Rear-projection display technology, a 60-inch swatch of touch-sensitive foil, and interactive marketing content melded on Montreal's Ste-Catherine Street earlier this month in a Canadian premiere.Groupe Dynamite Inc.'s Garage store on the city's famed shopping thoroughfare is playing host to the one-month pilot project, the first time such a deployment has been tried in Canada. The foil is installed in Garage's store window, with the display projecting on it from the rear. Browsers and sidewalk shoppers can touch the foil to leave feedback, view the company's catalog and Web site, and even engage with other customers online through discussion forums."In Europe, where they're maybe a year or so ahead of us, it's taken off there," says Greg Adelstein, president of Montreal's iGotcha Media Inc., Garage's technology partner in the trial. "With this first one here in Montreal, I think we're going to see a huge explosion in this new signage field over the next 12 to 18 months."Adelstein notes the concept's been tried twice in the US to date, both times with temporary displays at Polo Ralph Lauren stores in New York and Chicago, and both times with encouraging results."It's a great way to extend store hours, to shop even when the store is closed, or get some information if you're just walking by," he says.He adds that stores can also benefit by not just advertising their wares, but offering contest forms and other means of collecting information and building a database of potential customers.Since his firm's launch in 2005 as a provider of ad-supported "Webpads" - Internet-enabled tablet PCs - for coffee shops and similar establishments, Adelstein has expanded his ad network offerings to include touch-screen digital signage in retail stores.With this latest implementation, Adelstein says he's managed to put to use some of the techniques he's learned on smaller screens - and also learn some new ones. For instance, it was necessary to modify Garage's online content to make it work within the parameters of the interactive signage format."What you find on a website is usually very small, and is designed for a mouse and a pointer, whereas when you're standing in front of a window you need much bigger buttons," explains Adelstein. "So, we've had to reformat and repurpose their content a bit so it works on this medium."Other than obviously having the trial become a more permanent partnership, Adelstein adds he'd like to see corporate media tied into such advertising in the future, such as fashion videos and ringtones in the case of Garage. "They've got some of that on their website already," notes Adelstein. "I think that would be a really cool application."But Luddites should take note: just as e-commerce hasn't meant the outright automation of the retail sector, Adelstein thinks that interactive street-facing signage and human salespeople can coexist. "I think most people are still going to go into the store and try on the clothes - that just seems logical to me," he says. "I think it's just a great way to attract attention in a new way."