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Internet of Things set to change billboards in your city

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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.
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 Rs 30,000. After that is about Rs 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 opportunity 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 testing some options, this is one of them. But I would think a third-party 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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