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When LocaModa launched Wiffiti some 4 years ago, it was designed as an engagement tool for audiences to express themselves on screens at events or venues.

Wiffiti continues to serve us well and has been used in several hundred campaigns (with brands such as Pepsi, Coke, Verizon, GM etc) political events (such as a fund raiser for the then presidential candidate Barack Obama) and events/concerts (including major trade shows such as CES, American Idol tours and the Black Eyed Peas).

But a strange thing started to happen about 18 months ago.

Where LocaModa was focused on monetizing media on digital out-of-home screens, our platform unpredicatbly started to be embraced by teachers.

Like brands, teachers realized that their “audience” wasn’t always paying attention! Instead of telling their pupils to turn their phones off, enterprising teachers recognized the potential to use the phone as an engagement tool and communication channel.

What may well have started out as a “cool” idea or gimmick worked, and soon we saw tens of thousands of screens being made by users who were not exactly LocaModa’s target customers.

Today over 90,000 Wiffiti applications have been made by teachers.

Scolastic even published a lesson on text messaging in class via Wiffiti.

And that is why we not only had to listen to the wisdom of the crowd, but also work out where new markets for Wiffiti could be.

So today at Wiffiti.com, there is an invitation to a beta program that is being rolled out in the coming weeks to the many thousands of teachers, event/conference organizers and smaller digital networks who have been outside our core market.

The key features that teachers have been asking for have previously only been available to customers paying many thousands of dollars – but those features including the ability for a screen to be private and moderation tools, will soon be available to a much wider group of users.

And for event/conference organizers, who need more flexibility to customize screens to market to their audiences, there will be affordable Wiffiti Pro versions.

Our media clients and digital networks have a very different set of requirements for customized campaigns and/or hundreds or thousands of localized nodes, and these clients will be unaffected by the changes going on with Wiffiti. They will soon be offered a range of applications and features more easily tailored to their specific requirements.

So stay tuned – and if you want an invite to the Wiffiti beta program, you can get one here.


The photo above shows Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post Media Group with Carla Buzasi, Editor-in-Chief of Huffington Post UK. They’re at Charing Cross Station, London, tweeting to a LocaModa-enabled screen, running a real-time place-based social media campaign for the launch of Huffington Post UK.

I didn’t realize until last week that traditional street hoardings in UK are not familiar things to folks on this side of the pond. The memory of a guy with ink-stained fingers shouting something completely unintelligible to commuters is all part of British daily life. So I was really happy that LocaModa was asked to develop a place-based social media version of a newspaper street hoarding for Huffington’s Post’s UK launch this week.

The creative, like its traditional counterpart, features a live bold headline which grabs attention, and a moderated real-time tweet, hashtagged #HuffPostUK which helps emphasize the new media chops of the brand, as well as suggest to the viewer that this “poster” isn’t what it might first appear to be.

I’m not sure if I’m allowed to mention all the players involved in this campaign – but I would like to thank them all for the excellent team work, especially as much of the back-room work was unfolding during the July 4th weekend over here.

The campaign is running prominently in major train stations all over the UK. Another trip down memory lane for me as I used to commute to Waterloo Station every day when I was at Symbian and Paddington Station (where the bear comes from) is over the road from St Mary’s Hospital where I was born. Keeping it real.


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I rarely use this blog to blatantly plug LocaModa products, but I’m really excited about LocaModa Community Board, an application that we launched today. A link to the PR is at the end of this post, but I think there’s a more important strategic angle unfolding in the DOOH market that can’t be told in a product press release – so I wanted to blog about it here.

There are over 300 DOOH content management systems (CMSs).

That’s a problem that would get in the way of any market taking off.

Let’s be honest, brands, agencies and retailers really couldn’t care less about CMSs. And they certainly don’t want to have to wrestle with more than one. They want simple, non-proprietary, scaleable solutions. Ideally, a designer wants to build it once and know it can run everywhere.

We’ve been here before. The Internet took off with the invention of the browser which was simple, powerful and useful and provided a unified interface on top of proprietary operating systems.

I think a similar strategy has to unfold in DOOH to enable more frictionless distribution and greater scale. And I hope (for LocaModa’s strategic value) that it will happen via Community Board.

Community Board is also simple, powerful and useful and provides a unified interface on top of proprietary operating systems.

The value of community boards is in their connection to real people. A digital version of a community board takes a familiar metaphor and enables locations and brands to reach those communities. Packaging a DOOH application this way, makes it easier to understand by the entire value chain. It provides a utility that venue owners and brands can relate to. Brands can also be confident that their ad units (passive, active or interactive) will work in a consistent manner on all community boards, regardless of network capabilities. And community boards have a place and value in multiple verticals – health clubs, grocery stores, pharmacies, retail, offices, cafes, quick serve restaurants…

Very few companies are as focused on making DOOH applications and ad units work across multiple networks, multiple CMS, multiple channels – That’s what LocaModa has been resolutely focused on. As more and more DOOH networks seek mobile + social + local solutions in order to engage audiences and attract interactive media dollars (i.e. survive) they MUST adopt non-propriatary solutions. Simply put, even the largest networks cannot operate as islands.

LocaModa Community Board is launching nationally on six networks and two premier brands have already purchased media for Q3 and Q4. I’m excited for this application and LocaModa – but also because I can see how the DOOH market can grow like the web via such unifying applications.

Hey, an entrepreneur has to have a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) – mine is to enable The Web Outside. I think Community Board is a critical part of achieving that goal.

The official press release is here.


Making social DOOH media work across different networks – each with different caching policies, content management systems and player configurations – is the stuff that LocaModans wrestle with every day. That’s challenging in and of itself, but we added the complexity of ensuring that future cross platform/cross channel apps are also easier to develop – without having to be a brain surgeon. So I’m happy that the big brained engineers at LocaModa have been busying themselves for a major release. Here are some details…

Key features:

· Messaging: Flexible and extensible message classification system – makes it easy for developers to add message types and/or message sources.

· Moderation: Enhanced moderation and filtering/curation options of content based on tags, words, phrases, profanity and users/accounts.

· Local Caching Support: Like the Energizer Bunny, we keep going and going! LocaModa apps now support both Network Outage Mode (Network/Internet failure while SWF is playing) and Offline Mode (No network/internet connection prior to/up to SWF launch time). LocaModa apps now have Network/Venue options for configuring offline storage of device info, configuration info, messages, and assets using a pragmatic approach with a garbage collection system to ensure minimal device overhead. Due to the different caching policies of every DOOH network, this feature has been pretty challenging – hats off to the team who have persevered to make this work across multiple networks, OSs and CMSs. This is a big deal in my humble opinion.

· Enhanced Application Configuration: Again, regardless of a network’s CMS, OS and their screen specs, networks and/or venues can configure LocaModa apps and aspects of their appearance easily. For example, we include a configurable banner component that allows the network or venue to determine: the banner location, background, and transparency, the text font and color, and the rotation schedule. The banner and text autosize to the screen. Networks and venues can also configure the font, color and hang time of brand and user generated messages. No big deal for any competent CMS these days, but offering this flexibility for an application running on top of multiple proprietary CMSs makes a huge difference for venue owners or agencies that don’t want to have to learn about multiple DS systems just to change their messaging.

· Standardized Ad Units: We’ve been running standardized ad units across multiple networks for some time now, but now there’s more magic to the “write once run anyway” manner in which the same ad unit can resize in LocaModa applications regardless of network/screen configurations. We’re also introducing new sponsored ad units in response to great feedback from our Community Board application that enhances advertising opportunities and engages the audience. All apps and ad units now have an enhanced suite of analytics (Proof of play anyone?) and remote debugging tools.

· And not to mention a LocaModa SDK! (I said not to mention that!)

Some of these features have already begun rolling out on our latest campaigns. Stay tuned for more info in the coming weeks.


As the crisis in Japan continues to unfold, getting electricity to essential services is understandably more important than keeping some of its digital out-of-home screens lit up.

I don’t want to suggest that any business challenges are more or less important than humanitarian ones, but just what would it take to make a DOOH network in Japan (or anywhere for that matter) so essential, it must be kept running?

Google succeeds via the utility of search, before it monetizes via advertising. Facebook succeeds via the utility of connecting friends and family, before it monetizes via advertising. Like Google and Facebook, DOOH networks need to provide useful services and applications to the environments in which they operate before they can be monetized for secondary purposes such as advertising.

One way DOOH screens in Japan could be more valuable is to display hyper-local real-time updates at locations where people are struggling to remain informed.

We don’t need a crisis to learn that DOOH screens must provide utility and value.