SIGN OF THE TIMES

The Reuters/Instinet sign that looms over New York’s Times Square looks like any other news bulletin along Broadway. But the block’s first digital sign stands alone — literally. Not one human is required to run the 27 separate broadband lines that feed text, images, and video in real-time to the screen. All data is written in XML, tagged, and sent to the appropriate slot on the 23-story sign.

With technology developed by New York interactive agency R/GA, the sign debuted on New Year’s Eve and went fully live in June. “It’s pointing toward the future where details are handled by computer. Traditional programming will be totally changed,” says R/GA chairman Bob Greenberg. Watch for a second R/GA brainchild, this one a fashion video board, at the new Fashion Show shopping center in Las Vegas in November.