One of the most useful future technologies I've been fortunate to see recently is Fujitsu 's oddly named UBWALL (pronounced 'U-B-Wall'), a giant plasma display panel loaded with RFID and Wi-Fi and intended for pushing information to all and sundry. Although it has been around for at least two years, the UBWALL has now found its first home outside the Fujitsu R&D labs.
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Financial-services company Nomura Securities is installing an undecided number of the terminals in its branches around Japan in an effort to provide more information to customers. At Nomura the information will be about trading, stock prices and branch services.
The main draw of the UBWALL is a 50-inch plasma screen that displays general information in 'attract' mode until a customer approaches and is detected by a motion sensor. It then switches to offer a menu of services and the option to find out more about them, all navigated through using the touch-sensitive display.
While Wi-Fi is used by the company for updating the content on the UBWALL via a dedicated content-management system (CMS), the use of RFID technology is a lot more innovative. Brochures, personalised quotes and whatever else a user fancies taking home can be wirelessly transmitted to any suitable device the customer might have. Considering that most new phones in Japan have suitable IC chips embedded in them, the potential for a forest of UBWALLS marching across the nation is high.