The team here at Contact Light (makers of the Embark transit app) have just completed a successful launch campaign in Brisbane, testing our patented tech across a network of XTD’s digital out-of-home (OOH) screens that span 4 metro stations.

To recap our technology: we’ve developed a way to enable a user of Embark to engage with content on enabled out-of-home screens based on the user’s proximity to that screen. For example: whilst waiting for a bus at the end of the day, a user of Embark may see an ad for the Netflix series ‘The Crown’ on the digital screen attached to the bus shelter, and engage with that advertisement via Embark, simply by being in close proximity to the screen - allowing the user to learn more about the series, save that ad as a reminder for later, or even start watching the first episode on their journey home.

No scanning, no tapping, no short URLs - just open Embark when you’re looking at the screen or object in question, and like magic, related information or complementary content is displayed on your mobile device.

For this pilot we tackled the trickiest part of our technology vision: to be able to engage with a video advert while it’s playing on a digital screen. This is partly achieved by modifying the screen’s media player software and asking it to report what it’s currently playing to our servers. The other part of the equation is determining the proximity of a device with Embark installed to the screen. For this we install Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons near every screen, and Embark scans for beacons when it is open. If it happens to see one, it asks what screen it relates to, and then asks what is currently playing on that screen. If content is playing from an advertiser that we’ve partnered with, then we display complimentary imagery and content within Embark’s News Feed. Finally, if the next ad to run on the screen is also from an advertiser we’ve partnered with, the content within Embark would change accordingly, as it changes on the OOH screen.

Another example of how the technology might work: you could vote on a live poll and see results be displayed on the out-of-home screen as people voted using Embark around the country, or buy the item you’re seeing an advert for online. Getting even more clever, you could save an item to your Collection screen within Embark, and get a push notification when you’re walking past a store that has it on sale.

Results

Partnering with a local professional services advertiser, their 15 second advert ran across screens at Fortitude Valley, South Brisbane, South Bank and Toowong. In the bottom left corner of their advert, not dissimilar to the Shazam logos you may have seen on TV ads - is an Embark logo with instruction to open it to engage with that advert.

In just two weeks, we logged hundreds of interactions between Embark and the advert. Impressively, more than 60% of the people who saw the related content in Embark while near or looking at the video advertisement on the XTD screen went on to do something else with the engagement in the app.

For example, one of the calls-to-action on the app was an old-fashioned click-to-call, or in this case on mobile, a tap-to-call. What we found fascinating was people interested in talking to the advertiser were saving the ad into their Collection in Embark and then going back and making the call when they were somewhere less noisy and private, such as home or at work.

This behaviour points to the continuation of OOH media to cut-through in times of high dwell and be supported by innovation such as Embark, where the message converts into action at the most appropriate time for the consumer.