At the beginning of 2007 there was a lot of interest and excitement at the prospect of several really good Automated Audience Measurement systems for Digital Signage coming to market and making a big impact on media buying and market research.
Sadly, 9 months on we have seen very little in the industry of either of the solutions showcased at Screen Expo nor have we seen any of the US offerings come to EMEA.
There are about 5 or 6 companies world-wide that claim in some form or other to do automated audience measurement – usually by face or eye recognition with video or web cameras. Hands-on experience says that two of these definitely work (well), I have doubts about two others and I am convinced that one of the offerings is a total non-starter!
The company that excited the most interest at Screen Expo was Trumedia, a well funded Israeli startup and a spin off of a highly successful video / camera measurement business.
In the middle of August 2007, they released a new camera – a product called an iCapture Ultra Cam.
This is a Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) camera designed to operate in ‘harsh’ lighting conditions.
For ‘harsh’ read poor light or very bright light – whether that be sunlight or artificial light.
The original Trumedia roadmap had an iCapture at the low end and a Mega-Pixel camera at the high end (for longer distances).
The iCapture Ultra Cam will, I reckon, be the product that gets the most use from now on – being able to cope with many different types of lighting conditions.
Trumedia’s pilot sites in Denmark and the Netherlands took delivery of the new camera a few weeks ago (a Spanish trial starts October 1st) and so the results of a week’s worth of testing will undoubtedly be in soon.
Come December, Trumedia’s product roadmap says that they will be producing in quantity, DSP based Camera systems – this means that their Camera Strips will not need a Windows based PC to run them as they do now.
This will lower the cost of and simplify deployments. Once the data starts coming back from early deployments and the media buyers and planners can see the benefits of the detailed measurement that can happen, maybe 2008 will be the year that real time Automated Audience Measurement takes off!
DSP is at the heart of products like high-density hard-disk drives, desktop videoconferencing and audio/video compression by rapidly processing large amounts of digital information. This technology, when used in conjunction with mixed-signal devices and embedded software, is referred to as a DSP Solution, and it collects, processes, compresses, transmits and displays analog and digital data.