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Middle East warming up to digital signage options

AV Specialist MENA, May / June 2007 issue.
Written by Kevan Jones

The Middle East market of digital signage is only now starting to develop and embrace interactive elements. “Advertisers have been slow to embrace digital signage and in-store television.” asserts Raad Raad, Managing director of  MxN Middle East, “and it’s not just about the technical complexity of building an effective signage solution. It’s difficult to repurpose content and some of the technologies are still evolving so it’s very much a ‘learn-as you-progress’ situation.” He advises retailers interested in pursuing a digital signage solution to work only with professional AV integrators with a proven track record in the region. “It’s not just a quality issue,” he says “it’s about using technology to achieve a specific business requirement - so your suppliers need to understand both the technology and the creative triggers that influence shoppers.”

Al Jimi Mall invests in video

MxN have recently completed the installation on a state-of- the-art Digital Ambient Network at Al Jimi Mall in Al Ain. This solution allows for a fully managed Digital Signage Network that will include advertisements as well as various local, community and mall messages. MxN was appointed to provide a total solution including hardware, software, installation and ongoing support for the network.

“We take great pride in the rollout of our Digital Signage Network. Its allows us to provide up-to-date, relevant communications and advertising that makes an impact, and combined with our digital audio channel, it positions as a leading retailer in the use of technology for advertising and communication purposes,” said Konrad Kolankiewicz, retail marketing manager for Aldar Properties.

The mall is currently undergoing on a multi-million dirham refurbishment and expansion programme which includes the installation of audio & video digital signage networks. The newly-installed video network comprises 44 screens ranging in size from 42’ to 65’ strategically located throughout the mall. Their purpose is to offer an advertising solution where the content is displayed across the mall and can be changed and modified remotely. The aim is to help the tenants and others advertisers deliver direct messages targeted at customers throughout the mall.

High quality deployment of ads

“Prior to the launch of the Digital Signage Network there was really no solution for the speedy and high quality deployment of ads in the mall. Now an ad can be launched to the entire mall network in a matter of minutes,” says Kolankiewicz. “MxN has demonstrated a great degree of flexibility and professionalism in the work they have done to help us launch this network. They have demonstrated a clear understanding of what our customers, Aldar and advertisers are looking for.”

Preliminary research indicates that the ‘out of home’ media industry in the Middle East is growing at a very fast rate. "Recently there has been a marked increase in the number of retailers and in particular malls launching Digital Signage networks,” says Raad. “In-store media has a significant influence on the bottom line as approximately 70% of all buying decisions are made in-store.”



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