AI-assisted digital out of home media will be the biggest disruptor, says Signpost chief

Firm eyes listing through merger with Pressman Advertising

Updated - April 09, 2022 11:05 pm IST

Published - April 09, 2022 08:58 pm IST

Digital out-of-home (DOOH) media has the potential to turn the out of home advertising industry on the head if its true potential is harnessed, said Shripad Ashtekar, CEO and co-founder, Signpost India Pvt. Ltd., a DOOH enterprise.  “Each DOOH asset supported by artificial intelligence (AI) can become a virtual point of sale with hyperlocal customised communication, targeting a wide spectrum of clients for brands, and can be scaled instantaneously,” he said.

“These are the waters that need to be tested and we at Signpost truly believe DOOH aided by AI will be the biggest disruption the industry has witnessed,” he said.

Recently Signpost India and listed firm Pressman Advertising Ltd. proposed to merge to create a larger and stronger entity.

“The merger will help pool in the experience, expertise, resources and client base of the two companies; offer a larger bouquet of services in the areas of advertising and promotion with focus on digital media and emerging technologies,” Mr. Ashtekar said.

“The proposed merger shall result in streamlining of operations and cost efficiency, and together with the combined clientele of both the companies, it should result in accelerated business growth,” he added.

Mr. Ashtekar said with Pressman being a listed company, the merger process involved many steps and could take anytime from six to eight months to complete all formalities and approvals like due diligence, and stock exchanges and regulatory approvals, including third party approval.

“However, during this period, we shall commence the integration of the two companies and leverage each others’ skill sets and strengths to grow the business,” he said.

The merged entity would be a listed company, he said adding, “With the merger of Pressman Advertising’s business into Signpost India, the company Signpost India Ltd. would get listed subject to statutory, regulatory and other approvals.”

The erstwhile shareholders of Pressman Advertising would be allotted Signpost India Ltd.’s shares as per the swap ratio to be determined by registered valuers, he said.

Stating that Signpost was conceived after looking at the changing infrastructures of bigger cities, he said the company looked at the great opportunity in unlocking the void that existed in these cities in terms of public convenience facilities, information channels and amenities.

“We have taken up various PPP model projects that not only provide a delightful experience to citizens, but also create revenue for the government, and have been successful in adding these new dimensions to the cities in recent times,” he said.

“The scope is really vast and we have just touched the tip of the iceberg. With our initial success in such projects, we are confident that there shall be many such projects in the future,” he added.

The company has been implementing large scale public oriented projects, including street furniture, transit, public bicycle sharing and internet traffic monitoring system, with more than 32 government authorities across the country. It also serves more than 100 brands.

Its projects include large format digital billboards and traffic measurement system for digital media formats at Mumbai International Airport and a digital analytics project for coverage of traffic in Bengaluru.

Its subsidiary EFlag Analytics Pvt. Ltd. has developed a computer vision-based Artificial Intelligence-Machine Learning (AI-ML) platform to measure each exposure of traffic through image analysis, which has been validated by the IISC Sustainable Transportation Lab of Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. 

It has implemented digital analytics for Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Pallika (BBMP) and Bengaluru Police for the Government of Karnataka, with coverage of the entire city of Bengaluru.

It has a strategic investment in MojoBoxx, a smart device based wireless solution that enables the delivery of in-flight services including multimedia content and engagement services, he said. The company is building on further initiatives like Livebytes (a vehicle that reaches out to rural areas and offers real time interactivity) and Hinterland H2H, a learning and skill development programmes run through secured portable high speed wireless media in the remotest villages in the country, he added.

“The media spends are now rapidly shifting from traditional advertising to new platforms in digital space and therefore the combined entity with its innovative offerings shall be well-placed to grow at a rapid pace,” Mr. Ashtekar said.

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