OOH in 2017 has evolved into a growing universe of connected screens tied together with an ever-changing web of technology. Our role within OOH has evolved from selecting which panels to purchase to understanding which technology, platform or media channel is appropriate for our audience at any given time and place.
Clumsy, analogue and primitive physical interfaces between humans and machines are a thing of the past, taken over by touch, swipe, fingerprint and increasingly natural language. Our relationship with technology is becoming decidedly more human, we expect to interact with our devices in the same way as we would integrate with our friends or loved ones. The runaway success of Amazon Alexa points to a future where the lines between human and technology begin to blur - we expect our technology to behave like a friend. Embedding humanised AI and Chatbots into OOH should be seen as a natural progression to a future where every connected object (including advertising) is addressable by nothing more than voice.
At its simplest, technology when viewed through the prism of advertising should be seen as an enabler to an experience rather than a barrier. As advertisers we should be making the process of engaging with our brands as easy as possible, it should be seamless and require no active learning curve. Meshh is a closed loop Wi-Fi network that allows brands to create hyper-local experiences through Wi-Fi on their connected devices, with no downloads or apps. Meshh is an enabler that makes the technology invisible to the end user unlocking an experience without barriers.
The Internet of the Sublime (And the Ridiculous)
It is very easy to get lost in the stupidity of some connected devices (we look to you smart hair brush) but the true value of the Internet of Things has yet to be fully realised. A future where all of our devices and working in unison with us and for us, communicating amongst themselves to predict the things we need and when we need them is just round the corner. By tapping into this data we can start to understand macro trends and ad-serve against them. For example when biometric data indicates that there is a spike of people who are showing flu-like symptoms we can instantly start ad-serving cold and flu remedies in the desired areas.
We already use a profusion of data to make our campaigns more relevant, reactive, real-time or rewarding and with the growth of the IoT and connected devices we will see the data sources increase and the sophistication deepen.
Beacons. Beacons, Everywhere!
After years of conversation and pontification, 2016 saw the first campaigns roll out using beacons in OOH and while the results have to date been somewhat underwhelming, we have not even begun to see the full potential of beacons in OOH. The issue on everyone’s mind is scale. Lack of scale in the beacon enabled partner apps and the ever-increasing scale of the network of beacons out there in the world.
Whether using beacons to unlock content, push an offer or to crack OOH attribution, beacons will play an increasingly important role in OOH as we see the number of partner apps increase as the number of beacon enabled apps increases along with the number of beacons in the overall network.
While 2016 was the zenith for VR, the real excitement lies in the future of Mixed Reality. With Magic Leap and Microsoft Hololens stealing the column inches throughout the year it is clear that the virtual experiences we create are greatly enhanced when tied back to the physical world.
Truly immersive VR experiences do not live online, they do not live on TV, nor on Radio - they live out of home, where the physical and the digital worlds meet. Shared virtual experiences within the same physical spaces will become a possibility allowing us to transport people as groups - friends, family and loved ones able to experience the same virtual experiences within the same physical spaces.
There has never been a more exciting time to be involved with OOH as the industry transforms and through embracing new technology we will be at the bleeding-edge of the transformation leading the change.