Broadsign and Clear Channel: digital partners in out-of-home
Broadsign is a global company providing software for outdoor advertising, or “out-of-home,” networks. “We work with almost all of the world's largest out-of-home networks and not just on the digital side, but also paper-based out-of-home networks,” says Maarten Dollevoet, Chief Revenue Officer at Broadsign. “Clients use the Broadsign platform for anything from ad serving to network operations, and also to manage and optimise their sales workflows - as well as connecting to new channels like programmatic buying.” Broadsign is one of the only platforms with such a wide spectrum of offerings, but it also allows companies to do more with less. “One of the key benefits of working with Broadsign is that we focus a lot on automation and optimisation, allowing customers to devote more time to their high-value activities rather than more routine and repetitive tasks.”
The out-of-home industry has experienced considerable growth on the digital side, with market leader Broadsign being ideally placed to influence trends. One is digitisation, the evolution from posters and printed billboards to digital signs. “With the move to digital, advertisers are able to leverage its inherent flexibility to react in real time to content changes, audience movement, as well as the ability to use data for improved audience targeting and to dynamically change screen content,” says Dollevoet. “Content is King, but context is everything. While we aren’t close to the Tom Cruise-style, Minority Report-type of targeting, we can deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time.” One example was a recent campaign for takeout food, where the content automatically displayed a ‘pick-up’ message when the sun was shining, versus promoting the ‘home delivery’ option when it was raining.
Another important trend is the rise of programmatic transactions, where advertising is bought and sold in real time via automated bidding systems, much like it is today for online and mobile ads. “We see programmatic not only as a way to automate the buying process, but also an opportunity to connect with non-traditional out-of-home advertisers who may benefit from more omnichannel media campaigns.”
When Clear Channel International was looking for a best-in-class content management system to support its digital transformation, it chose Broadsign and its offering. “The relationship has really flourished and has become a strong partnership. After the CMS, the team at Clear Channel wanted to leverage more of the platform to help them scale other parts of their business. It added Broadsign Direct, a tool to help them scale their sales organisation so salespeople were able to respond to customer requests and RFPs quicker, and sell more of their network at a premium. So what started out as an initial relationship on the CMS side has become a true partnership for the rest of the business.”
While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had an undoubted impact on out-of-home advertising, changes in the online advertising space have revealed fresh opportunities. “With the impact of what's happening in the online world with privacy concerns and the disappearance of the cookie, we actually believe the momentum for out-of-home is stronger than ever.” Such trends lead Dollevoet to believe the future is bright for the industry. “COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of programmatic too. If we look at our systems, we see a V-shaped recovery of programmatic because advertisers who have smaller budgets are looking for more flexibility, and the ability to turn budgets on and off more granularly or in a more targeted manner.”
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”