Relays are cute little (2.8″ diagonal) LCD color screens which connect to the Internet via your wifi network and can be used to display any images or messages of your choice. Once your Relay is connected to wifi, you can control it from anywhere else in the world by logging in to the Relay website and entering a message or uploading an image for it to show. Within 5 minutes or less, the target Relay will update to show the message or image. Relays come in two versions, desk or wall-mounted.
This post is specifically about one really interesting use for Relays – placing a desk-version Relay under your control on the desk of somebody else (provided you’re allowed to do so!). In other words, you give somebody a desk Relay, but you register the device yourself and keep the login/password to control it.
At home, you could think of placing a Relay on the desk of your spouse / significant other and surprising them with interesting pictures you think they’d like, or with daily memes, announcements, or whatever else they’d appreciate. You can of course change the picture or message you show on the Relay whenever you want and as often as you want.
At work, the most common use for this is setting up to-do lists on the desks of your employees with stuff you need them to get done. The Relays become a captive screen you alone control – employees can’t really dodge them or change what they show :-). Whatever you upload to the Relay will be shown. Compare that to for example emailing them, with the risks of emails being missed, deleted, forgotten, and so forth. Relays become a really useful productivity tool if you’re concerned about employees missing action items.
Of course if your employees aren’t desk-bound, such as on a factory floor or similar environment, a wall-mounted Relay might be more appropriate. You could also place those in common areas such as kitchens, dining areas, lobbies, etc.
So get the people around you set up with Relays and make it all happen!