Digital signage goes under the sea at Spanish Aquarium

In a dimly lit aquarium environment, signage explaining the exhibits and near the aquatic tanks needs to stand out and still be readable; interactive digital signage displays are more easily readable than static signs, but they can also display reams and reams more information in roughly the same amount of space.

So Spain's Palma Aquarium Mallorca has deployed digital signage to dynamically update its exhibit information and measure its customers' behavior and preferences.

Palma Aquarium Mallorca, in Mallorca, Spain, features live coral in each of its 55 exhibition tanks, and within those 55 tanks the aquarium boasts more than 8,000 sea animals from more than 700 species from around the world.

Palma Aquarium also prides itself on being a pioneer in integrating technology into its exhibit design, and as technology has evolved museum leaders looked for an upgraded solution to enhance the experience of visiting an aquarium. "Our former technology was installed in 2008 and at that moment it was at the forefront," Leticia Lope, communications manager at Palma Aquarium said in an AOPEN case study. "After several years this technology became obsolete, and that's why we decided to invest in new interactive digital media."

An upgrade of the display and signs in the aquarium was needed to provide more information to visitors, but the new displays also would need to be easy to manage by the aquarium's staff since information has to be frequently updated to keep up with current knowledge.

Palma Aquarium worked with Spain-based technology provider and AOPEN partner Plexus to deploy the tech upgrade, and Plexus then installed 44 AOPEN WarmTouch 22-inch displays. The WT22 is a fully interactive touchscreen supporting up to 10 touch points on a high-resolution 21.5-inch screen. Intended to be suited for commercial environments, the WT22 features dust prevention technology and a slim bezel design with a frameless front panel to make it easy to clean, according to AOPEN. The system also is designed to be energy efficient to support ICT sustainability, which was particularly important given the environmentally friendly philosophy of the Palma Aquarium's owners, according to AOPEN.

(The president of Palma Aquarium parent company Coral World International, Benjamin Kahn, has previously been recognized as a "Hero of the Environment" by TIME magazine in recognition of his environmental efforts, so the aquarium strives to be an icon for a sustainable marine environment and a main educational platform for its visitors.)

With the displays in place, each tank has an interactive screen that invites visitors to touch it and find out more about the sea creatures on display.

One of the main draws of the display model is that it's quiet and fanless, and capable of running 24/7. "These displays provide a great new experience for the visitors," Lope said in the case study. "Visitors can easily see what is in the tank, and if we have to change any information it is really easy for us to internally update it. But what is really important for us is that it is really aesthetic and has a low power consumption that fits very well within our facility and our 'green' philosophy."

In a video interview, Lope also said the fact that the displays are quiet was one of the primary determining factors in their selection.

The displays also can be used for advertising the aquarium's restaurant, gift shop and events, she said.

Palma Aquarium also uses the system to measure customer engagement by tracking click behavior on the screens. The analytics will be used going forward to create content that best fits with the audience analytics.

The aquarium also is evaluating the idea of putting displays in the children's areas of the facility or in its playground, with displays set at a lower height to engage children, Lope said. "We'll be able to offer them fun games to play that are educational in essence, a smart way of communicating the essence of a sustainable marine ecosystem."