Ayuda makes Splash with free playback software for DOOH

January 31, 2011 by Dave Haynes

One of my stops last week in Montreal was at the offices of Ayuda Media Systems, in a historic riverfront building in old Montreal. I didn’t know a whole bunch about the company, except that its background was in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems for the OOH media business.

I also knew the company had more recently expanded its offer into Digital OOH, and that it won the RFP to develop a search and discovery tool for the Digital Place-Based Advertising Association, and that Ayuda had its own free planning and buying tools for agencies. The hook with Symphony is it’s free, but for a full, robust back-end with stuff like billing, the additional modules were fee-based. That’s where Ayuda would make money.

CEO Andreas Soupliotis kindly spent a couple of hours yakking with me last week, and hinted at a big announcement this week in Amsterdam, at the DISCO event that is running just before the ISE trade show. It’s pretty interesting. The company has added a digital signage software player, effectively bridging the gap between scheduling and playback and negating the need for sorting out a handshake between two different systems.

Called Splash, it is ERP software for DOOH ad networks, built on the cloud-based Microsoft Windows Azure platform. The system includes proposal generation, billing, financial reporting, and CRM on the back-end, but also a  content management system for network operators and a free digital software player – called the “splash player.”

The really interesting thing is that the player is open-source, so that it can in theory work with any other digital signage CMS software, Windows OR Linux. The media player is the open-source Mplayer and the scheduling is rules-based, which is the more sophisticated way of building schedules, using data instead of stacked playlists.

I just have a copy of the PPT presented at DISCO, so I am working off bullet points and extrapolating on them. The arguments include how this fosters innovation, lets hardware companies focus on what they are good at instead of building custom systems, helps merging networks unify on a single platform and lets some operators work with a net as they worry about the fragile state of their existing software vendors.

Soupliotis suggested in closing (in the PPT) that there are lots of announcements to come, with multiple CMS systems managing OpenSplash players  and multiple OpenSplash Compatible Displays.

This will raise eyebrows in a few quarters, particularly at companies like BroadSign (whose calling card has for years been a DOOH-centric CMS) and NEC Displays, which launched Vukunet with the notion of tapping into the Digital OOH advertising market to stimulate sector growth and, in turn, panel sales.

Ayuda has a booth at DSE and this announcement will certainly drive some traffic.

More details likely to follow …

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