DUBLIN — Jan. 23, 2013 — In Dublin today, dustmen still pick up street litter while banjo players entertain as in ages past. It is not uncommon to see a horse-drawn carriage alongside a double-decker bus.
At the same time, a number of global high-tech companies maintain their European headquarters in Ireland’s capital, making Dublin a city that embraces modernization alongside tradition.
So when Bravo Outdoor Advertising, which manages the advertising for Ireland’s national transport system, Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ), started adding digital panels inside buses in 2011, it was no surprise that Dubliners welcomed this innovation.
“Digital advertising is a game-changer in outdoor advertising,” says Adrian O’Farrell, former marketing director for Bravo Outdoor Advertising. “For a city that has a long history of accepting innovation alongside tradition, it fits right in.”
With the help of Pica Vision, a local provider of digital media products, Bravo adopted a Microsoft-powered intelligent system that delivers dynamic content on digital panels. Commuters are engaged during their daily ride and have responded positively to the digital screens, particularly about the quality and variety of the content.
“Digital panels add greatly to the outdoor offering,” says O’Farrell. “It provides us the ability to take CIÉ into the next wave of growth.”
A Global Positioning System delivers customized content for each route, time of day and vehicle. Bravo schedules the advertising and monitors playback time and locations. This means that commuters could watch an ad for the Brazen Head, Dublin’s oldest pub, just as they pass the grey brick entrance. Bravo is also able to provide its end customers with written reports.
In addition to advertisement, passengers can watch news and entertainment programming from broadcast networks. By the end of 2013, Bravo and Pica Vision are aiming to operate 1,800 digital displays throughout the country and deliver content to 170 million bus passengers each year. Bravo believes that the CIÉ TV channel delivered by Pica Vision on a Microsoft platform can become one of the biggest television channels in the country.
Bravo has already realized a number of benefits, including an increase in revenue and a decrease in costs. With digital panels, Bravo no longer needs to invest as much time and money installing and maintaining signs and billboards. It can now focus on selling advertising.
After making a sale, the company can schedule ads and manage inventory through its online system, which further streamlines its operations. “With digital, we can sell for one day, we can sell for a half a day and we can sell for two hours if that’s what’s required. The flexibility is enormous,” says O’Farrell.
Pica Vision chose to power the digital displays with the Windows Embedded Standard operating system, Windows Server, Microsoft SQL Server data management software and Web services based on the Microsoft .NET Framework. For content delivery, Pica Vision decided on Windows Azure SQL Database, which extends SQL Server capabilities to the cloud.
“Our clients range from large, international firms, such as Coca-Cola, to the small business sector, like the local florist,” says O’Farrell. “With the technology of digital panels, we’re able to provide a solution that fits the needs of all types of businesses.”