Harris Ramps Up Traffic/Scheduling for Digital Signage

LAS VEGAS, NV--Harris Corporation’s DNA was forged in the Broadcast TV world, so it makes sense that they would be at the forefront of delivering the kind of robust traffic/scheduling/billing software that is part and parcel of the broadcast world, into the digital signage space. Harris is not referring to their new Punctuate product, unveiled here at the Digital Signage Expo today, in traffic-management terms, because digital signage is different than broadcast, technically, but this broadcast-style product is a much-needed addition to the digital signage landscape.

Harris Punctuate is a software solution that manages the scheduling and placement of advertising and promotional content — the key enabler of new revenue streams that many digital signage operators seek. Harris is touting Punctuate as “the first business management solution to provide total inventory control across single networks, multiple networks and for each individual sign, allowing operators to create profitable, scalable digital signage networks.”

Punctuate is a suite of Web-based tools that enable automatic targeting of precise messages to specific signs across a multipoint out-of-home network. Punctuate can tag signs with attributes and point a message directly to a group of displays based on similar attributes across the network.

“Digital signage networks give advertisers out-of-home options to reach consumers on the move, using creative tools and delivery methods to capture the attention of their target audience,” said Harris Morris, vice president and general manager, Media and Workflow, Harris Broadcast Communications. “Our Punctuate technology lets operators easily, yet precisely schedule and manage their content, rather than repeating the same content loops across the entire network. This enables them to reach the right audience at the right time and maximize the value of their advertising and promotions.”

Morris told me, in a private demo at the Digital Signage Expo that Punctuate is not just about managing and scheduling content–it’s also about helping to sell “media buys” in public spaces. Because it will enable sellers of in-store network space, for example, to more clearly define the media buy, as is done routinely in the Broadcast TV world.

Bottom line: Punctuate brings together two significant functions: automatic content placement and “accurate business management”, which is Harris’ way of saying robust, rules-based operation that is scalable up to a cross-network level. We’ll see more from this new application software in 2009.

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.