despite below average spending at retail level and on-going economic uncertainty, the team has identified some exciting projects that will help create the cities of tomorrow.


The touchfoil was the touch sensor of choice for this project, partly due to its ability to work through thick glass.The installations have been easily integrated into existing retail windows throughout the cities without the need for modification to the glass. Protected behind the glass these displayscan still be accessed in all weather conditions and may even be used with gloved hands. This also makes them robust,vandal proof and reliable -able to withstand millions of touches a day.

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Rachel Chapman-Cole, Marketing Executive, Visualplanet comments; “We are really impressed with Città Digitale installations. Not only are they visually impressive, they also take the touchfoil back to its roots of large format through window signage. This market is generating widespread interest due to its ability to maximise retail window space with 24/7 access and engagement with local communities. This is where it all started for us and we are delighted that our founder’s vision back in 2002 is now being realised globally through our partners.”

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