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Two-way news: City of London’s new recycling bins with display screens

People receive their news from many sources these days – papers, television, web, mobiles. And now, rubbish bins.

Renew, a company co-founded in 2002 by chief executive Kaveh Memari, has developed a newspaper recycling bin which doubles as an open-air information screen. It has placed nearly 100 of the hi-tech bins around the City of London under a 21-year contract with the authority.

Renew recycling bin London

The bins – or techno-pods as Memari refers to them – are made of damage-resistent fibreglass with screens at either end which can relay anything from news to advertisements to information on London underground delays or the number of Boris bikes available in the vicinity. A team of journalists provide the news feed, with other content coming from magazines such as the Economist and Time Out. A group of software developers – what Memari calls the Geek Squad – operate from Athens.

The initial impetus for the bins came from the City of London authorities, with the capital littered with discarded free newspapers and Brussels putting pressure on for it missing recycling targets. Memari said: “We de-risked it for the City, they don’t pay for the service and the only risk for them is reputational [if things go wrong].”

“We have killed the idea it’s a grotty place for [advertisers and publishers] to put their messages. We are also talking to seven major film studios and they are very interested in the possibilities.”

He believes studios could film special scenes to be shown on the screens, linked to major movies in what is effectively a viral marketing campaign.

The pods can also be used for emergency messages, with one recent test showing an alert reaching the system just three minutes after being received at the control room.

Source The Guardian

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