A unique wayfinding solution that lets consumers gather information on public touch screens and then push custom maps and directions to their smartphones has been added to the new Al Barq Digital display network rolling out in the MENA region.Al Barq’s parent company, Abu Dhabi Media Digital Out Of Home (or AD Media DOOH), has done a two-year regional exclusive deal with the Finnish company Whatamap to use its technology in the shopping malls, event centres and other public spaces where AD Media DOOH is establishing an ambitious network of large-format advertising and information screens.
Whatamap’s mapping technology lets consumers use a touch screen directory to search and locate information, create customized maps and directions, view the latest in mall deals and offers, and then push all that information to smartphones so consumers can take it with them as they find their destinations.
Whatamap’s technology works across most mobile operating systems and handset types, removing the barrier of proprietary “apps” that only work on certain handset, such as iPhones.
“We are excited to be at the forefront of development and innovation, and introduce new platforms in Digital Signage and Digital Out of Home media”, said Ricky Ghai, Executive Director, Digital Media at ADMC. “Mobile mapping offers the unique opportunity to link up marketing and accessibility, and is an integral part of the Al Barq line-up of advanced services and solutions”, concluded Ghai.
AD Media DOOH has made Whatamap’s solution part of the overall offer of its Al Barq Digital brand, which features Digital Media Unit (DMU), information stations strategically positioned around the highest foot traffic areas of shopping malls and event centres in the MENA region. The DMUs include dual 65″ high definition LCD digital display screens used for advertising, and back to back 22″ interactive LCD touch screens.
“Al Barq Digital’s aim is to optimize consumer experiences and convenient information and services help make a shopping trip better”, says Andrew Wood, General Manager of AD Media DOOH. “With the use of Whatamap’s mobile toolset, we will be connecting with and helping consumers at just the right moment and place, which influences their purchasing decisions and return visits, and moreover it has a positive impact on the business of our advertisers and mall property partners”, added Wood.
The first solution of its kind in the region, Wood suggests once shoppers start using Whatamap, few will want to be without it. The company will start introducing the service this month in Dubai Festival City mall.
Integrating mobile into its DMU information station platform also helps AD Media DOOH stimulate more DMU interactive directory usage by shoppers, broadens the base of advertisers who’ll want to be on Al Barq’s network, and enables Al Barq’s advertisers and mall partners to continue the marketing dialogue with consumers even after shoppers have left the mall, via their mobiles.
“We see huge value in enabling shopping malls to interact with the consumer using our digital and mobile platform, to deliver an enhanced experience”, said Antti Saarinen, CEO of Whatamap.com Ltd. “We are pleased to have a partner with such a high level of commitment and a willingness to demonstrate how technology in digital outdoor media can be customized to create unique and meaningful relationships between advertisers and consumers to showcase the true power of this platform”, he added.
Launched in July, AD Media DOOH’s Al Barq Digital continues to expand its network of screens and unique interactive Digital Media Units in prominent shopping malls, airports and exhibition centers in the UAE and Middle East, with an estimated 300 screens to be turned on by Q1 of 2011.
The company is a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC), one of the Middle East’s largest and fastest growing media organizations. The company has businesses in free and pay television, radio, publishing, digital media, games, feature films, music, digital signage, outside broadcast/production, and printing. ADMC is based in Abu Dhabi, and has offices in Beirut, Cairo, Dubai and Jeddah.