In Stockholm, winter has struck, and the temperature is plummeting. As homelessness is becoming an increasing problem, this has led to the invention of a new emergency system displayed in the city’s digital billboards, with the purpose of guiding homeless people to the nearest shelter.
Homelessness is becoming an increasing problem in Stockholm and not having a home is especially critical during the winter, with hard weather conditions and freezing temperatures. Therefore, spending a night on the street can result in permanent health issues and even be life-threatening.
When temperatures hit Stockholm’s crisis limit, the city of Stockholm together with churches and non-profit organizations open emergency shelters for those not covered by social services, however; information about the establishment of the shelters often does not reach the homeless in time. The Out of Home Project tackles this communication problem by activating Clear Channel’s digital panels which reach over a million people a day in Stockholm.
This winter, Clear Channel Sweden is lending its digital billboards to help Stockholm’s homeless find their nearest shelter through new innovative technology. The Out of Home Project sees ad content from Clear Channel’s digital billboards replaced with directions to the nearest homeless shelter when the temperature drops to freezing conditions, helping to protect the homeless from the cold winter weather. The pilot may provide an answer to the growing issue of homelessness throughout Europe, and depending on the success of the project, we could see the technology behind the platform being used across other European cities.
Ola Klingenborg, Vice President of Northern Europe, Clear Channel International, said: “Our billboards are located where people are, and thanks to technology, we can develop solutions that can help both people and cities. This is something we see as an extension of our work in creating true value in the cities we operate in.”
The unique initiative uses data sources such as time, weather and location as triggers so that when the temperature drops below City of Stockholm’s crisis limit of minus seven degress Celsius, Clear Channel’s digital billboards display directions to open shelters nearby. It is a completely new initiative, bringing organisations that look after homeless people in Stockholm together for the first time on an OOH platform to provide a complete picture of the shelter networks in the city.
When the temperature is above the city’s crisis limit of minus seven degrees Celsius, the billboards display information on where people can donate necessities and how one can become a volunteer, as well as open day shelters for breakfast and warmth during the day.
Since launching in November, additional non-profit organizations in Stockholm have asked to be a part of the emergency system, further increasing the potential of the project to help the homeless escape the cold.
The initiative comes as the of the out-of-home (OOH) sector is driving the development of ‘smart cities’ through new technology, allowing billboards, bus shelters and street furniture to add new functions to serve residents. In the UK and the Netherlands, for example, digital panels broadcast missing children alerts, while across European cities Clear Channel displays provide helpful information such as traffic or weather updates, Wi-Fi, or the levels of pollution.