Mach Media Solutions & Service (MMSS) was started in June 2008 with an objective of providing innovative technology-led solutions to the media industry. MMSS has offices in Mumbai & Pune. ‘VeriZY’ is the flagship product suite in Outdoor Media monitoring & reporting. And they have few additional applications in lab lead by strong customer demand. And the key technology is Indian Patent Pending.
OOH or Outdoor has evolved as a specialized media in recent years in India. Outdoor ad-spend has steadily increased with clients, brands for its cost effectiveness in increasing touch-point with consumers who are increasingly spending more time out of home. Several prominent agencies have created separate companies or divisions to cater to client demand.
The process of media planning is followed by an elaborate execution of campaign that is challenged by its geographical spread and numerous regional & local players. Key success factor in Outdoor is seen in an agency’s ability to execute.
Industry is characterized by:
- Several players in value chain,
- Is highly fragmented when it comes to ownership/lease rights of actual media (property owners, vendors as sometimes called),
- Unavailability of uniform standards for rating & information interchange.
- Client requests Agencies to provide their plan for handling the outdoor media budgets.
- Media agency continues to research for right media vehicles, via consolidation of data from Property Owners & its own research wing. And proposes a plan.
- Plan is approved & Agency gets into action to fulfill task.
- Once the campaign breaks, its required to furnish photo proofs of the execution.
- And continue monitoring (with photos) to report the status of the media (for its quality of installation, illumination, obstruction & visibility).
Verification (& proof of campaign execution) is a necessary step in confirming that work is executed & media is maintained for the contract period. A photograph with date on them is the only valid evidence today. Taking photos, renaming the file from DSCXXX.jpg to valid media location information, updating excel sheets, sending bulky emails (and prints) of hundreds & thousands of locations is a time consuming, laborious, manual, process prone to errors and to doctoring information. Compounded with the fact that the campaign durations are collapsing to as small as week or 3 days. Information food chain from property owners/vendors to outdoor agencies, from outdoor agencies to their end clients, in both directions, is a problem for information creator (agency/vendor) so also for the information consumer (client/agency); collecting & collating from field & reviewing tons of emails. Series of discussion within the eco-system followed the initial concept of the solution.
It was decided to focus on,
- Creating a solution that will make it possible to monitor & report in near real-time, providing benefit of immediate information of campaign execution. This was seen vital for control on execution as campaign durations are reducing,
- Create system which is tamper proof, third-party like and with date, time & location identification tagging for each photo-proof,
- Reduce manual errors and improve quality of life for field staff.
VeriZY, has its genesis in "Verification (and monitoring/reporting) made easy".
We approached to solve the problem by combining experience of remote data monitoring technologies that have been used in Industrial world for decades and the latest mobile/wireless technologies, web technology that have changed the way we collaborate. Our initial customers suggested a long-term technology solutions approach than mere solution creator. We decided to take this position of solution led service provider. Today, VeriZY is a software platform, a combination of hosted web application and bespoke application on mobile phones with camera, GPS (optional) & GPRS communication. The bespoke mobile application works from phones as cheap as Rs. 3500 making it easier to adopt for monitoring. Solution is future proof in many ways; is hosted & uses open source technologies, reducing total cost of ownership to wide range of clients; is developed for lowest class phones. As the camera & phone resources will get better by the day, attractiveness only increases further. 4 out of top 10 OOH players in India have already embraced our approach. Our customers are mainly the specialized agencies who use VeriZY as value-add lever with their clients.
Web application provides easy online management of
- Customizable reports,
- Input of media inventory,
- Management of mobile users, access controls etc,
Various sample reports look like this;
(a) Report with Cell Tower Information
(b) Report with IMEI numbers & Area
(c) Reporter with ability to create ad-hoc reports
End Notes & Future
- System is deployed without much training to field staff. The existing methods are adopted reducing any learning time.
- Software assisted workflow, customized for each client, benefits in reduced time for data management, reduced errors, instant reporting.
- Easy integration into existing ERP or billing systems, faster turn-around of invoice-payments.
Technology involved in VeriZY is patent pending. And is extendible.
Wireless communication speeds are continuously increasing. 3G rollout in India will only make it easier to deploy VeriZY. Communication costs too are dramatically low compared to anywhere in the world. Especially the telecom service providers are promoting low tariff for data hungry applications in pursuit of higher ARPU.
Image quality from the camera phones is increasing. And we only see it positive development for our approach.
It augurs well for affordability & quality from VeriZY and usage will only increase.