The Coronavirus Pandemic

The Coronavirus Pandemic - Skyrams Advertising Pvt Ltd

The Covid pandemic has opened up new challenges for all of us, which we usually prefer to call the "New Normal". The OOH industry is also not an exception to this challenge, especially in India. Even before the pandemic, this medium of advertising has a history of negligible audience research data in India. The basic tenet which is expected from any form of advertising – "The Audience/ Target Group", having the OTS, was questionable and disorganised, just like the OOH industry itself.

Now the industry has come to face the harsh reality of answering these difficult questions: Lockdown, Work From Home, Partial Unlock – So who exactly is the Target Audience who has got the Opportunity to See?

In this worst Economic Downturn following the Great Lockdown, there is only one question in every investor's mind: " What is the ROI? How to measure the increment in sales revenue if I am spending a huge chunk of my advertising budget in OOH medium? "

But, if we look at this as an opportunity, then "New Normal" can act as a catalyst that the OOH industry has been waiting for.

The OOH industry is on the cusp of undergoing multiple shifts - Eco-friendly material specifications, standardisation of OOH: from billboards to Smart city projects / Cityscapes / Street furniture / Utility driven media at destinations, etc.

The industry has got a unique opportunity to upgrade, standardise and innovate, upgrade to assets that are both utility-based and technologically advanced. It needs continuous innovation to make the content and the media relevant to the audience rather than just a static form of advertising which showcases a product/service.

Our solution to all the unanswered questions lies in the Smart City. We are living in an era of "everything Smart". In cities with old structures, people waste a lot of time by doing repetitive activities like waiting in the queues, travelling long distances to buy goods, getting stuck in traffic jams, etc. Not to forget the other problems like pollution, non-standard urban infrastructures, telecommunication infrastructures, and many more. To rise to all these challenges, countries around the globe are investing heavily in providing smart solutions and an easy lifestyle to their cities and citizens. One such endeavour by the Government of India is, the Smart City Mission launched in 2015, which aims to develop 100 cities across the country that can provide the citizens utmost comfort with the smart economy, smart transportation, smart environment, smart lifestyle, and smart administration.

Smart city landscapes provide ample opportunities for Digital OOH Media which can display Virtual Reality/ Augmented Reality content based on analytics using Artificial Intelligence.

The role of DOOH in these smart city projects is very far-reaching. The OOH industry must prepare to gain insights from the vast amount of data that is being available to them, mainly to predict new consumer behaviour and avoid potential negative outcomes.

These smart city DOOH is ready to offer multiple smart concepts to the public. Let us take a look at some of the most basic and immediate deliverables in the New Normal :

  1. Live updates zone/ward wise, instant dissemination to the public.
  2. Smart & Safe Environment: Continuous update to the public on the D0's & Don'ts at various touchpoints, as each unlock phase is announced
  3. Continuous updates on essential service openings: Train / Bus services etc to the public
  4. Smart Mobility: Live updates on traffic, congestion, etc to ease traffic movement and recommend alternate routes
  5. Smart bus stops: To ease the crowd at these locations, with a time-integrated service network, displaying the detailed bus schedule.
  6. Smart people: Interactive kiosks to Provide directory information at malls and amusement parks, updated with the latest news
  7. Digital Signage wayfinding solutions to be deployed in hospitals and shopping malls to ease navigation

And the list continues to ease the various chores in the life of the general public.

But more importantly, Smart city projects bring in a wealth of data, real-time data. The industry currently has a wealth of information from multiple touchpoints, starting from the time a person steps out of his home to the time he steps back in and beyond.

Various private companies have successfully analysed, mined, and within the gambit of law utilising the same for profits.

Therefore, why can't the Government authorities utilise the same to generate revenue for public welfare.

If and only if the OOH industry works towards identifying this opportunity immediately and comes together to standardise and structure this growth in a systematic manner along with the government, local bodies, and the advertisers, we have a wonderful MAKE IN INDIA opportunity in hand.

And this is just the beginning. The future of DOOH is more than just connectivity. The world around them will be sensed by the DOOH screens, thereby becoming more aware of their audience and context. They can be managed remotely and will require multiple technologies to analyse the data gathered, like artificial intelligence, data mining technologies, data analytics, deep learning, etc. With the help of this, the OOH industry will be able to reach out to the target audience like no other medium.

We would have transgressed to "The New Normal"

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