19 inches of snow fell in a blizzard last night (Jan 26/27, 2011) that blanketed the city of New York and kept countless commuters home. The surprise totals left many looking at their covered cars and wondering how they would ever dig them out. Since this blizzard struck mostly at night, many people were spared. But another way to reduce the impact of these types of severe weather is expansive digital out of home messaging to the general public.
Clear Channel Outdoor already runs Amber Alert messaging from the government on their networks of outdoor billboards. We have seen how Accuweather provides weather-triggered content to provide relevant advertising to people in those areas. In broadcasting, emergency messaging trumps all content to warn people of coming danger. The narrowcasters in the DOOH industry would do well to add it to their networks, as another loudspeaker for messaging to the mass public. But this requires technology and an opening of the content and distribution in a private network, not exactly easy.
Software is making it easier, especially to take information, such as from a texting service or RSS feed, and reformat it to fit the content theme on a screen. These emergency messages can be placed into the theme and relayed out to viewers. Emergency messages are a double boon to network operators because they attract many more eyes for the duration of the message, which could be complemented by an advertisement on the screen too. It would lead to a safer public and more successful DOOH network.
Tony Hymes is the Editor of the Digital Out Of Home industry website DOOH.com. He produces introductory videos of the companies working across the space from digital signage hardware providers to content companies, DOOH networks, consultants, and software groups. Tony Hymes writes extensively about the strategies behind DOOH advertising, digital signage networks and deployments, and customer engagement trends.