Adwise Analytics P Ltd. spawned by one of the largest IoT application companies along with a couple of veterans from outdoor advertising, is now installing a solution on hoardings and other large outdoor displays that makes actual displays on these completely transparent and live to both the vendor and advertisers and their agencies. This is a step in the direction of making smart billboards.
Indrajit Sen, CEO, Adwise Analytics, said “in this line of advertising there is always a disagreement between advertisers, specialist agencies and media vendors on the actual date when a contracted campaign starts and ends and whether the display was fully visible during the interim period – that is there were no defects, illumination was on and the display was not substituted by any other in between etc. This smart billboard IoT solution that we have designed comes in the form of a cloud-based software platform which sources inputs through a hardware unit installed on each site that provides live photo inputs. Any defect that is caught on photo is automatically alerted to the vendor through the platform and also recorded.”
All the smart billboards in this project are integrated with a back-end analyser unit manned by well-trained experts. Media vendors, who have password protected access to the platform from any location, need to log in bookings on their hoardings and specify start and end dates.
The solution platform then automatically tracks actual display on the site against the booked brand and records mismatches, if any. At the end of the period of display, a certificate is produced specifying actual start and end dates and exact condition of the display on each day in the display period. This Third Party Certificate, when produced together with the bill from the media vendor, lays to rest any doubts or questions about the actual display versus contracted display.
Sharing more on this Sen said “each display site is first registered on our platform using Unique ID numbers based on a high sensitivity GPS monitor which distinguishes between hoardings located one on top of the other also, with different lat-longs. Afterwards, our input technology provides a stream of live images of that site – day and night. We provide access only to the media owning company and empower them to act on alerts of defects as and when they happen, as well as to share this information on a completely transparent basis with Clients and Agencies to eliminate any disputes on their billing.”
Currently this solution is being operationalised in Bengaluru and Kolkata – two cities with large numbers of outdoor advertising displays. Professionally managed companies have come forward eagerly to take this opportunity to grab market share by this show of transparency to advertisers.
Essentially, this solution offers a radical change in the ways that outdoor advertising has been working in India so far. Double bookings on same site for same or overlapping periods, collusion between lower operational level staff involved and similar highly questionable behaviour has been the order of the day.
It is now dawning on the industry at senior levels that unless urgently checked, these practices – which are no longer either secret or few – are slowly destroying an otherwise useful and profitable industry. Witness the falling share of outdoor advertising amongst the overall advertising media spends – at the expense of rapidly increasing spends for digital and other media which offer total transparency and assurance of delivery, besides sophisticated planning tools like audience metrics and programmatic buying. In outdoor advertising, metrics is a far cry when very basics like contract delivery assurances are not available. However, this new IoT solution has the promise of resolving at least this critical issue and restoring credibility and, therefore, increased business to this industry.
According to industry sources, it is predicted that the revenue in the OOH industry will amount to 28.3 billion Indian rupees in 2016 and grow to 45.2billion INR by 2020.