#dse2014 Ayuda Unveils Nirvana Ad Server

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

It seems that every time we meet up with Ayuda Media Systems at #dse2014, it’s innovating with a product that shows us what the digital out-of-home will look like in the future, and this year is no exception.

nirvana-logoThis year, Ayuda, makers of some of the world’s most sophisticated software platform for DOOH networks, is unveiling a concept demonstration of Nirvana, which explores the possibility of transforming a conventional digital signage software player for large digital billboards into an ad server that mimics the behavior of online internet ad servers.

If you are involved with large digital billboards, you must not miss seeing a demonstration of Nirvana at #dse2014 where it will be shown at Ayuda’s booth #521 on Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 12 and 13.

Using Big Data sources, Nirvana continuously re-targets desired demographics during the campaign and shifts the creative accordingly, effectively delivering an automated way for Digital Billboard operators to sell audience and budget as opposed to locations.

Nirvana uses Ayuda’s Cerebro out-of-home media plan optimization engine that automatically chooses optimal locations for campaigns based on the desired campaign objectives. Cerebro already uses audience data such as TAB OOH ratings as campaign goals, but can also use an infinite number of additional parameters and input sources to create the best plan.

Nirvana essentially continuously re-runs Cerebro during campaign execution using Big Data sources such as Twitter, FourSquare check-in APIs, cellular carrier data insights and others, while keeping an eye on what’s trending in social networks. Nirvana then continually rotates the campaign creative to maximize demographic fulfillment.

“We were inspired by the way that Internet buying is done,”
says Andreas Soupliotis, Ayuda’s founder and CEO. “Today, digital billboards are still dealing with building playlists and selling spots on loops. But the big digital billboard companies won’t want to become part of an ad server, because they want to control their own boards. However, there is a market for a single network ad server, and that’s what Nirvana offers. It shifts a creative campaign around to follow the demographics of those it wants to reach.”

Soupliotis says that programmatic buying is all the rage today, but while a lot of interesting work is being done for digital place-based advertising, no platform has yet addressed the unique aspects of digital billboard companies, where loops, spots, and playlists are beginning to show their age. Therefore, the initial focus of Nirvana is on these outdoor digital companies, who are already using the Ayuda Platform to manage their digital signage. Nirvana brings the online ad server method of ad targeting and distribution to the digital billboard operator, eliminating the need for the conventional playlist.

Pierre Yves Troël, Ayuda’s chief software architect and head of the Ayuda Labs group of technophile developers, says, “We are exploring algorithms that cross-reference the Big Data sources and what’s trending demographically to gather anonymous ‘outdoor cookies’ on vehicular and pedestrian observers passing by digital billboards to enable behavioral and contextual targeting. This is how banner advertising on Web sites work – your Internet browser gathers cookies about sites you’ve visited, and then Web sites tap into those cookies to serve you targeted ads. With Nirvana, we’re trying to make digital billboards work that way.”

Soupiotis says, “Imagine if you can follow a soccer Mom though her day of checking into Four Square, driving on the highway at a certain time of day, basically collecting ‘cookies’ on her behavior, and collating that continually all day long with information from big data. Then the trick is to change your campaign around so you reach her wherever she is – in other words, to saturate the demographics that you want.”

Soupliotis says further, “Multiple ad serving platforms exist for online media, both multi-publisher (multi-website) and specialized single publisher ad servers. Nirvana is analogous to the latter, which makes sense for the very large outdoor digital operators who, I do not believe. will agree to be part of a cross-company ad serving platform for some time. This is one of the reasons why today’s DOOH cross-company ad serving platforms focus on the digital placed-based space. For the moment, a single-company ad server like Nirvana affords the large outdoor digital operator the control they want.”

The Nirvana ad server currently works with Ayuda’s own Splash players, although Ayuda is exploring how some of these extensions can be offered to the public open source community. And we understand that one unnamed billboard company has already agreed to soon run a pilot program for Nirvana.

Soupliotis says, “If we one day extend Nirvana to the OpenSplash community, what we’ll see is essentially a free, open source digital signage player that has ad serving capabilities. This would finally liberate digital signage operators from selling spots in loops and day parts, enabling them instead to sell an audience that can be continually re-targeted throughout the campaign, just like in online media.

“Do I think that large digital billboard companies will start trading in playlist-based players for ad serving players tomorrow? No. And I don’t think it will happen next year either. But in three to five years? Maybe. When that happens, Ayuda will be there.”

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