SYDNEY: Two leading Australian out-of-home networks have this week introduced digital street furniture offering a variety of technologies far removed from the standard billboard, ranging from voice recognition to beacons.

The latter is included in the 270 screens Adshel is launching, along with dynamic messaging, real-time capabilities and contextual relevance. The former is built into Ooh!Media's Excite network, which currently consists of just 50 panels in retail centres but with plans for 300 more.

The Excite network also boasts wifi, high-definition web cameras and gesture control.

Brendan Cook, Ooh!Media chief executive, told Ad News that the company now regarded itself as a location-based company rather than an OOH one, explaining that "OOH is in a prime spot in the connected world that we live in".

"We are mobile as a society," he said. "The fact that we can combine the power of everyone's connectivity in their pocket with the physical becomes the great strength of OOH."

His rival is thinking along similar lines: OOH is "essentially location-based communication", according to David Roddick, Adshel's chief revenue officer.

"It's very much in the moment," he said. "The more you can reflect that moment, the more effective your communication is going to be."

Earlier this year an ARF paper argued that premium digital out-of-home media also has a valuable priming capability that makes people more receptive to other ad formats, particularly mobile

In addition, research undertaken by Neuro-Insight for Ocean Outdoor found that full-motion digital OOH could deliver an experience comparable to television.

But that message isn't necessarily being taken on board by all in the advertising industry, according to Roddick, who suggested that "sometimes the information about what we are capable of doing as a medium isn't getting through to the agencies and the strategists and the clients themselves".

"There is definitely an education job to be done in each of those elements in the value chain," he said.

"And it's absolutely imperative for us because we didn't put this in the ground to just be a fancy scroller."

Data sourced from Ad News; additional content by Warc staff