No limits! How anything is possible using technology and a digital screen

With annual revenue now exceeding £1bn, the Out of Home industry is going from strength to strength and Digital OOH is becoming even more significant, forecasting a 30% share of revenue by the end of 2015. Along with this growth in revenue and inventory are the endless opportunities that data and new technology is bringing to Digital OOH.

Facial recognition technology is one of the advancements which is helping to propel the medium into the future. For example, Ocean have created interactive billboards to recognise when people actively pay attention to an image, and this has been used by Women’s Aid to draw attention to a bruised woman on screen. This is the first digital out-of-home campaign that uses the attention of people looking at the digital screen to trigger an immediate change in the creative. Those who look at the billboard get feedback via a live video feed that runs along the bottom of the ad as a visual ticker-tape, registering an increasing number of viewers. As more people take notice of the image of the women, her bruises slowly heal, demonstrating to passers-by that by actually taking notice they can help confront the signs of domestic violence by not turning a blind eye.

Ocean aren’t the only media owner to deploy such interesting technology; both AMScreen (petrol stations) and JCDecaux (Tesco store entrances) have both partnered with Dunnhumby and are at the forefront of optimising digital loops to audiences with digital screens that can determine gender and age to deliver more relevant screen content for the customer. The technology also allows Decaux to skew up/down to drive product relevance at certain times of the day and align to other relevant categories not necessarily within the same competitive set. Motion recognition is also something which is being used more frequently whereby ultra-sonic sensors in the screens can identify movement which can affect what is on the screen – a hair brand in Sweden activated this so that when trains arrived at the platform, the model’s hair would swish as if she was physically on the platform.

In addition, interactions with consumers have become more prominent via new mobile technologies such as NFC (Near Field Communication), beacons and more accurate geo-fencing capabilities. Though, still in its infancy, it is set to become more utilised this year as relevant content is fine-tuned to what the audience actually wants.

OOH has previously been a silo media choice but with the emergence of new technology, it is now part of the connected media landscape. Its impact on other media channels also can’t be ignored. Ocean have commissioned neuroscience research which has demonstrated how Digital OOH positively influences responses to other media and are actively cascading the findings of this research.

From our point of view, the most exciting elements in Digital OOH are these emerging technologies and innovations that are being discovered, created and incorporated into campaigns every day. The opportunities in OOH are infinite – it shouldn’t be a case of what specific technologies/propositions are out there already that we can mould to our campaign, but more ‘what do we want to achieve?’ and then ‘how do we bring it to life in Digital OOH?’ – pushing the boundaries and challenging media owners to make this happen, taking advantage of the plethora of under utilised digital screens and creating innovations in OOH that do not already exist. There really are no limits!

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