It’s only last September at #DOOHBizKonf in Munich that Andreas Soupliotis, president, CEO and founder of Ayuda Media Systems first hinted at what his company might be doing in the Open Source space and at ISE 2011 on Monday in Amsterdam, Ayuda’s Soupliotis announced that his company will donate its Splash digital signage player to the industry as an open source initiative.
“Offering a free, open source media player will enable a new wave of innovation in the signage industry,” says Soupliotis, “There are a multitude of software vendors in the space that basically all do the same thing – push content from a content management system (CMS) to a network of players. Some do it a little better than others but the differentiation of identity is just not there. If there was a standard open software player that the industry rallied behind, then everyone could focus on innovating next generation signage opportunities.
“Each year at DSE, ISE and Screenmedia Expo, you’ve got the same vendors showing marginal improvements on their software. Innovation is stagnant. OpenSplash might hopefully change that. By embracing a copyleft-oriented mindset, we expect to see exciting innovations and extensions to the player developed by an open-source community.”
Some of the benefits of OpenSplash as detailed by Soupliotis are:
- “Larger digital networks often opt to build bespoke CMS and players. These kinds of networks could cut their development costs by extending an already-existing open source player. You don’t want to reinvent the wheel. Besides, the secret sauce for these networks lies in their complex CMS, not in the player.
- “Screen vendors also stand to benefit from OpenSplash. They can focus on what they know how to do best – hardware while potentially bundling a free open source player.”
- Soupliotis also believes that DOOH aggregators benefit from OpenSplash: “Aggregators should also like to see an open source player, as it means they would not have to perform silos of one-by-one integration efforts with each software vendor in order to fulfill campaign execution. More importantly, they will be able to deliver a single proof-of-play report to the advertiser across several networks for a single buy.”
Aside from operating as a simple SMIL-based player by consuming SMIL playlists and content, OpenSplash can also double as a more intelligent rules-based player that can manage dynamic loops and create playlists on the fly. Supporting video walls, frame synchronization across multiple players, zones, and dynamic content, it is designed to be driven by any SaaS-based CMS because the player consumes a set of standard Web services for pulling schedules and content.
The source code that makes up OpenSplash is written mostly in the modern C# programming language, and is built on open and platform-invariant standards such as Mono, FFMpeg, and MPlayer. As with most signage players, it has full support for H.264 1080p video, flash, HTML5 and many other formats. And it runs on Linux, Windows and Android operating systems.
OpenSplash is a project that was inspired and championed by Adrian Cotterill, editor-in-chief of DailyDOOH. Cotterill says, “There’s no doubt in my mind that this initiative will kickstart even more innovation in our industry. Screen manufacturers will be able to build robust players that support every inch and every feature of their displays, online aggregators will be able to collect data direct from players and network management tools will be able to better collect proof of play information, to name but a few uses.”
Further, Cotterill says, “This initiative will also attract new developers and even bring academia into the fold, fostering even more innovation. This is truly an exciting announcement.”
OpenSplash will be made available to the general public in Q2 of 2011. Current efforts include implementing an open source community portal for support forums, shared source code control, knowledge base articles, versioning of enhancements, and code documentation.
With this announcement, it appears that Ayuda is emerging as one of the leaders in the industry. Last November, at the DPAA Media Summit it was announced that Ayuda had developed an Online Planning Tool for its members and, following on that, Ayuda announced a free platform called Symphony that essentially allows agencies to plan and buy both digital and traditional OOH easily across all networks. Free to network operators and agencies this is a platform that allows OOH buyers to put together and procure an OOH campaign in minutes.