Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Window treatment Introducing the electronic shade

New Visual Media feels pixel technology is energy-efficient product of future

Elliott Schlam, principal, New Visual Media Group, shows off his dynamic window technology.

How does a window company get a name like “New Visual Media Group”?

It starts out as a billboard company 10 years ago, realizes its technology and business model don’t mix, and finds an alternative product line.

And doesn’t change its name.

Let’s back up: When New Visual Media Group first launched in 2007, it believed it could create pixel-technology for the emerging electronic billboard industry.

But when it came time to connect those pixels to make a display as large as a billboard, it became clear the technology wasn’t practical, and Principal Elliott Schlam realized the company needed to reconsider the applications for its technology.

“We started the company as a flat-panel display company,” he said. “In billboard displays, each little pixel was a tenth of an inch in size and we realized that, for a billboard, you’d have to go through the engineering to put the pixels together so you don’t see any seams.”

Then Schlam found inspiration in the most unlikely of places.

“I was reading literature about how windows consume 5 percent of the nation’s energy and thought it’d be interesting if we could make these pixels bigger so we could cover up a window,” he said. “We very quickly modified the technology, which doesn’t get washed out by the sun, from very small pixels to window-sized pixels.”

He discovered those pixels make the perfect shades for windows.

How it works
Elliott Schlam, principal of New Visual Media Group, says the company developed its window-shade technology by enlarging pixels it originally developed for flat-screen displays.
But how does it make a building more energy-efficient?
“Basically, the structure is an electronic capacitor,” Schlam said. “There’s a conductive coating on the glass and we put a conductive coating on the shade. Then there’s a very thin lamination on the glass, so you have a capacitor, which is a very simple structure.”
The conductive and ink coatings on the shade then add to the shade’s energy-saving properties, according to Schlam.
“We’ve chosen them because they reflect radiation and have these energy-efficient properties,” he said. “It’s the nature of the coatings on the shade.”

The company utilizes standard, double-paned windows and places an electronic shade, an enlarged pixel, in the gap between panes. These shades can be triggered to rise and fall electronically using a remote or mobile app.

“The shade is a very thin plastic foil, which is coated with ink, and we put it through a thermal processor,” Schlam said. “When you put a voltage on it, the shade rolls down the glass. When you remove the voltage, it rolls back up again.”

This ink coating makes the shade highly customizable.

“Because we coat the shade with ink, it can be red, blue, green or pink,” he said. “It can even have a floral print.”

According to Schlam, any image can be printed on the shades, even logos. This ability to brand the shades, Schlam says, has generated a lot of interest in various private industries.

“We’ve shown this to the large international aircraft manufacturers who are interested in putting it in cabin windows,” he said. “You could put the aircraft logo on the shade and the passenger can push a button and the shade would go down and, since it’s fully electronic, the head flight attendant or captain could open or close all of them at once if there’s a need to do that.”

Biz in brief
Company: New Visual Media Group
Founded: 2007
Headquarters: Eatontown
Employees: 12
One last thing: Because its shades are placed between panes of glass, they’re more sanitary than normal curtains. According to Elliott Schlam, there is interest in the health care industry because of these properties.

There’s another benefit, according to Schlam: The shades are highly energy-efficient.

“It’s extremely energy-efficient, many times that of any other window technology out there today,” he said. “The main thing it does is block sunlight from warming up the inside of the house.”

According to Schlam, standard insulating glass today passes approximately 20 percent of the sunlight into the structure, while New Visual Media Group’s technology passes only 3.5 percent.

And even though the company is in talks with various industries to bring its technology to the manufacturing space, other companies and some government agencies have clearly seen potential.

New Visual Media Group has received four contracts from the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology, one from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and one from Public Service Electric & Gas, among others.

Susanna Chiu, director of energy efficiency services for PSE&G, said this program was designed specifically to help emerging companies develop their promising technologies.

“PSE&G’s Technology Demonstration Pilot Program was designed to help companies like New Visual Media take their innovative energy efficiency ideas and make them accessible to customers,” she said. “We chose the Electro Polymeric Display technology for a grant because we believed that it had both technical merit and real world commercial potential that was worthy of further development.”

E-mail to: andrews@njbiz

Andrew Sheldon

NJBIZ Business Events