This Is How Digital OOH Advertising Helps Growing Smart Cities

This Is How Digital OOH Advertising Helps Growing Smart Cities

Interview by Nikola Djuric
Published: March 28, 2024

When we think of smart mobility, we refer to using technology and big data to improve transportation systems by making them:

  • Efficient
  • Sustainable
  • User-friendly

DesignRush spoke with Jacques de Kock, Lead Developer at outdoor communication platform Soofa, to learn everything about digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising in urban environments, including mobility systems, and how it affects our daily lives.


Who Is Jacques de Kock?

Jacques is an experienced software engineer passionate about developing quality software systems that focus on UI/UX. He's skilled in rich front-end client application design & development as well as back-end system architecture. Enthusiast in developing friction-free, user-friendly, and eye-pleasing applications.

DOOH advertising plays an important role in familiarizing citizens with the concept of smart cities.

It uses digital media to serve new products and services to consumers while they are in public spaces, transit areas, and other commercial locations.

"Unlike traditional OOH advertising, such as billboards and bus stop posters, DOOH employs technology to display dynamic ad content updated in real-time," Jacques notes.

DOOH Advertising Enables Targeting Specific Audiences

"Ads can be tailored based on the time of day, current events, or the demographic characteristics of people in the vicinity, enhancing engagement and effectiveness."

In smart cities, this advertising approach can deliver timely and relevant information to the public, including weather updates, emergency alerts, and public service announcements.

DOOH displays are interactive. They offer:

  1. Touch screens
  2. QR codes
  3. Augmented reality (AR) experiences

They provide value-added services to the general public, such as wayfinding assistance, local business information, and entertainment.

Most importantly, they offer advertisers a captive audience.

These ads generate revenue for governments which can be reinvested into city services and infrastructure.

At the same time, they support local businesses by providing a platform to reach new customers, thereby stimulating the city's economic growth.

Digital OOH advertising is a more sustainable solution compared to traditional advertisement, Jacques says.

"Digital displays are more energy-efficient than traditional printed materials and, when used in conjunction with renewable energy sources, contribute to the sustainability goals of smart cities."

"Moreover, the ability to update content digitally eliminates the waste associated with producing traditional advertising materials."

When integrated thoughtfully, DOOH advertising enhances the aesthetics of public spaces and contributes to the cultural vibrancy of a city.

"For instance, digital art displays can be rotated with commercial ads, providing both economic value and public enrichment," Jacques concludes.

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Benefits of Digital OOH Advertising

Benefits of DOOH include displaying dynamic and real-time content.

"For example, Soofa Signs allows advertisers to show ads alongside neighborhood content," our interviewee says.

With DOOH platforms, brands get increased engagement from both foot and car traffic, while brands can target their campaigns to the neighborhood the ads are in.

Lastly, there are major environmental benefits to using DOOH platforms compared to traditional platforms like billboards.

However, there are some challenges too:

  • DOOH platforms are a high investment initially if a brand hasn't used them before
  • They require monitoring & maintenance to make sure a brand’s ad is performing at its best – Brands must make sure their content is relevant to the audience they’re trying to reach
  • There are regulatory and public space considerations a brand should know before running ads

How Can Tech Companies Join the Hype

Tech companies should understand regulatory frameworks and local regional regulations including zoning laws, advertising standards, and public space guidelines.

"They should also engage in communication with city officials as early as possible," Jacques explains.

It's important to have this communication to ensure you’re aligned with their objectives and community needs.

Companies should offer public value whether it be through widgets or pedestrian data insights.

"Make your projects relevant by aligning digital signage projects with broader smart city initiatives, such as sustainability goals, smart mobility, and urban revitalization efforts," Jacques continues.

"It’s important to demonstrate technological and design excellence."

"Provide high-quality, aesthetically pleasing tools that don't use too much sidewalk space. Cater to the diverse needs of urban populations, including those with disabilities or those who speak other languages."

On Soofa Signs, for example, users can access public information like local updates, the city’s Facebook page, air quality, weather, and water quality. It’s also possible to display broadcast alerts and engage with the community through polls, workshops, and events.

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Businesses Should Prepare for Scaling Smart Solutions

Tech companies should create solutions that are scalable and can be easily adapted to meet the needs of growing urban populations.

"They must ensure products and services can integrate seamlessly with existing urban infrastructures, including transportation systems, utility networks, and public services," Jacques concludes.

Companies can already engage with communities to understand their needs for solutions using products that minimize energy consumption, leverage renewable energy sources, and utilize data analytics & IoT technologies to minimize resource waste.

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