AD24

AD24

Innovative outdoor advertising platform for AD24 startup

More promotion efficiency

Innovative outdoor advertising and information sharing platform

brings more promotion efficiency

New era of offline advertising

Digital advertising panels are not fulfilling their potential today. That is why, together with the AD24 startup, we have developed a much smarter, more interactive solution that takes advantage of the latest technology and brings brand new possibilities to the world of information distribution and digital advertising.

It's time to adapt to the digital world

Typically, we just pass by dashboards with adverts without looking at them. The displayed content rarely draw our attention as it is just like the other thousands of printed adverts that we pass by every day. This form of advertising is far from the potential of today's interconnected world.

Relevance in the first place

Effective utilization of the public space for advertising requires much more relevance in messaging, provided information and communication. However, there is information related to locations that would be useful for people, whether it is local weather forecast, news, or offers of current products or services of local businesses.

The panels can be used, for example, for various advertising and information messages, such as invitation to an exhibition in the neighboring town, sporting events, social gatherings, special offers of restaurants, shops in the vicinity, or recruiting children for a scout club.

The creator of this concept is a Czech startup AD24 specialising in IoT, hardware and its detailed monitoring. The implementation lacked a web-based platform for managing and selling advertising and video playback software on the end devices.

A web-based platform that makes creating advertising easy and intuitive

By combining hardware and a new online web interface, you can remotely manage all of your devices, distribute advertising messages efficiently, and evaluate data. The main advantages of the solution include:

  • Broadcasting created advertising directly to selected panels from the AD24 network.
  • Select specific playback time and repeat count.
  • Detailed information about each ad panel.
  • Location of panels and orientation of a specific device (landscape, portrait).
  • Find information such as passers-by and views per day.
  • A new form of communication between municipalities and citizens - for example reports from the town hall or other authorities.
  • Information of rescue units for citizens - live traffic situation, municipal police communication etc.

Turning ideas into reality

From the architecture design to the smallest details

Starting from the ground up

The design of the new platform required several weeks of analysis, preparation of wireframes, workshops and technology-level research, hardware and software solutions. The outputs of this preparatory work were processed into an initial feasibility study, where the MVP (minimum viable product) was defined for the first phase of the product. The document described the technology architecture of the new platform, identified third party vendors (often open source) and available technologies that would not block the expansion of the project to new locations.

Technological challenges

Together with AD24, we focused on designing solutions addressing the main technological challenges. These included: the processing of streaming various video formats on the RaspBerry PI platform in various conditions, design of credit payment system and the design of a playback queue of user content. An interesting common challenge was also to ensure stable transfers of larger volumes of data between cloud storage and end devices over a mobile network. Self-monitoring solutions and an overall system design with the least possible need for intervention of service technicians, dispatching or campaign planning for individual panels.

Cloud architecture and SW infrastructure design

The goal was to create a scalable service that will utilize the modern technology and bring new opportunities to the world of digital outdoor advertising. The process of creating and entering advertising content was designed to be as intuitive as possible. To publish an advertisement, the user needs to register, upload the content to be displayed, select display time and place, and pay the fee. Then wait for an approval and start the promotion. The implementation of such a system required the design of the entire platform architecture, creation of a central back office, a user portal including pricing model, a credit system and a detailed reporting for users and system operators. Last but not least, it was necessary to set up the procedure of processing, normalizing and controlling user content (video spots) - and its subsequent distribution to the end devices.

For backend platforms we used proven Django + Angular technologies and modern GraphQL. Thanks to the modular architecture and API, it is possible to connect the system with existing third-party systems or create mobile applications in the future.

Hardware of the end devices

In AD24’s concept of this project, outdoor digital panels can be placed not only on the subway or on large billboards, but also at public transport stops, shop windows, waiting rooms or even as municipal notice boards. The challenge for AD24 was to design end devices consisting of the screen itself and playback hardware, so that it was as affordable as possible. To ensure that the cost of installing new sites did not hinder project expansion. From the start it was clear what the player hardware for digital panels would be. The best option would be a single board computer with powerful video acceleration. AD24 emphasized sufficient reliability, connectivity, scalability and, last but not least, availability on the world market in their design.

On the hunt for the best solution

We have tested many different single boards from Raspberry Pi, but also more exotic things like Olimex, Beagleboard or Roseapple Pi. As for the operating system, we experimented with Armbian, Raspbian, FlintOS or Android Lubuntu. The result of testing and cooperation is a remotely controlled hardware that can work even in offline mode. We have also added sensors for anonymous counting of individual ad views for each panel on a specific location.

Distribution of video content and smoothness of video playback

After searching for suitable software for end devices, we decided upon OMXPlayer. It can handle high-res video playback purely on a graphics chip with almost no CPU load. The main processor can thus perform other tasks such as synchronization and queue updates, communication with the cloud, monitoring, etc.

The expected challenge was to solve the problem of very diverse video content from users and to avoid unwanted distorted transitions between individual video spots. Although we had quite extensive experience with the Obbod internet TV project, it remained a challenge to find a way to achieve smooth playback with stable video.

One of the first prototypes of an application for playing content on an end device

Our developers decided to use a combination of several tools to normalize their videos. The open source library ffprobe and AWS Lambda detects the source video parameters and the AWS Elastic Transcoder is used to convert it to a unified output format. Testing has shown that the diversity of user content can create an unpleasant “flickering” between individual video spots. Finally, we managed to solve this issue with the help of colleagues from the neighbouring side development team.

Clever self-monitoring of each panel

"The collaboration began with an analysis of the system, which set the framework for the entire collaboration. Both parties knew which direction the project would take and what to expect. The development team responded flexibly and promptly to any changes. This only ensured us that we will collaborate with COEX even on future projects."

Radek Salomon

CEO at AD24

Launch

The project of developing a web platform for online outdoor advertising was completed and put into pilot operation in 2019. More interesting information can be found on the website AD24 www.ad24.cz

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