MMX drives sales with Barix
ZIMBABWE: MMX In-Store Media has deployed a Barix SoundScape cloud-based platform to manage and deliver music and advertising content to three retail businesses in Zimbabwe. The move has seen MMX In-Store Media transition from an FTP-based playout system to a fully integrated streaming service.
The initial SoundScape deployment supports nearly 100 locations – including 60 branches of the TM Pick and Pay supermarket chain – with plans to scale to many additional locations as more clients sign on for the service. The transition to SoundScape followed an effort to develop an IP-based delivery system in house. That effort was born out of the need to reduce the costs of delivering in-store media content over satellite, which remains a popular yet expensive distribution platform in Africa.
‘We worked with a developer who was keen on building something from the ground up, but the costs proved too high for all involved,’ said Brendon Sole, director, MMX Companies, the parent of MMX In-Store Media. ‘We wanted a more flexible and less expensive alternative to satellite, and Zimbabwe actually has fairly good connectivity compared to the rest of Africa thanks to investment in fibre-optic links. We initially deployed Barix’ FTP-based system, which worked well, but our goal was a more cloud-based system with a content management portal that was easy to configure and use. SoundScape was the answer to that goal.
‘We see what is really going on with music delivery in the stores, and the scheduling of ads across various locations,’ continued Mr Sole. ‘It’s a very important tool for proving that ads are being delivered and broadcast. There is a clear record of reconciliation, as opposed to asking advertisers to trust that their spots are playing off a local USB stick. It’s much easier to sell ad space using SoundScape because of that proof of delivery.’
Following the initial installation, Mr Sole is clearly happy with the results. ‘The central benefit to SoundScape is efficiency; the ability to program playlists and make changes at the drop of a hat across multiple stores and clusters is enormously helpful,’ he offered. ‘For example, we have an urban cluster and a rural cluster of stores, each with different demographics that require distinct music and ads – not to mention different languages. SoundScape makes it very easy to serve these different groups and clusters with targeted audio content. The reliability of Barix can also not be understated. The Exstreamer SoundScape IP audio players at the stores are built like a tank, with a futureproof design that will keep hardware costs minimal for many years.’
Beyond extending the SoundScape network to additional locations, moving forward Mr Sole expects to better leverage the product’s system monitoring capabilities. For now, he’s relying on system alerts within the central SoundScape portal, which help to support basic troubleshooting needs. He also hopes to utilise the live streaming capabilities in the future, as opposed to the purely schedule-based configuration of the initial deployment.
‘While network connectivity is good, bandwidth remains quite expensive in Zimbabwe,’ concluded Mr Sole. ‘We intend to first utilise live streaming outside of peak hours, and eventually implement a live radio service for special events. We see a lot of opportunity to be creative with SoundScape in the future.’