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How Will Google’s Venture into DOOH Impact the Industry?

14 Nov 2017

Think digital and it’s likely that you think of Google. The tech company wields unrivaled power in digital marketing, giving brands and organizations of all sizes the chance to compete for online advertising slots, and the opportunity to track performance with its analytics product.

With their work on Google Kiosk, Chrome Sign Builder and experimenting with DOOH (digital out-of-home) installations in London’s Old Street roundabout, the digital signage industry is eagerly awaiting Google’s foray into offering programmatic DOOH advertising. When we spoke to Frederik de Wachter, co-founder at DOOH apps, earlier in the year, he was excited about the possibilities for businesses to bid on DOOH screens close to their businesses in real-time, combined with other forms of digital advertising.

We spoke to Peter Fahlman, CEO and co-founder of Telemetry, a leading provider of digital signage SAAS which provides a flexible and simple backend for customized digital signage displays, about the potential Google DOOH revolution.

How do you think Google’s entry into DOOH will shake up the industry?

I think cost is one of the big ones — they’re driving the unit cost of these deployments down. The other interesting thing about Google is scale. Added to this, it’s not their first rodeo. They’ve been implementing digital advertising innovations on a global scale for a long time.

Chrome OS, in particular, is a really interesting platform, its security model is quite good when compared against any other OS and it has these useful modes of operation, like kiosk mode.

A Chrome device can appear as a purpose-built device. It appears as a GPS system for a car, or in our case, as a signage device player. Even though it’s a full-on operating system because of the operation mode and kiosk mode, you basically turn the thing on and it’s a sign player. That’s all it is.

Then there’s the fact that the scale of Google and their cloud computing tools are now coming to developers like ourselves. This is going to be a new, exciting, and potentially powerful combination for DOOH customers.

Conversely, what are some of the challenges that this might bring?

Let’s start with data, and specifically ‘data awareness’. We’re engaging with companies who understand the idea that they’re trying to manifest through visualization, and signage, and visual communication and things like that. But their data awareness and their ability to get their arms around their own data, and how they’re trying to massage that into ultimate content, is still fairly new.

People are looking for good tools on how they message at scale, how they message to ever more specific groups, and how they message ever nearer to real time. That’s one of the promises that cloud can start to deliver on, but first this ‘data awareness’ needs to mature.

What do you think the advantage will be of having even more flexible, personalized DOOH ads?

There’s this interesting thing I’m exploring now around intimacy. With ambient displays that are on walls, we have a particular tolerance for personalization and repetition. That tolerance is different to the tolerance we have with our phones.

I may not want to be reminded repeatedly that there is a discount on some local neighborhood restaurant on my phone. On my phone, I want to know that my daughter’s safe at home but on a wall, I’m much more tolerant — and sometimes even appreciative of — an ad with a discount targeted by my eating out habits.

There’s an interesting intersection here that these new tools will allow us to explore more fully. We don’t know where this intersection is on intimacy. We’re not quite sure where to get the data.

The Chrome operating system lends itself to beaconing and things like this that. Again, we don’t know where those intimacy thresholds are going to be crossed, but you can start to see there’s some interesting alchemy at play here.

Do you have any examples of the types of changes we might see?

Look at corporate communication and this idea of what we call the ‘agile office’ now. When you’re talking about office space, you talk about the floor plan, you talk about the square footage of floors and what you can do, and how much square footage an employee needs.

But we also need to talk about wall space and display space. It turns out that the walls can talk. So, the question is what do they say from a corporate communication standpoint? Using Google, cloud tools and TelemetryTV, your walls become part of your communications system.

In your lobby, you have a set of walls which is how your environment greets your clientele. You have a specific thing you want to say to them, which is different than what you may say in a lunchroom to your staff, which is also different than what you may say in various boardrooms. This is a really fun place where we’re seeing some immediate traction using TelemetryTV in that particular segment.

But this could even become an income generator for businesses, if they could opt in to have carefully selected ads shown on specific screens, for example, on the break-room screen. Because people have a different tolerance for seeing repeating ads on a display than their phone, it could work really well for, say, an ad for a restaurant or play that might be in heavy rotation for a couple of weeks.

What is the Telemetry solution?

We like to say, “TelemetryTV is the solution for today’s visual economy” — it lets people leverage the power of high-impact visuals, for content that’s not just seen but something that actually connects. That plays to the idea I was talking about before, where you’re aware of who is looking at it and when, and really trying to connect that content with the viewer.

TelemetryTV is focused on a strong story around total cost of ownership and on real-time information. Then, finally, our platform is around centralized campaign management. That’s what we’re trying to bring together in our toolset so customers can start to realize and start to have an impact in this visual economy.

Recently we did a project for Stanford where they needed a solution for all their meeting rooms. We built a meeting-room application so you could easily see availability, content, the duration, and who was involved in meetings. We tied that up with a modern programming interface, Google Calendar, an educational calendar system, and Office 360 to create a comprehensive solution.

Peter Fahlman is the CEO at TelemetryTV, find him on LinkedIn or follow Telemetry TV on Twitter.

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