In­ter­net of Things Tops the Bill­boards Charts

Me­dia com­pany is get­ting an IoT up­grade as proof of per­for­mance comes into spot­light

The Economic Times - - Disruption: - Jochelle.Men­donca @times­group.com

Mum­bai: Bill­boards, the old­est and least tech­nol­ogy-driven of all ad­ver­tis­ing me­dia, are now be­ing given an In­ter­net-of-things up­grade, as brands and me­dia own­ers look for new ways to en­sure proof of per­for­mance.

Out-of-home dis­plays have typ­i­cally suf­fered be­cause sim­ple things like torn ads or elec­tric lights not be­ing put on at night af­fect the use­ful­ness of a cam­paign. Brands and ad­ver­tis­ing agen­cies still rely on peo­ple on bikes tak­ing pic­tures of hoard­ings to en­sure that they are get­ting what they have paid for.

“This has been a sig­nif­i­cant prob­lem for the out-of-home in­dus­try. Me­dia own­ers can have as much as 20% of their pay­ments with­held be­cause of is­sues and brand own­ers don’t have com­plete sat­is­fac­tion that they are get­ting what they pay for,” said In­dra­jit Sen, CEO of Ad­wise An­a­lyt­ics. Sen was pres­i­dent at Prime­site, the out-of-home di­vi­sion of Mu­dra and COO of Ja­gran En­gage.

Ad­wise, which has al­ready tied up with hoard­ing own­ers Selvel and Prakash Arts in Bengaluru and Kolkata, is at­tach­ing sen­sors and mini-cam­eras to hoard­ings, which are then tied to a cloud-based soft­ware plat­form.

By map­ping the lat­i­tude and lon­gi­tude, the sys­tem is­sues a unique num­ber to each hoard­ing. The cam­eras take pic­tures of the ad­ver­tise­ment to en­sure it hasn’t been torn and has gone up on time and the sen­sors track when they switch on the lights.

Ad­wise is a joint ven­ture be­tween In­ter­net-of-things tech­nol­ogy firm telem­at­ic­s4u, Sen and out-door ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­try vet­eran Vas­ant Jante. T4U’s In­ter­net-of-things plat­form is be­ing de­ployed to track fraud in the min­ing in­dus­try and by star­tups like ZoomCar.

Sen added that the sys­tem was de­lib­er­ately set as a third-party in­de­pen­dent sys­tem to help fill the trust deficit in the sec­tor. The com­pany has also tied up with a non-banking lend­ing firm to fund the ini­tial tech­nol­ogy cost.

“The ini­tial set-up cost is about .₹ 30,000. Af­ter that is about .₹ 1,500 per hoard­ing per month. But with that they get three-month book­ing his­tory of that lo­ca­tion, the abil­ity to send di­rect emails from the plat­form. There are more fea­tures,” Sen said.

Sen added that though the de­ploy­ment of the so­lu­tion had just be­gun, the com­pany saw an op­portu- nity to take the busi­ness to mar­kets such as West Asia and East­ern Europe. Me­dia own­ers say the de­ploy­ment of tech­nol­ogy is still in its early stage and it is too early to gauge the im­pact.

“The client wants a greater fo­cus on proof of per­for­mance and the client is al­ways right. We are tes- ting some op­tions, this is one of them. But I would think a third­party sys­tem would have the best chance,” Ja­han Me­hta, di­rec­tor at SelvelOne, told ET. Me­hta said the com­pany’s other op­tions were us­ing geo-tag­ging of pic­tures taken on mo­bile phones to en­sure com­pli­ance.

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