DOOH Companies Positioned to Lead "Smart Cities" Initiatives

By DPAA InSites Archives
Cover image for  article: DOOH Companies Positioned to Lead "Smart Cities" Initiatives

One of the major themes of the Digital Place Based Advertising Association's Video Everywhere Summit in October was the powerful, synergistic relationship between digital out-of-home (DOOH) media and mobile. DOOH is the media category uniquely not threatened by mobile. In fact, the two media activate and enhance and each other. Together, they offer powerful use of location data, customer impression targeting, multi-screen re-targeting, consumers on the path to purchase, geo-fencing and attribution.

This relationship is not only a noteworthy one for brands -- which increasingly recognize the need to focus on digital opportunities outside the home. It is also very significant for the future of "smart cities." The term "smart cities" refers to the use of technology by municipalities to manage urban growth while providing valuable services to its citizens.

Anyone walking the streets of New York City has likely seen the sleek, high-tech, modern art-like Links from LinkNYC that have been replacing traditional pay phones. LinkNYC is a partnership between the City of New York and CityBridge, a consortium of experts in technology, media, connectivity and user experience that includes Intersection, Qualcomm and CIVIQ Smartscapes. LinkNYC's initiative is not particularly good news for Clark Kent, who needs a new place to change into his Superman outfit, but it's fantastic news for the millions of people who live and work in the city.

The LinkNYC Links offer super-fast, free public wi-fi, the ability to make free phone calls, device charging ports and a video tablet to access city services, maps and directions. Advertising looks spectacular on the big beautiful screens. More innovative digital advertising services will be appearing soon as a key component of the screens' multiple layers of revenue opportunity.

Brian Dusho, one of the foremost experts in the smart cities space, says that more major cities than not will be "smart" within ten year's time. He describes the advent of smart cities as "out-of-home meeting the Internet of Things on the street." It's just a matter of time, he says, before we see "smart trash," "smart parking" and "smart lighting" become ubiquitous in cities across the U.S.

But, as we close out 2016, the reality is that while several major U.S. cities have a high degree of interest and are putting together plans, we should not expect to see immediate roll-outs on a par with the size and scope of New York's, Dusho says. More common will be a phased-in -- rather than an all-in -- approach.

And so the question is, who will lead the charge to accelerate the growth of smart cities?  A search for the answer to this question brings us back to the synergy of DOOH and mobile, and the best practice experiences that are being compiled as we speak.  It is these best practices and the overall knowledge base being built by the DOOH industry that put the sector in the perfect position to lead major municipalities into the smart cities future.

Companies like Intel, Bulzi, SITO Mobile, Ayuda, Vistar Media, xAd, Quividi, AdMobilize, Broadsign (combining automation and data) and others are doing exciting work in the area of location data and visual detection, identifying consumers in anonymous and aggregated fashion and then leveraging this data to serve addressable advertising. The marriage of mobile and OOH should deliver a higher media value, maximize data and enable super efficiencies for citizens. This will allow OOH to have an even greater affect on people's lives.

We know this is all particularly exciting to brands. In the DPAA's 2016 survey of media planners, fully 44% of respondents said they recommended media plans that combined DOOH and mobile over the prior 12 months, and that they're more likely to recommend DOOH in the future if mobile is used as follows: for retargeting ads that have been delivered on DOOH (78%); to measure DOOH audiences through tracking devices (75%), and as a means of enabling interaction with DOOH creative (69%).

DOOH networks are showing ads to consumers on screens in cinema (Screenvision), office buildings (Captivate) shopping malls (Adspace), gyms (ZOOM), transit and other consumer hubs (Clear Channel, Outfront), restaurants (AMI), taxis (Verifone), gas stations and more, then are retargeting those same consumers via their smartphones.

According to Dusho, it's this knowledge and expertise that will be essential in spurring the development of smart cities. Once the DOOH-mobile connection is clearly proven to generate significant revenue, it will help pave the way for cities to begin "smart" initiatives with confidence that the revenue ramp-up period will be relatively short.

Advertisers are recognizing that focusing video advertising almost exclusively in the home is doing yesterday's business because of the on-the-go nature of today's consumer. Once municipal governments see that DOOH and mobile are delivering the solution to reaching the mobile consumer, we can expect to see smart cities springing up faster than Clark Kent can change into Superman.

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