I had about three hours last week to zip up and down the aisles of Ad:Tech New York, and three hours was plenty if you are not in the online ad business. It’s all about ad networks and programmatic advertising and things like predictive marketing, of which I know absolutely zip.
I go because there is some fairly obvious connective tissue between online and digital signage/digital out of home, in terms of software and aspects of advertising. Usually, there’s a few start-ups I bump into that bridge the two worlds, or have something interesting that could be applied.
And that was the case again this time.
A company with the unfortunate name of SkoolLive had a substantial footprint at the front, showing off the large interactive screens it puts in for free in high schools. I’m sure there’s a reason, but messing up the spelling of school, in a school???
It’s a digital OOH network designed for high school environments, but NOT in the classrooms. Just the hallways and/or other areas. It’s the build-it-and-they-will-(hopefully)-come advertising model, but with a significant twist. Instead of a pure advertising model that just has sets of videos and posters aimed at the target audience, this one is interactive and built somewhat around the idea of acquisition.
For example, the US military uses the interactive screens to stimulate and activate interest in signing up for careers in the army and other branches of the forces. Local community colleges uses the screens for quick surveys that can lead to texts, mailings and campus visits. The interactive screens I saw tended to have a quick set of questions and an incentive for entering a mobile phone number. So organizations and brands using the screens get data collection and analytics.
The San Diego-based company is actively installing in schools and has commitments for 3,000 campuses in 33 states.
Other stuff I saw:
Zooppa – A higher-end crowdsourced creative marketplace that could certainly do signage work, but probably not inexpensively.
Tagazu – A SaaS-based video tagging platform that, in the context of interactive signage, can easily add an overlay that enables pop-up windows and click-throughs to web sites and shopping platforms (think real estate listings in storefronts).
UVIAUS – These guys package up the little mobile phone screens, that in past lives have been attached to lapels, and use them for clever marketing. For example, they design/develop custom packaging for a product launch that arrives as something the size of a deck of cards. When you slide out the inner package, a video (with audio) auto-launches on the screen. Get into volumes and the cost is roughly $20 a unit.
The show seemed smaller than previous years, but still worth a look if you happen to be in New York when it is on. It’s not, at all, a signage show, but if part of your role in this industry is paying attention to trends and new tech, it’s a worthwhile 2-3 hours of looking around.