NEC Launches VUKUNET, Ambitious DOOH Agenda

NEC Display Solutions used The Digital Signage Show in New York to announce the launch a very ambitious new service that includes a digital out-of-home (DOOH) ad distribution platform. And while the announcement may surprise many in the industry, it’s but the latest of recent moves by major players in the larger IT and/or broadcasting world to leverage their marketing and specifically cross-market footprint to try to grow the digital signage market.

Instead of trying to get a larger piece of today’s digital signage market by getting more involved in the design and integration of networks, VUKUNET is NEC’s Novus International is relying on X2O Media’s Xpresenter platform to create and display content on a digital video wall located near the main entrance of the company’s new St. Charles, MO, global headquarters. If successful, it could be part of a rising tide that lifts all boats — hardware and software — in this industry.

NEC says that an important component of their VUKUNET program will be to get systems integrators more involved in capturing some of the “ad revenue” in network deployments that involve paid advertising. So that ultimately NEC envisions a more integrated market where:

Ad agencies are more easily able to make “network buys” across multiple platforms of DOOH

Integrators who participate in the program are able to get commissions based on the ad revenue generated in the networks (as opposed to how most integrators now operate, which is to get compensated only on the spec’ing and installation of a digital signage system.)

This plan is quite ambitious, and the timing of rolling out the various elements — aggregating the different DOOH networks; ad agencies participation; and integrator participation — will be tricky.

“Digital place-based media has proven itself to be a very powerful and effective advertising medium, yet it is still under-utilized because it has always been impossible for agencies and advertisers to connect all networks and purchase effectively,” says Pierre Richer, President and COO at NEC Display Solutions. “We created VUKUNET to address all the issues in this space, allowing network owners to realize the full value of their investments in equipment, service and real estate.”

VUKUNET helps digital signage network owners generate incremental income by making it easier to connect all screens that currently have time/space available on their networks to advertise. Ideal candidates are networks that have locations with heavy foot traffic, substantial dwell time (time spent in front of the screen), strategic monitor placement, numerous locations in key demographic areas, and that can run a variety of ads from different advertisers instead of being focused on a single brand. Retails stores, hotels, airports, rail and bus terminals, universities, hospitals, convention centers, stadiums, museums, and restaurants are a few examples of these locations.

VUKUNET is the only platform that connects all digital signage networks, with the ability to provide the largest single reach in the industry. Advertisers and ad agencies that formerly had to contact hundreds of potential network owners to determine rates and availability can now use the companion ADVUKU ad-serving platform to search for the best networks in any location. In addition, the proof-of-performance automated technology enables networks to receive a consolidated payment on a monthly basis for all the advertising that ran.

The VUKUNET platform is completely agnostic, meaning ads can be distributed to screens from any manufacturer, not just NEC, and networks that are using any CMS (content management system). There is no charge to become a member of VUKUNET. It consists of VUKUNET Ad Manager, which enables networks to run ads on their screens and an optional VUKUNET CMS, which is a fully-equipped SaaS (Software as a Service) Content Management System available for free to VUKUNET Ad Manager participants as well as NEC Display hardware customers.

David Keene is a publishing executive and editorial leader with extensive business development and content marketing experience for top industry players on all sides of the media divide: publishers, brands, and service providers. Keene is the former content director of Digital Signage Magazine.