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Archive for August, 2011

Over this past week there’s been some coverage about ESPN’s campaign in UK.

You can read about the campaign in Brand Republic, The DailyDOOH and Electric Avenue

Behind-the-scenes the ESPN campaign needed a multi-national effort and that should be a wake up call for people watching DOOH more closely.

Because this is becoming a turnkey requirement for all DOOH networks.

On the surface the ESPN campaign seems like an simple concept – real-time comments and tweets for the launch of UK’s soccer season. But anything real-time that runs across multiple networks is no walk in the park.

The campaign required 14 different configurations for 8 networks and 300 screens. Some of the networks were ready and able to run real-time content – others less so. Some cached content until it was updated, others did not. Some updated in real time, others updated at discrete intervals. Some had a reliable hard-wired, persistent Internet connection, others had intermittent wireless connections. Some screens were portrait, others landscape, some super wide “banners”. Some had square pixels, other had oblong pixels.

That’s what we deal with at LocaModa every day. And agencies and media buyers really shouldn’t be exposed to these issues.

Cross channel DOOH might be difficult today but it’s the future because no single network can be all things to all brands all the time.

In short – media buyers and agencies want to know that their campaigns can run across multiple networks in a standard way – if that isn’t possible, networks with a propriety solution (or no solution) will be less able to attract advertisers.

I predict the type of campaign that was executed for ESPN will be run-of-the-mill within 12 months. For that reason, this was not innovative, but was also a really big deal – and Posterscope and Arena Media – the teams working in the trenches with LocaModa to make this happen – are to be congratulated. This is critical step for the development of the UK DOOH market.

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When Google announced their purchase of Motorola’s mobile business last week, there were plenty of column inches devoted to the merits or risks of their strategy. One post that got my attention however made me think about the evolution of DOOH and how we can perhaps look at what’s happening in adjacent markets in order to predict how our own market might evolve.

In his Venturebeat article about Google’s Motorola move, Peter Yared brings up the “Rule of Three” phase whereby a maturing industry consolidates typically around three major companies. He uses the example of GM, Chrysler and Ford and speculates the mobile industry is shaping up around Apple, Google and Microsoft (I think that’s stretch – as MS is still fighting for recognition via Nokia, but I’ll try to keep on topic…)

Yared’s next point is the one that got me more interested – that the three market leaders, in order to remain competitive, then seek to own or control a full vertical stack and “extract efficiencies between and from each layer: mobile operating systems, mobile devices, desktop operating systems, personal computers, web browsers, productivity applications, content distribution and cloud services. Now we know why Apple needs Safari, iWork and AppleTV. Why Google needs the Chromebook, YouTube video rentals, and Motorola. And why Microsoft needs Bing and Nokia.”

He goes on to make the point that each part of the stack doesn’t really make commercial sense on its own, but collectively they enable the competitive edge. Apple’s iCloud offering is nowhere near as good as Google’s and Microsoft’s offerings. But it is good enough to keep the Apple fanboys around, and that’s all that matters.

So, in DOOH, the consolidation phase (which is so clearly underway), might well be a precursor to our own big players becoming more vertically integrated. In which case, what does the “DOOH Stack” look like? I suspect it looks a little like this:

THE DOOH STACK:

MEDIA PLAYERS & IP
DOOH NETWORK & VENUE AGREEMENTS
CONTENT MANAGEMENT/SERVICES & IP
CONTENT DISTRIBUTION/SERVICES & IP
DOOH MEDIA/APPS/INTERACTIVE INTERFACES & IP
And not forgetting… SCREENS (AND OTHER DOOH HARDWARE) (Added after prompting from Kyle Porter and NanoLumens!)

So will the DOOH Stack be our industry’s next hunting ground?

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Social media never stands still. In the past few weeks, foursquare has updated their APIs and they have recently announced their events feature. This is a big deal for any company focused on place-based social media. So foregoing summer cookouts and coding through the night, our engineering team has developed LocaModa HereNow, the first digital out-of-home application to compliment foursquare’s events feature.

HereNow has been a concept that we have had for a very long time and something that several clients recommend we build. For reference, we think about what is the best experience from a venue, consumer and then brand perspective and build accordingly. We use social media as a way to build value inside of digital place-based advertising networks (digital out-of-home) with fit for purpose applications.  Our fullscreen foursquare application is great for our day-to-day business because our applications are built for schedules that contain a variety of content but in an event setting displaying the Mayor, tips, and total check-ins for more then 30 seconds becomes less then exciting.

That mentality of thinking about the venue first then the consumer has made our products very popular for events whether it’s a concert, NHL game, NBA game, CES or a party with your friends, people love to see their messages on screen and event producers need the ability to moderate.

LocaModa HereNow displays users as they check-in via foursquare front and center alongside their name and where they are from.  Behind the scenes, profile photos hit the LocaModa Manager where they can be moderated. The profile photos are then assembled into a background mosaic of check-ins that dynamically updates as more people check-in. The area where the user information is shown rotates with venue safe tips that are controlled in the LocaModa Manager.  We have also thought about what will happen when 50 people check-in (swarm!) and so forth.  The application displays the appropriate swarm badge when each milestone is reached.

Like all of our applications, LocaModa HereNow includes standard cross-channel ad units that brands can leverage too (skyscraper & fullscreen).

We are already responding to brand and agency demand for the features in LocaModa HereNow so I don’t think we’ll have to wait too long to see this in the wild.

 

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I’ve received a number of emails about an article in MediaPost titled “Twitter Comes to DOOH” by Erik Sass, posted on Friday, August 12, 2011.

The article concerns “a new offering from Visix, Inc., a digital signage software provider, which recently unveiled a “Twitter Board” and “Twitter Bulletin” among its new DOOH options and creative services.”

The article’s title and Mr Saas’s comments that the combination of Twitter and DOOH “never really occurred to me before I saw it done the first time” leave the reader with the clear impression that Visix’s product is an industry first.

I first want to congratulate Visix for doing the right thing. DOOH + Social media is a great strategy to encourage audience engagement, but I’m sure Visix know that they are not the first to do this.

It might seem petty to proclaim that LocaModa did this first, but here are a few facts:

Since 2008, LocaModa has been running live social media streams on some of the largest DOOH networks in the world, including Clear Channel, RMG, Zoom Media, Ecast and JCDecaux.

Our platform is agnostic – it runs on any digital signage software including Scala, Broadsign, X20 and a multitude of DOOH networks’ proprietary content management systems.

Over 70,000 of our Twitter screens have been used by schools, conferences, events.

We’ve received awards (including one from MediaPost over a year ago) and published dozens of article and white papers about the use and best practice of Twitter/Facebook/Foursquare and DOOH.

And finally, it’s also in the public domain that we have an intellectual property portfolio covering the use of web-based social media on DOOH with one granted and four pending patents with priority dates going back to 2003 (pre Twitter in fact).

So I’m surprised that a Mediapost journalist, especially one who’s written extensively on DOOH and Social media could look at Twitter coming to DOOH in 2011 and think it’s a news story.

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Interactive screens, mobile technology and Shakespeare are unlikely bedfellows.

‘Tis true, but Scholastic, the global education and media company, focused on helping children around the world to read and learn, is using LocaModa’s Wiffiti to make learning Shakespeare more fun.

In their Lesson Plan 5: Summarizing by Text-Messaging Shakespeare, they set out how teachers can safely use mobile technology and interactive screens to engage students.

I’ve taken the following excerpt from their website (the link above is well visiting – they do an excellent job of clearly explaining how to set up an interactive screen experience.):

DIRECTIONS
1. The teacher goes over mobile safety and appropriate use before beginning this lesson.
2. Before students begin reading Romeo and Juliet, the teacher reads the opening prologue. The teacher may also want students to be looking at the words as it is being read by projecting them on an overhead.
3. The teacher asks students to think about the prologue, and to summarize it in 140 characters by using their cell phones to send a text message to the Wiffiti screen that the teacher previously set up.
4. The teacher projects the Wiffiti screen along with the information on how to text to the screen (this automatically shows up on each Wiffiti screen).
5. The students begin to send their summaries to the Wiffiti screen via their cell phones.
6. Once the summaries are all up on the screen, the teacher reads through them and asks the students to vote on which one they think best summarized the prologue.
7. The teacher then selects a piece of dialogue or a scene from Romeo and Juliet, reads it, and has the students summarize the same way as above.

I find this so inspiring – not only in terms of the innovation in education (I wish I had such interesting classes when I was force-fed the Bard) but also because every day it is more and more obvious that media professionals HAVE to embrace technologies that enable dialogues with their audiences.

DOOH pros, where art thou?

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